Gateway To Technology | Middle School Engineering Program
The PLTW Gateway To Technology (GTT) program features a project-based curriculum designed to challenge and engage the natural curiosity and imagination of middle school students. They envision, design and test their ideas with the same advanced modeling software used by companies like Lockheed Martin, Intel and Sprint. They study mechanical and computer control systems; think robotics and animation. Students also explore the importance of energy, including innovative ways to reduce, conserve and produce it using solar, thermal and wind power. The knowledge that students gain and the skills they build from GTT create a strong foundation for further STEM learning in high school and beyond.
Throughout GTT, students acquire knowledge and skills in problem solving, teamwork and innovation as well as explore STEM careers. Taught in conjunction with a rigorous academic curriculum, the program is divided into eight, nine-week independent units, assuming a 45-minute class period. Schools implement both foundation units and may add any combination of the specialization units.
GTT, intended for grades six through eight, is designed to spark an interest in STEM subjects and prepare students for further study in high school.
- Automation and Robotics (AR)
- Students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics. They learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation and computer control systems. Students use a robust robotics platform to design, build and program a solution to solve an existing problem.
- Design and Modeling (DM)
- In this unit, students begin to recognize the value of an engineering notebook to document and capture their ideas. They are introduced to and use the design process to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Students use industry standard 3D modeling software to create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their creative solutions.
- Energy and the Environment (EE)
- Students investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the environment. They design and model alternative energy sources and participate in an energy expo to demonstrate energy concepts and innovative ideas. Students evaluate ways to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and sustainability.
- Flight and Space (FS)
- The rich history of aerospace comes alive through hands-on activities, research, and a presentation in the form of a short informational video. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build and test an airfoil. Custom-built simulation software allows students to experience space travel.
- Green Architecture (GA)
- In a world of reduced resources and environmental challenges, it is important to present the concept of “being green” to the next generation of designers and builders. In this unit, students are introduced to architectural plans, construction styles, alternative materials and processes, dimensioning, measuring and architectural sustainability. Students use a 3D architectural software program to create an environmentally friendly home using shipping containers.
- Magic of Electrons (ME)
- Through hands-on projects, students explore the science of electricity, behavior and parts of atoms, and sensing devices. Students acquire knowledge and skills in basic circuitry design and examine the impact of electricity on our lives.
- Science of Technology (ST)
- How has science affected technology throughout history? To answer this question students apply the concepts in physics, chemistry and nanotechnology to STEM activities and projects.
- Medical Detectives (MD)
- Medical Detectives (MD) explores the biomedical sciences through hands-on projects and labs that require students to solve a variety of medical mysteries. Students investigate medical careers, vital signs, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as human body systems such as the nervous system. Genetic testing for hereditary diseases and DNA crime scene analysis put the students in the place of real life medical detectives. The unit will be field tested spring 2013 and made available to the network for the 2013-2014 school year.
Please click here for more information on this program.