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Project Lead the Way

Project Lead the Way

Jacob Harden the Project Lead The Way Teacher for the 6th Grade. He teaches two courses: “Computer Science for Innovators and Makers” (taught 1st Semester) and “App Creators” (taught 2nd Semester).

For Computer Science for Innovators and Makers (CSIM), the main focal point is being an introduction to Computer Science. This is where students will learn the basics of coding, as well as the basics of how computers operate.

For “App Creators”, students learn how to create an App, just like the ones they use on a day to day basis. We use the website “appinventor.mit.edu“, where we can design and code apps!

During PLTW, we also do many “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities. We devote at least one day a week to nothing but STEM. In our class, STEM Wednesday has become a tradition. STEM activities consist of a lot of ‘hands on’ learning. We do many things, such as build card towers, build towers out of marshmallows and spaghetti noodles. This allows students to think outside of the box (be ‘creative thinkers’), and most of the time, they think it is fun! 

Right now, our big project is creating a ‘chain reaction’. We have created a make-shift tunnel that goes from the bottom of our classroom basketball hoop. The goal is to make a basket, and then hit dominoes. The dominoes lead to a certain point. Our students have learned how difficult this actually is. We have divided the room into different groups, each in which are in charge of a section of dominoes. At the end, we combine each line of dominoes to be one big line. This has been an exciting adventure that the students LOVE.

Another aspect of PLTW that I try and tie in is different ‘life valuable lessons’ that might not really have much to do with PLTW. Some examples of this are ‘goal setting’, ‘tie tying’, ‘writing checks’, and much more! In my classroom, we have a whole wall dedicated to our ‘goals’. We promptly call this “The Goal Wall”. The students draw pictures of their short term and long term goals, and then we put them on the “Goal Wall”. The thought process behind this is for them to see their goals each day, which will hopefully motivate them to continue striving to reach their goals. 

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