7th and 8th Grade – STEM Program

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Program

The Gateway To Technology (GTT) program features a project-based curriculum designed to challenge and engage the natural curiosity and imagination of middle school students. They envision, design and test their ideas with the same advanced modeling software used by companies like Lockheed Martin, Intel and Sprint. They study mechanical and computer control systems; think robotics and animation. Students also explore the importance of energy, including innovative ways to reduce, conserve and produce it using solar, thermal and wind power. The knowledge that students gain and the skills they build from GTT create a strong foundation for further STEM learning in high school and beyond.

Throughout GTT, students acquire knowledge and skills in problem solving, teamwork and innovation as well as explore STEM careers. GTT, intended for grades seven and eight, is designed to spark an interest in STEM subjects and prepare students for further study in high school.

The curriculum is founded in the fundamental problem-solving and critical-thinking skills taught in traditional career and technical education (CTE), but at the same time integrates national academic and technical learning standards and STEM principles, creating what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calls one of the “great models of the new CTE succeeding all across the country.” PLTW was recently cited by the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a “model for 21st century career and technical education.”

More than 4,200 schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are offering these courses to their students in the 2012-13 school year.

Please visit www.pltw.org for more information.

Foundation Units – 7th Grade – 9 week courses

Automation and Robotics (AR)

Students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics. They learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation and computer control systems. Students use a robust robotics platform to design, build and program a solution to solve an existing problem.

Design and Modeling (DM)

In this unit, students begin to recognize the value of an engineering notebook to document and capture their ideas. They are introduced to and use the design process to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Students use industry standard 3D modeling software to create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their creative solutions.

Future possible 8th Grade Electives

Energy and the Environment (EE)

Students investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the environment. They design and model alternative energy sources and participate in an energy expo to demonstrate energy concepts and innovative ideas. Students evaluate ways to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and sustainability.

Flight and Space (FS)

The rich history of aerospace comes alive through hands-on activities, research, and a presentation in the form of a short informational video. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build and test an airfoil. Custom-built simulation software allows students to experience space travel.

Green Architecture (GA)

In a world of reduced resources and environmental challenges, it is important to present the concept of “being green” to the next generation of designers and builders. In this unit, students are introduced to architectural plans, construction styles, alternative materials and processes, dimensioning, measuring and architectural sustainability. Students use a 3D architectural software program to create an environmentally friendly home using shipping containers.

Magic of Electrons (ME)

Through hands-on projects, students explore the science of electricity, behavior and parts of atoms, and sensing devices. Students acquire knowledge and skills in basic circuitry design and examine the impact of electricity on our lives.

Science of Technology (ST)

How has science affected technology throughout history? To answer this question students apply the concepts in physics, chemistry and nanotechnology to STEM activities and projects.

Medical Detectives (MD)

Medical Detectives (MD) explores the biomedical sciences through hands-on projects and labs that require students to solve a variety of medical mysteries. Students investigate medical careers, vital signs, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as human body systems such as the nervous system. Genetic testing for hereditary diseases and DNA crime scene analysis put the students in the place of real life medical detectives.

 

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