PLTW Launch (K-5)
Amazing Discoveries Start Here
Inspiring. Engaging. Empowering.
Your K-5 students already have the qualities of great designers and innovators. What PLTW Launch does is tap into their exploratory nature, engage them in learning that feels like play, and encourage them to keep discovering – now and for years to come.
PLTW Launch’s 24 interdisciplinary modules bring learning to life. The program empowers students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to the world around them. And as students engage in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, they become creative, collaborative problem solvers ready to take on any challenge.
I am amazed to see how engaged all of the students are when they are doing a PLTW module. Students are able to think like an engineer at a very young age. It is very gratifying to see the students using problem-solving skills and collaborating on their own. They learn how to work together and create a design that is the best solution to a problem, even if it isn’t their own idea. Students realize that their first idea might not always work, but they can keep going back to make changes. They are able to compare multiple solutions to a problem and select one to develop collaboratively. ... It is amazing what these young kids are doing!
One of the things we really like about the curriculum is how developmentally appropriate it is for kids. It capitalizes on children’s own wonder and curiosity and draws them into the learning process. We’re giving them a firm foundation. We’re giving them the technology and resources they need. But the students are constructing their own knowledge, and there’s a strong ownership and strong engagement as a result of that.
Within year one, we noticed that our students were willing to show more perseverance to solve problems than they had previously. We noticed that our students were able to work more collaboratively and that many times our students were the ones with the solution, not just the teachers. We also know that when our students leave Darnaby, they are more interested in pursuing coursework related to STEM career pathways.
This idea of the design process and feedback has carried over into every part of our learning day. In writing, students are revising and editing their own work and then discussing it with a partner to make it even better. In reading, students are practicing reading fluently and setting reflective goals of how they can improve.
Thanks to Project Lead The Way, I have students who leave elementary school demanding more engineering classes at the next level. I have students who say they’ve changed their mind about their future, and now they want to be an engineer. Without PLTW, engineering would still be a foreign concept to my students. The opportunities they’ve been given have now made this a viable pathway for them and their future.
Building a Strong Foundation for Middle School, High School, and Beyond
Each PLTW Launch module engages students in cross-disciplinary activities that spark a lifelong love of learning and build knowledge and skills in areas including computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. In addition, each module empowers students to develop essential skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and perseverance.
Aligned to Kindergarten Standards
Students discover the design process, identify products around them designed by engineers, and use what they’ve learned to design their own paintbrushes.
Students investigate different pushes and pulls and apply what they know to a swing set-installation project.
Students explore the relationship between structure and function in the human body and design a cast.
Students explore the ways people control and use technology, as well as program their own digital animations.
Aligned to First Grade Standards
Students investigate light and sound and design a tool to communicate over a distance.
Students build upon their knowledge of light and design a playground structure that protects students from UV radiation.
Students learn about animal adaptations and apply what they’ve learned to design a shoe made for desert exploration.
Students build computational-thinking skills by creating animations based on their own short stories.
Aligned to Second Grade Standards
Students explore materials science and devise a way to keep popsicles cold – without a cooler.
Students research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants and use what they know to design a gardening device.
Students explore how the surface of the Earth is always changing and design solutions for a fictional community threatened by a landslide.
Students learn about the sequence and structure required in computer programs and work in teams to build tablet games.
Aligned to Third Grade Standards
Students learn about the forces involved in flight and design a solution to deliver aid supplies via an aircraft.
Students explore simple machines such as wheel and axles, levers, the inclined plane, and more and then use what they know to rescue a trapped zoo animal.
Students investigate the differences between inherited genetic traits and traits that are learned or influenced by the environment and then model how the gene for a plant’s stem color is passed on.
Students discover the power of modularity and abstraction and then use what they know to create a video game for a tablet.
Aligned to Fourth Grade Standards
Students investigate how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force and then use what they know to design a car safety belt.
Students learn how energy can be converted to meet a human need or want and then develop solutions to move donated food from a truck to a food pantry.
Students explore how computers work and create a reaction-time computer program to assess a baseline before a concussion occurs.
Students learn about stimuli and responses and then use what they know to create a video to teach children about concussions.
Aligned to Fifth Grade Standards
Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and then design a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.
Students explore mechanical design and computer programming and design an automatic-guided vehicle to deliver supplies in a hospital.
Students explore the transmission of infection and run an experiment to help find ways to prevent the spread of illness.
Students investigate models and simulations and apply their knowledge to program a model that simulates the spread of infections.
A Transformative Professional Development Experience Centered on Student and Teacher Success
PLTW Launch professional development is a dynamic learning experience for teachers focused on robust and flexible instructional support, on-demand resources, and a close-knit community of collaboration with fellow educators.
We use a train-the-trainer model for PLTW Launch professional development. Each PLTW Launch program has at least one PLTW Launch Lead Teacher who attends Core Training taught by experts in PLTW Launch module content and activity-, project-, problem-based pedagogy. The Lead Teacher collaborates with administration to design the Launch implementation that fits the needs of their students and school and conducts on-site training for all classroom teachers who plan to teach PLTW Launch modules. PLTW Launch teachers then complete grade-level specific training online to further prepare them for classroom instruction.
Throughout the school year, all PLTW Launch teachers engage in our online Ongoing Training, which empowers teachers to deepen understanding through continuing education.
Student-Centered, Balanced Assessment
Our assessment experts apply industry best practices and methods to design, test, and implement assessments for our network of schools. A summative assessment is available within each PLTW Launch module. This check for understanding targets specific knowledge and skills gained throughout the module.