The Impact of PLTW Launch
Leslie is a first grade teacher at Forest Acres Elementary in Easley, South Carolina. She is certified in early childhood and elementary education, earned an M.Ed, and is National Board certified as an early childhood generalist. She has earned a gifted and talented endorsement and is pursuing an endorsement in STEM education. Leslie works to integrate the latest technology into the early childhood classroom to create an environment of independent, 21st-century learners. Leslie is married and has two small children.
The impact of PLTW Launch on student engagement in my classroom has been positive. During these lessons, the students worked in groups and exchanged ideas. They laughed and talked and WORKED! It was wonderful! Students were very motivated to find the answers and never seemed to mind reworking solutions that needed tweaking.
The response from parents has been positive as well. Many parents told me their student would come home and talk about the lesson and work from our PLTW lessons. The parents commented that they loved looking through the Launch Logs and were impressed with the ideas the students developed to solve the project problem. They were also impressed with how much they understood about the main concepts.
The most surprising outcome of the PLTW Launch curriculum is how well the students performed! Since this was my first time teaching these modules, I had no idea if students would even get it. Not only did they understand the concepts and what I wanted them to do, but they exceeded my expectations. These 6-year-olds showed innovation and thoughtfulness throughout the entire process.
One of the most rewarding aspects of the curriculum is the opportunity it gives students to shine. One of my students struggled with regular classroom expectations. He was a slow reader, poor writer, and couldn’t focus on his assignments. He was a front runner during the PLTW Launch lesson. His ideas were out of the box and extraordinary. I was able to share his incredible talent with his parents and reassure them that although he may not be a typical learner in the classroom, he showed an extraordinary ability in science and engineering! I encouraged them to enroll him in our Lego summer camp to help him develop these wonderful talents!
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this curriculum. It has added excitement and motivation to my students lives. This makes my job easier. There is nothing a teacher loves more than watching her students light up when they accomplish a task they worked to learn how to do. PLTW makes me a better teacher and has taught me so much about problem-based learning. I am a huge advocate for PLTW Launch and STEM education. We are creating children who will thrive in our society and will be the innovators for the future.