Third Graders Engage in PLTW and Lead Their Own Learning

Kay Russell is a 23-year teacher. Kay enjoys hands-on learning and bringing new ideas into the classroom. She teaches at Carrollton Schools in Carrollton, Ohio. 

My 3rd grade classroom loved PLTW! First, we focused on the module Stability and Motion: Science of Flight.

The students worked in teams of three. They engineered, problem solved, and collaborated. They found the iPads to be very engaging and loved being their “own teacher,” with me as the facilitator.

Students experimented with flight, airplanes, and trying to get supplies to a remote area. Students took the problem very seriously, relating it to what was happening in the news and other areas of their lives. We went outside and tested their planes, which added another variable – wind. Students were understanding the reality of how to engineer a plane in a short amount of time in order to save people’s lives.

We also engaged in the module Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions. Students built inclined planes and used wheels and pulleys to save a tiger that had been trapped in a moat. Students were tremendously creative in their designs. They freely shared ideas with each other, used others’ ideas, and combined them with their own to keep exploring new and different ways to accomplish the task.

Students enjoyed the hands-on learning. It eliminated the behavior problems of students who like to talk and visit. It provided the outlet for those students and engaged the quiet student who is reserved and hesitant to get involved. Students looked forward to coming to school and being in my class. As a teacher, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to implement the program. I was very pleased with the resources available, the training, and the support staff available to answer questions. PLTW is an excellent experience for all learners.

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.