PLTW Summit 2022 PLTW Gateway Track In-person Workshop Sessions

PLTW Summit 2022 is coming to Orlando, FL Oct. 28-30, 2022, with workshop sessions to empower you with the tools and tips to maximize your time and enhance the learning experience for your students. See below for a first look at the sessions featured in our in-person PLTW Gateway track, and head over to to add sessions to your PLTW Summit agenda!

Hosting a Middle School Robotics Competition on a Budget

Megan Gasparro, Lisa DeLong, and Stacey Wisniewski

Track: PLTW Gateway

Polaris Palooza is a PLTW Gateway robotics competition where students display their skills from Design and Modeling and Automation Robotics classes. The competition emphasizes collaboration, hands-on skills, teamwork, communication skills and 21st century skills. Our Girls Engineering Club is showcased in this competition, as well as our PLTW Gateway students. This session walks teachers through the process of creating this dynamic event, from building a prototype arena, VEX arena, establishing partnerships with associate schools, competition events, and all the logistics entailed. Guests leave with resources and ideas to implement this successful event into their own schools.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn how to schedule and compete in this robotics competition.
  • Learn how to implement this event.
  • Learn ways to execute this event on a budget using items from your local hardware store.

3D Printing Made Simple for Education

Brian Bobbitt

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science

Join our session to check out different styles of 3D printers. See how 3D printing enhances STEM instruction through different implemented projects that are proven successful. You’ll get the chance to use free software that can make innovative ideas come to a reality on a 3D printer.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Understand the different types of 3D printers, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Know how to analyze the different types of filaments available and how to use them most effectively.
  • Have a plan to implement 3D printing in your own classroom.

Make Your Curriculum and Technology Work for All Students: Tools for Equitable Instruction

Sarah Van Loo and Bill Van Loo

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, PreK-12 Leadership

The past three years have highlighted many of the most challenging aspects of teaching in the current era of education. Challenges in creating engaging experiences for learners and authentic connections with students abound.

How can teachers make their classroom experiences accessible and engaging for all students today? In this session, we’ll explore and share a number of strategies, including practical ways for implementing Universal Design for Learning, understanding how they can use good information design, and digging into case studies that demonstrate how to make the most of technology to engage and communicate with students and families.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Discover how to design instruction that benefits all students. Working in small groups, solve classroom scenarios and walk away with specific and practical strategies for your classrooms.
  • Gain an understanding of how to maximize learning management system (LMS) to engage and reach students. Specific strategies for organization, communication, and access will be discussed and shared.
  • Learn information design strategies that empower them to convey content and instruction effectively and efficiently to students across multiple platforms. Examples of using these strategies across a variety of tools and platforms will be shared and explored.

Encouraging Girls to Explore PLTW Courses

Amy Baldwin

Track: PLTW Gateway

Many girls, especially middle schoolers, think STEM is for boys because of limited exposure to STEM courses. Often PLTW courses have a limited number of girls. These areas of need brought about the planning to find ways to actively encourage girls to explore PLTW courses. During this session, you will learn about strategies used to promote girls in STEM and the immediate results of these strategies. You will experience a mini-girl power event while learning techniques to host your own events. Early exposure especially for girls is key to helping diversify the workplace and promoting females in STEM helps with exposure.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Experience a girl power mini event and take away at least three ideas on how to create and host their own event.
  • Gather a plethora of free resources you can use to build your own girl powered event.
  • Collect and analyze event data to determine how class outcomes are impacted.

Integrating PLTW into the Core Curriculum

Grant Miller, Amanda Cartright, Julie Friesen, and Seresa Arndt

Track: PLTW Gateway

Piper Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas has redesigned the entire school day to focus on STEM integration in the core curriculum. Hear how we transformed our schedule and teaching teams to create an environment where collaboration among teachers and students is the norm and where all 10 PLTW Gateway units are part of every student's school.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Understand the process of redesigning our school day around STEM and the benefits that we received as a result.
  • Have the tools to begin planning their own redesign.
  • Identify pitfalls of undertaking redesign.

PLTW Equals Growth Mindset

Christina Campos and Chanta Gidrey

Project Lead the Way equips our students with the opportunity and hope for a brighter future that they never thought was possible. Many of our students are raised by single parents, grandparents, or are in foster care. Hear more about how this program has allowed our school to offer our students high school credit to give them the hope to graduate high school and to change some of students' fixed mindset to a flourishing growth mindset.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Hear about how to bridge the gaps between the PLTW programs into the socioeconomically disadvantaged districts and challenge our students to build their confidence and ability into a new level of learning, thinking and believing in themselves.
  • Learn more about how to change the culture. Change the Culture: A fixed mindset is embedded into the culture of many of our students growing up in these conditions; we work to build a growth mindset. Building the growth mindset set for a brighter future leads our students into a college, vocational, or a trade school and have a career mindset.
  • Understand was to enhance the communication between our students and the mentors of the community. We work extremely hard to change the mindset and build the confidence level of our students. Bringing in our mentors would allow our students the ability to explore careers.

PLTW Gateway Case Study: Insight into Implementation and Student Access

Robert DePung, Tracey Bidlack, and Joseph Veldhuizen

Hancock Place Middle began its journey of implementing PLTW Gateway during the 2014-15 school year and has been recognized as a PLTW School of Distinction for the past three school years. During this session, PLTW teachers and administrators from Hancock Place Middle School (St. Louis, MO) will share their implementation process and ways they have modified their program, increasing the number of students exposed to the activity-, project-, and problem-based approach to learning offered throughout the PLTW Gateway units. As a Title 1 school, we’ll offer tips and suggestions to fund and sustain the funding of your program.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Gain insight into the implementation process, as well as the way we have modified our PLTW programs for sustainability.
  • Gain insight as to how to scaffold PLTW Gateway units to provide the opportunity for all students to participate.
  • Learn ways to fund programs through various grant programs and other fundraising ideas.

Engaging and Recruiting: Medical Detectives and PLTW Biomedical Sciences

Katie Porter and Amanda Betts

Tracks: PLTW Gateway, PLTW Biomedical Science

How can your team efficiently offer more hands-on experiences to students without exhausting industry resources? How do you engage medical professionals and connect them to your student's learning? How can you create memories for students to increase enrollment and retain students? This session offers insight into all of these topics for your PLTW Biomedical Sciences program.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Design and host a Biomedical Science Day for middle and high school students.
  • Implement recruiting tools to increase enrollment and retain students in your program.
  • Engage middle school students in biomedical science opportunities.

Robotics Teams: Leveraging PLTW Classroom Experiences to Support Robotics Teams

Philip Youngblood and Matt Anderson

Tracks: PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Gateway

Come learn how to tap into your PLTW programs to build and enhance your robotics team experiences. See how our district has built robotics classes around our PLTW programs, and how to implement classroom knowledge and skills to support your robotics teams. Maximize the value of your PLTW investment and discuss how successful robotics teams can widen your program exposure and help tap into other community resources.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn how to enhance PLTW pathways with robotics class and see how we use the VEX platform to get students started with competition robots, programming, and skills challenges in class.
  • Learn what skills and knowledge students can implement in a competition robot environment. These include CAD/CAM modeling, design process, electronics, programming, teamwork, machining, CNC, and much more.
  • Discuss how robotics teams can help widen exposure in your community and promote your programs.

The Power of Gaming: Enhancing Your Program with eSports, Gaming, and Game Design

Nathan Nolte and Jerry Iserloth

Tracks: PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Gateway

Gaming is more popular than ever. How can you tap into this common interest of both your current and potential PLTW students? Find out how esports, gaming, and game design can enhance and expand the reach of your PLTW program. From incorporating game design into current PLTW courses to starting a co-curricular competitive scholastic esports program, there are many ways to enhance your PLTW and STEM programs with gaming and game design.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn how gaming and game design can be incorporated into the PLTW classroom.
  • Learn about starting and running a co-curricular esports program.
  • Learn about making connections with colleges and the community through esports and gaming programs.

Incorporating Game-based Learning into Your Classroom Experience

Myrtis Smith

Tracks: PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science

Game-based learning is about incorporating games into learning activities. Games provide a safe learning environment, help teach soft skills, and help create a more student centered classroom. This interactive workshop shows how easy it is to incorporate a wide variety of games into your everyday teaching. Games can be used to preview material, assessments, homework, review, and so much more. Games can be online, offline, high-tech, or low-tech. Incorporating more games into your classroom does not require a lot of additional prep and can go a long way in getting your students more engaged.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn the difference between gamification and game-based learning.
  • Learn easy ways to incorporate games into every aspect of their teaching.
  • Practice using a variety of games in order to learn when and how to incorporate games into their course.

Designing and Fabricating Learning and Teaching Aids for Increasing Student Achievement in Introduction to Engineering Design

Craig Hughes and Todd Benz

Tracks: PLTW Gateway, PLTW Engineering

This workshop focuses on using computer-aided design (CAD) programs like Autodesk Fusion 360 and AutoCAD to design and fabricate teaching tools to help teachers implement Introduction to Engineering Design and to support different learning styles (audio, kinesthetic, and visual). Topics include learning to use a dial caliper, holes and hole notes, section views, designing for manufacturability, and several topics with the Automata such as cam displacement, cam motion comparison, and Automata prototype fabrication. When applicable, three methods of fabrication will be explored: traditional tools and materials, 3D printing, and laser cutting/engraving.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Utilize various techniques to increase student achievement, and promote lesson efficiency, and organization within the classroom and laboratory.
  • Apply CAD skills to design teaching aids for classroom use.
  • Select and use different methods (traditional prototyping methods, 3D printing, laser cutting) of fabrication (depending upon resources) to create learning and teaching aids, and prototyping equipment.

PLTW and Entrepreneurship-Inspiring Students for Innovation and Business!

Lisa Souza, Kelly Wilson, and Mary Murphy

Tracks: PLTW Gateway, PLTW Engineering

This session will share the highly successful implementation of pairing PLTW Gateway and High School implementation with entrepreneurship, inspiring creativity, innovation and business mindset for grades 6-12 in Collier County School District, FL. District administrators will share brief hands on activities, student work samples, community partnerships examples, and alumni stories of success with a focus on the value of integrating PLTW with entrepreneurship to develop skills for future success. The session will close with PLTW representative and Collier School administrators providing next steps and suggestions for district level implementation.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Gain an understanding of the units and courses that include entrepreneurship activities embedded in the PLTW curriculum in grades 6-12, and how these inspire career learning with a business mindset.
  • Apply scenarios to their student population and select strategies within their PLTW programs to make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks, and succeed in a variety of settings.
  • · Formulate a plan of implementation options to share with their district administrators to build student skills in entrepreneurship coinciding in collaboration with their selected PLTW program (6-12).

Things in My PLTW Classroom That Just Makes Sense

Kelly Garcia

Tracks: PLTW Gateway, PLTW Engineering

If you are looking for tips and tricks to make your classroom run more efficiently, this is the session for you! Learn about strategies for organization and storage, as well as useful tools that support classroom activities and classroom management. We’ll also discuss tips for implementing PLTW curriculum so you and your students can focus on learning!

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn tips for organizing and storing PLTW course materials.
  • Learn about some items that support classroom activities and classroom management.
  • Learn tips for implementing PLTW curriculum.

Constructing Their Future

Eryca Card, Steve Fisher, Julia Ingersoll, and Greg Ingersoll

Tracks: PLTW Gateway and PreK-12 Leadership

This workshop focuses on the importance of using community partnerships to construct the future of our PLTW students. Elkhorn Area Middle School, in partnership with Wausau Homes, Adams Electric, and the Elkhorn Kiwanis Club, discuss the partnership that was born out of Green Architecture and Energy and the Environment in PLTW Gateway, used to build a 12'x20' green outdoor education space at our school, food pantries, and a playhouse. This workshop discusses the journey that they embarked on for the past three years in partnering 6th grade students with local businesses and service organizations.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Understand the importance of creating business and community partnerships to enhance your PLTW programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
  • Create a plan to take back to implement within your communities.
  • Devise ways to come up with funding that will help enhance your PLTW program.

How PLTW Changed the Trajectory of Student's Thinking in our District

Beth Tomlinson, Jonathan Aery, Terry LaFountain, Stephen Tomlinson, and Michael Nacheman

Tracks: PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway

Engage in an informative session and discover the variety of ways that PLTW is implemented in our K-8 programs. Experience how glasses are taught and go behind the scenes of what students are creating, building, and presenting using multimedia. Witness how students and teachers navigate their way through classes in different classroom settings. Teachers and leaders will share how demonstrations of student success has allowed them to continue to grow PLTW and school leaders share how they’re able to maintain PLTW financially.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn how our district approached the Robotics and Automation unit together with student engineered toys and their media presentations. Participants will also experience how the design process is used to create a student's final group presentation.
  • Learn the different ways our district has embedded PLTW into the instructional day in grades K-6.
  • Learn from the superintendent and director of curriculum on how our district launched PLTW from the ground up and has grown the program from year-to-year.

PLTW Goes to Summer Camp (and After School)!

Rebecca Deotte

Tracks: PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway

In the summer of 2021, Middletown Public Schools was looking for dynamic programming to promote STEM and learning acceleration after remote and hybrid learning. The district’s federally funded after school programs and camps implemented PLTW in their STEAM Camps over the summer and in their five after-school programs during the school year. In this workshop session, the Innovation Coach from Middletown will discuss the ways to adapt and implement PLTW outside of the school day, present different models, and review factors that should be considered when planning for flexible implementation of PLTW programs.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Gain an understanding of how PLTW can be used in after school and summer programming.
  • Review different PLTW flexible implementation models for after-school and summer programming.
  • Understand factors to consider when planning flexible implementation of PLTW models for after-school and summer programming, including funding, staffing, pacing, etc.

Create an Action Plan for Implementing and Sustaining a PreK-12 PLTW Program

Janet Cornell, Tiffany Shaw, and Paul Dunlap

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science

Discover how a school in Ohio created, grew, and maintained a thriving PreK-12 PLTW program. From its humble beginnings in 2008, Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools has steadily expanded its course offerings, trained staff, and continually increased the number of students impacted. Their PLTW program consistently achieves national, state, and local recognition, and serves as a model for schools looking to implement a robust PreK-12 PLTW program. Learn what is needed to garner community and industry support as you build and sustain your PLTW Program.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Create an action plan to assist with implementation of your PLTW PreK-12 Program.
  • Develop an understanding of the sequential process necessary to build a highly successful PreK-12 PLTW program and earn methods for maintaining student engagement for PLTW courses from preschool through graduation.
  • Learn strategies for enlisting and maintaining financial support from community businesses, associations, and individuals.

Teach One, Teach All: PLTW for Multilingual Learners is PLTW for Everyone!

Melinda Alvey

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, PreK-12 Leadership

PLTW is for everyone! Adapting your curriculum to multilingual learners enhances your classroom and provides access to your content for young minds from all over the world. This isn't an easy task, but we can implement some simple ideas to begin circumnavigating the complexities of the English language and return the focus to your content. Walk away from this session with tangible examples for teaching multilingual learners, specifically in the secondary classroom.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn how to use graphic organizers. Graphic organizers are more than just note-catchers, T-charts, and a buzzword for interviews! Created the right way, these tools engage all students in the "wordy" parts of your lessons, organize the language visually, and allow your concepts to shine through.
  • See how to use images to navigate barriers. If you have multilingual learners in your class, you might be looking for ways to use Google Translate -- instead, think Google Images. The answer to a language barrier is not always (and often isn't!) more language.
  • In order for our students to grow in their ability to speak and write, they need targeted language supports. Speaking and writing are often used for students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts, but we can also use verbal and written language supports to drive the learning of a concept.

PLTW Gateway Energize

Andy Sarbacker

Track: PLTW Gateway

The PLTW Gateway experience engages students and inspires career confidence in the middle grades. In this workshop, participants explore an overview of the most recent enhancements and updates found within PLTW Gateway. Prepare to expand possibilities within your programs as you continue to spark those ‘aha!’ moments in your classrooms!

Participants completing the session will:

  • Identify recent updates and enhancements found within PLTW Gateway and understand how to find these and other support resources in the student curriculum and teacher guides.
  • Begin identifying ways to maximize the use of recent updates and enhancements within PLTW Gateway.
  • Identify how PLTW Gateway offerings can support your students/teachers, your STEM vision, and your broader community.

Keeping the User in Mind: Solving Problems in PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway

Jennifer Kruse, Kristen Champion-Terrell, Ginger Teague, Rachel Allard, Steve Pellathy, and Mary Ibe

Tracks: PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway

How can striving to understand the user experience help students become empathetic, human-centered problem solvers? Join us as we explore strategies that empower students to consider the user experience throughout the design process. Walk away with UX implementation ideas for problems in PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Explore strategies that empower students to consider the user experience.
  • Investigate how students can consider user experience throughout the design process.
  • Discuss UX implementation ideas for problems in PLTW Launch and PLTW Gateway.

Building Robust PreK-12 PLTW Pathways and Scaling Across a Metropolitan STEM Ecosystem

Martha McCabe

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Biomedical Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Computer Science, PreK-12 Leadership

This session will share detailed strategies and tactics used to scale and support PLTW growth across a metropolitan STEM ecosystem since 2006. Through the support of the Kauffman Foundation and the KC STEM Alliance, a majority of the Kansas City school districts have implemented PreK-12 PLTW pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science to over 90,000 students. This robust implementation model is growing next generation STEM talent critical to support a robust STEM job market in a large metropolitan city.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Learn strategies and tactics successfully used to expand student access to STEM education and the importance of inclusion for all students. Gain knowledge about the power of aligned course content and skill scaffolding, and the power of connecting students to possible career opportunities.
  • Understand the power of building PreK-12 STEM talent and how it can be scaled across multiple schools and districts. Learn how increased collaboration with business and industry leaders and community partners can help create robust STEM communities of practice.
  • Receive the findings from a recent Missouri High School Research Study with key findings related to PLTW students and their success.

Build Thriving PLTW Programs Through Connected Communities

Glade Montgomery, Pat Barnes, Dr. George Zion, Dave Butler, and Michelle Robinson

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, PreK-12 Leadership

If you’re looking to build or expand your PLTW community presence, this is the session for you! Learn about shared best practices between industry, higher education, and K-12. Hear from community experts familiar with building effective collaboration pipelines and get answers to your “how-to” questions.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Know how community connections can increase the health and sustainability of your PLTW program. Connected communities are vital to the health of PLTW programs.
  • Learn how to develop and nurture school – higher ed – industry collaborations that lead to deeper career learning connections and opportunities for students and teachers.
  • Develop strategies and outline next steps to take back to their communities.

Delving into the Evidence: PLTW Research and Impact

Katie Minihan

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, PreK-12 Leadership

Learn about PLTW's research agenda and explore the most recent results of research efforts.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Gain an understanding of the impact PLTW programs can have on student and teacher outcomes.
  • Enhance their understanding of the pillars of the PLTW research agenda. Build an awareness of the recent research related to the impact of PLTW programming.
  • Learn how to use PLTW research for local needs.

Start here for Sustainable Partnerships

Jasen Ritter

Tracks: PLTW Launch, PLTW Gateway, PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, PLTW Biomedical Science, PreK-12 Leadership

If you’re new to PLTW or a seasoned veteran looking to optimize community partnerships, this is the workshop for you. From identifying community resources to building opportunities for students, this session will look at building a community partnership team from the ground up. Hear how teachers working with robust partnership teams got started and take away resources to maximize the impact of your PLTW program for the school, students, and community.

Participants completing the session will:

  • Know how to start a partnership team for sustainable community relationships.
  • Develop strategies and resources to support their own community partnership teams and build multidimensional opportunities with community stakeholders.
  • Expand overall understanding of PLTW programs as a central resource for community connections and opportunities.

For a full listing of PLTW Gateway in-person workshop sessions check out the agenda here.

PLTW Summit 2022 is a new and improved event designed to meet educators where they are and give them the tools and tips to facilitate an engaging and actionable learning experience for their students.

Join the experience on Oct. 28-30, 2022 either onsite at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, FL or virtually through our engaging and accessible online platform. Registration includes access to general sessions, workshop sessions, guest speakers, sponsoring partners, networking opportunities, and more.