"Launching" Our Students Into The Future

Eryca Card teaches 6th grade science and serves as the K-8 PLTW Coordinator in the Elkhorn Area School District in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. Eryca is a PLTW Launch Master Teacher and a member of the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers (WSST). She has a lifelong passion for the field of science.

PLTW Launch has changed not only the lives of our students and how they look at the world through a problem-solving and innovative lens, but it has also changed the lives of our teachers and how they instruct science. 

We brought PLTW Launch into our district two years ago, and we have seen our district be transformed due to the program. 

We have had PLTW lessons reach into our households and into our community. We have had parents ask their children, "What did you do today in school?" and more often than not, the students who used to say, "Nothing." will give their parent a very long explanation of their learning through PLTW. We now have three after-school programs at the elementary level for 4th and 5th graders, due to our parents asking for more PLTW time for their child(ren). 

We do two official showcases each school year, which brings in our neighboring districts, community, and stakeholders. Beyond these two official showcases, we also have numerous people visit our district for tours of our classrooms. 

Our students have also been afforded the opportunity to participate in Day at the Capitol at the state and national levels, where they have been instrumental in helping policymakers see the importance of STEM education and how it has touched their lives. We have been guests at numerous presentations and educational conference booths with our students.  

Furthermore, we are now creating Makerspaces in our district, and looking for additional ways to get PLTW into the hands of our students. 

It truly has been amazing to see how this curriculum has not only reached into the lives of our students and teachers, but also has transcended into the lives of our families, made an impact in our greater community, and resulted in opportunities across the nation. PLTW really is what is best for not only our students, but for all students, and with the program as our foundation, we really are "Launching" our students into their futures – not only their futures in PLTW Gateway and the high school pathways, but in their future lives as citizens of our nation.

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.