Karen Hogan has been teaching for 20 years and first began teaching PLTW in 2008. She teaches at Ritenour Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri.
1.) Get Organized. My first area of focus for the PLTW Gateway unit Automation and Robotics (AR) was organizing all of the supplies. I quickly got lots of feedback from the online PLTW forum and purchased rolling carts to store all of the VEX parts. These have worked out great for the limited amount of available classroom space.
2.) Collaborate. Throughout the years, I have worked with my colleagues along with training instructors and classmates to maximize the rigorous work in this class. I strongly encourage you to seek out help from the PLTW forum and instructors.
3.) Support Student-Led Inquiry. Students are always eager for you to tell them the answers to the real-life scenarios that are presented to them. However, the smiles on their faces after they have worked through the process and solved the problems on their own are priceless! They also learn that there are multiple ways to solve problems, along with learning how to think and work like an engineer with their engineering notebooks.
4.) Take Learning Outside the Classroom. My classes have participated in our school district's STEM night, Engineers Week, design challenges, and a PLTW conference.
PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of this guest author.