Latest PLTW Update

Hour of Code:  During Computer Science Education Week, students in 5K through 4th grade participate in Hour of Code. This annual global campaign is an effort to make sure that all students are equipped with valuable 21st century critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students in these grades continue coding throughout the school year using our newly added  PLTW Launch computer science modules.

The 5K students design and create paintbrushes that have to be able to paint in more than one way.  Once the paintbrushes are put together, they test them out with paint on paper.

 5K students listen to the story The Three Little Pigs and then have to build a house out of straw (toothpicks), sticks (popsicle sticks), or bricks (foam bricks).  Then the wolf ( a small shop blower) tries to blow the houses down.  We discuss why some houses may have stayed together better than others, specifically how the structure and design of each house affected the outcome. Here are some photos of the finished house before the wolf tried to blow it down, and the house after the wolf tried to blow it down.  

Before After
 Before  After

During PLTW time, the 5K students listen to the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and discuss the structure and function of Jack's beanstalk in the story.  All kindergarteners then receive ten pipe cleaners to build the tallest beanstalk they can that is able to stand on its own. Finally, students work to redesign their beanstalks so that it is able to perform the function of holding a golden egg. 



The first graders study animal adaptations.  They are challenged to design a shoe with 3 adaptations to help a traveler survive in a certain environment.  Students study their assigned environment and learn about how animals survive there.  They use what they learn about the animals in the environment to help them decide which adaptations would be best for their shoe.

The second graders experiment to learn about materials that make good conductors and insulators.  Then they use some of those items to design and create a product that would keep an ice pop frozen.  Once they create these "coolers" they test them by putting them under a heat lamp for 30 minutes with an ice pop inside.  Once the 30 minutes are up, they take their ice pops out and pour any liquid into a graduated cylinder to see how much of their ice pop melt.

Third Grade:  To kick off the third grade PLTW unit, Stability and Motion: Science of Flight, one of our third grade parents, Mr. Becker came in to speak with  the third graders about his job as an airline pilot and did an absolutely incredible job of teaching them about the four forces of lift, weight, thrust and drag that are all at work during flight.  Thank you, Mr. Becker!  We all learned a lot.

The third graders design and build gliders that need to be able to carry as much cargo as possible to a remote area affected by a natural disaster.  Binder clips clipped to their gliders represent the cargo.

The fourth graders learn about inputs and outputs that our nervous system processes.  They add red yarn to their nervous system to show the path of inputs and blue yarn to show the path of outputs.


The fourth graders learn about the regions of the brain and their functions. Small groups build labeled models of the brain and spinal cord. Fifth graders used the VEX Robotics kits to design and build models of toys with at least one moving part.


The fifth graders design and build robots to complete the task of moving toxic material out of a disaster site.  The red, blue, and green cubes represent the toxic materials which had to be moved to a collection area.  Below are the results of the top three teams in each fifth grade class.

Room 115
1st place: moved 9 cubes in 13.73 seconds
2nd place: moved 9 cubes in 29.65 seconds
3rd place: moved 9 cubes in 59.22 seconds
Room 116
1st place: moved 9 cubes in 33.58 seconds
2nd place: moved 9 cubes in 1:06.37 seconds
3rd place: moved 9 cubes in 1:06.67 seconds

The fifth graders follow visual instructions using the Inventor Publisher App to build their robot chassis. They design, model, and test a mobile robot that can remove  hazardous materials from a disaster site by adding additional parts to their robot chassis.

 PLTW 5th Grade            PLTW 5th Grade