Project Lead the Way Curriculum
Students explore and identify forces as pushes and pulls—through books, a scavenger hunt, learning centers, and observation of daily activities. Students identify the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object. Students use the design process to design, build, test, and reflect on a vehicle model that can move a heavy load using pushes and/or pulls.
Students engage in learning science and engineering practices that include using a design process to solve a problem. They explore how engineers use problem-solving as they design innovations and inventions. We will explore different fairy tales, such as Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs. Students apply their understanding of the design process as they use available materials to design, build, and test structures including a model of one of the pigs' houses, making sure it has good structure so that it will stay standing when the Big, Bad Wolf comes along to blow it down.
All products created by designers and engineers were created to meet a human need or want. One of the most basic of human needs is to communicate over a distance. In this module, students investigate light and sound, including vibration from sound waves and the effect of different materials on the path of a beam of light. The students use a design process to sketch, build, test, and reflect on a device that uses light or sound to communicate over a distance.
In the previous Light and Sound module, students explored how light and sound travel over distances. The primary source of light on Earth is the Sun. The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system. Students learn that stars, including the Sun, generate their own light, while objects such as the moon reflect that light. Finally, students be challenged with the task of designing, building, and testing a device to protect students from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Students analyze media to determine the peak times during the day for UV radiation and then design a cover for a playground structure.
Students investigate and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties, including color, texture, and heat conduction. After analyzing data from materials testing, the students design an insulating cover for an ice pop to prevent melting.
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.
Air is all around us. We know that air can hold up heavier-than-air objects, such as kites, gliders, and airplanes, but how does it do that? What forces act on an airplane or glider? Students use aerodynamic concepts to explain how the motion of air and other forces act on gliders and other aircraft.
Students explore, design, sketch, and build both simple and compound machines that demonstrate the use of forces. Students explore simple machines such as inclined planes, levers, pulleys, and wheels and axles and then use what they know to rescue a trapped tiger at the zoo.
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. The passenger is represented by an egg. The vehicle rolls down an inclined plane and collides with a solid object such as a wall.
First, students review concepts of potential and kinetic energy. Next, students learn about forms of energy including thermal, light, nuclear, chemical, electrical, and mechanical. Students then learn about the conversion of energy between forms and the energy transfer required to move energy from place to place. After students have explored energy conversion and transfer, they are presented with a design problem involving moving furniture up to a treehouse.
Robotics and Automation: Challenge
The problem for this module is introduced through a fictional story in which the three characters (Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi) are also learning about robotics. The characters learn about the use of robots in the clean up after a natural disaster at a nuclear plant. In this design problem, students work with a group to design, model, and test a robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.