Unplugged and Engaged!

Kiley Ogodogu is a district library media technology specialist in the Belleville School District in Belleville, Wisconsin.

Our school district has been involved with the PLTW curriculum at the high school level for several years. However, this is our first year using the PLTW Launch curriculum materials with our K-5 students, and the PLTW Gateway curriculum with our students in grades 6-8.

For PLTW Launch, we are starting with biomedical science- and computer science-focused modules during students’ tech/library class. We have a plan to expand implementation with an engineering-focused module during the next school year. Our classroom teachers will end up with the full implementation, teaching three modules during science class while the computer science-focused module will remain during tech/library class for the 2018-19 school year.

Though we have just started, our feet barely wet, we are amazed with the engagement and excitement surrounding both of our current PLTW Launch modules. The image above is of our second grade students working on the first activity for Grids and Games. Even though this first activity is completely "unplugged," our students were completely engaged! While the "program" and "functions" were running, one student shouted, "It's just like a computer!"

Being physically engaged in the activity helped the learning objectives come naturally to the children. Through the activity, these 7- and 8-year-olds were able to understand how computers work. Following the directions precisely, just as a computer would, to compute their assigned task was easy for them to follow. This activity truly prepared them for the problem they solve at the end of the module!

I really am looking forward to getting deeper into the PLTW Launch modules with my PLTW Launch Lead Teacher, Julia Xistris! The activity-, project-, problem-based (ABP) approach is inquiry-driven and motivating to all of our K-5 learners, and I know that there will be many more new learnings to encounter for both teachers and students!

Thank you, PLTW, for providing curriculum for our 21st-century teachers and 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 each guest author.