Ohio is proud to be a part of the newest PLTW initiative -- introducing the fundamentals of STEM to K-5 classes. The earlier STEM fundamentals are introduced to children, the more likely the interest in STEM will continue through Middle school to High school and beyond.
PLTW Launch was developed to work with current standards. It aligns to Common Core State Standards for Math and English, Language Arts, Next Generation Science Standards, and other national and state standards.
Currently PLTW launch includes 12 modules aligned to grade-level standards. The modules are 10 hours and are presented in pairs that combine to create a thematic unit. There is flexibility for the teachers and schools to introduce the modules they want, when they want, and at the grade level they want.
The descriptions of the PLTW Launch modules include modules that are available in the 2014 release. Soon twelve additional PLTW Launch modules will be developed.
Modules Aligned to Kindergarten Grade Standards
Structure and Function: Exploring Design
Students will discover the design process and how engineers influence their lives. Identifying products around them that were designed by an engineer, asking questions that engineers might ask as they designed the product, and determining the structure and function of items represent student exploration of structure and function. Working in small groups, students will design, build, and test a structure from available materials to withstand a force. Students apply newly acquired knowledge and skills as they utilize the design process to design, sketch, build, test, and reflect on a new tool design.
Structure and Function: Pushes and Pulls
As students investigate different pushes and pulls on the motion of an object, they will develop knowledge and skills related to forces of differing strengths and directions. The exploration will include pushes and pulls found in their everyday world. The students will be challenged to refine a design and successfully solve a problem. Students will reflect on the effect of modifying the strength or direction of a force.
Modules Aligned to First Grade Standards
Light and Sound
Students will investigate light and sound, including vibration from sound waves and the effect of different materials on the path of a beam of light. After students develop understandings of light and sound, they will be challenged to design a model to solve a design problem. The students will use the design process to sketch, build, test, and reflect on a device that uses light or sound to communicate over a distance.
Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars
After observing the sun, moon, and stars, students will identify and describe patterns in their recorded data. Students will build upon their knowledge of light to design, build, test, and reflect on a device designed to solve a problem related to the patterns of the sun. After evaluating their design, students will share their findings and ideas for ways to improve the device based on the testing data.
Modules Aligned to Second Grade Standards
Materials Science: Properties of Matter
In this exploration of materials science, students will investigate and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties, including color, texture, and heat conduction. After analyzing data from materials testing, the students will apply their knowledge and skills to determine the best material to solve a design problem. Students will analyze how well the model solved the problem and determine improvements that could be made to their design.
Materials Science: Form and Function
Students will research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants. Students will expand their understanding of properties of matter as they consider the form and function involved in seed dispersal and pollination. Students gain understanding of form and function and how each concept informs design. The design problem requires students to apply their knowledge and skills to design, build, and test a device that mimics one of the ways animals either disperse seeds or pollinate plants. Students will reflect on the efficiency of their design and how it was informed by nature.
Modules Aligned to Third Grade Standards
Stability and Motion: Science of Flight
Students are engaged in developing an understanding of the forces involved in flight as well as Newton’s Laws of Motion. Discovering computer-aided design, students use basic descriptive geometry as a component of design. Students apply their knowledge and skills to design, build, and test an experimental model glider to explore forces that affect flight. In addition they will modify their glider design as they solve a real-world problem.
Stability and Motion: Forces and Interaction
Students will explore simple machines such as wheel and axles, levers, the inclined plane and more as they investigate the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Additionally, magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other will be explored through a hands-on project. Finally, students apply their knowledge of mechanisms and magnetic interactions as part of a solution to a design problem.
Modules Aligned to Fourth Grade Standards
Student exploration of mechanisms will include investigations of how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force. Students discover a variety of ways that potential energy can be stored and released as kinetic energy. Citing evidence, students explain the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. They also predict the transfer of energy as a result of a collision between two objects. As students solve the problem for this module, they will apply their knowledge and skills related to energy transfer in collisions to develop a vehicle restraint system.
As students learn about forms of energy, they identify the conversion of energy between forms and the energy transfer required to move energy from place to place. Students will identify and explain how energy can be converted to meet a human need or want. After exploring energy conversion and transfer, students apply scientific ideas about the conversion of energy to solve a simple design problem. The problem requires students to design a system that is able to store energy and then convert the energy to a usable form as it is released.
Modules Aligned to Fifth Grade Standards
Robotics and Automation
Student exploration of robotics will include ways that robots are used in today's world and the impact of their use on society and the environment. Students will learn about a variety of robotic components as they build and test mobile robots that may be controlled remotely. The design problem provides an opportunity for students to apply their robotic skills and knowledge to solve a real-world problem related to environmental disaster cleanup.
Robotics and Automation: Challenge
Students will expand their understanding of robotics as they explore mechanical design and computer programming. The focus for this module centers on developing skills needed to build and program autonomous robots. Students develop programming skills in a variety of platforms, including tablet applications and browser-based programming environments. Finally, students apply the robotic knowledge and skills they have developed to build and program an autonomous robot to solve a real-world design problem.