PLTW Launch (PreK-5)
Engage Students’ Natural Curiosity Through Problem-Based Learning
PLTW Launch students learn through exploration and discovery.
Through PLTW Launch, students become hands-on problem solvers and learn to collaborate with their fellow students.
They begin each module with an engaging ebook story featuring the characters Mylo, Suzi, and Angelina, who introduce the challenge students will work together to solve. Then, in a series of activities that build upon each other, students are challenged to become confident in trying new things, to learn from mistakes, and to apply what they know to find solutions.
PLTW Launch addresses Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards for Math and English Language Arts, and other national and state standards. To best fit the needs of your students and school, the program’s 10-hour modules are flexible and customizable: They can be implemented independently or in tandem with one another, at the grade level you want, at any time.
Life Science: Living and Nonliving Things
Students explore characteristics of living and nonliving things. By examining habitats, students develop an understanding of what living things need in order to survive. They use the design process to sketch, build, and test an animal’s shelter, then reflect on their design.
Structure and Function: Exploring Design
Students discover the design process and how engineers influence their lives. They explore the elements of structure and function by identifying products around them designed by engineers and asking questions engineers might ask. They are introduced to a design problem through a story in which Angelina wants to design a paintbrush. Students apply their knowledge from the module to design their own paintbrushes.
Light and Sound
Students investigate the properties of light and sound, including vibration from sound waves and the effect of different materials on the path of a beam of light. After students develop an understanding of light and sound, they are challenged to solve a design problem Mylo, Suzi, and Angelina face. In the story, the characters are lost and must use only the materials in their backpack to communicate over a distance by using light and/or sound. Students use the design process to sketch, build, test, and reflect on a device that solves this design problem.
Materials Science: Form and Function
Students research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants. They expand their understanding of properties of matter as they consider the form and function involved in seed dispersal and pollination. Students are introduced to the design problem when Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi are tasked with starting a wildflower garden on an expansive plot outside of their school. To solve the design problem, students apply their knowledge and skills to design, build, test, and reflect on a device that mimics a way in which animals disperse seeds or pollinate plants.
Stability and Motion: Science of Flight
In this module, students learn about the forces involved in flight as well as Newton’s Laws of Motion. They design, build, and test an experimental model glider to find out how air and other forces affect its flight. Students discover aeronautics alongside Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi and are inspired by the characters’ desire to use their skills to help those in need. Students apply the design process to the problem of delivering aid to an area where supplies must be airlifted in and dropped to the ground from an aircraft.
Students explore the properties of mechanisms and how they change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force. Students discover a variety of ways potential energy can be stored and released as kinetic energy. They explain the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object, as well as predict the transfer of energy as a result of a collision between two objects. The design problem is introduced by Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi watching amusement park bumper cars collide. As students solve the problem for this module, they apply their knowledge and skills to develop a vehicle restraint system.
Robotics and Automation
Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and their impact on society and the environment. Students learn about a variety of robotic components as they build and test mobile robots that may be controlled remotely. Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi are tasked with designing a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site. Students are then challenged to design, model, and test a mobile robot that solves this design problem.