PLTW Launch K-5

  • Kindergarten Modules (Link to Curriculum Details)

    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.
    Pushes and Pulls – Students investigate pushes and pulls on the motion of an object and develop knowledge and skills related to
    forces of differing strengths and directions. Their explorations include pushes and pulls found in their everyday world, such as pushing
    a friend on a swing or pulling a wagon. In this module’s design problem, Suzi needs to move rocks from her yard so she can install a
    swing set. Students work through the problem by applying what they learn about forces.

    First Grade Modules (Link to Curriculum Details)

    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.
    • Animated Storytelling – Students explore the sequential nature of computer programs through hands-on activities, both with and
    without a computer. They examine key aspects of storytelling and devise how to transition a narrative from page to screen. Students
    discover the design problem through a story about Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi, who wish they could find a way to create a story with
    characters who move and interact with each other. Combining fundamental principles of computer science with story-building skills,
    students develop animations that showcase characters, settings, actions, and events from short stories of their own creation.

    Second-Grade Modules (Link to Curriculum Details)

    • Materials Science, Properties of Matter – Students investigate and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties,
    including color and texture. They learn about states of matter and properties of materials including insulators and conductors. In the
    design problem, Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi, are challenged to keep ice pops cold during a soccer game – without a cooler. Students
    apply their knowledge and skills to determine the best material to solve this design problem and then evaluate how their designs might
    be improved.
    • Grids and Games – Students investigate numerical relationships while learning about the sequence and structure required in computer
    programs. Starting with computer-free activities and moving to tablet-based challenges, students apply addition and subtraction
    strategies to make characters move on a grid. Angelina presents the design problem when she expresses her desire to design a game
    she can play on her tablet. Using skills and knowledge gained from these activities, students work together in groups to design and
    develop a game in which a player interacts with objects on a tablet screen.

    Third-Grade Modules (Link to Curriculum Details)

    • Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions – Students explore simple machines such as wheel and axles, levers, the inclined plane,
    and more. They investigate the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi go on
    a field trip to the zoo and are faced with the design problem of how to rescue a trapped tiger. Students then apply their knowledge of
    forces and devise a way to rescue a heavy zoo animal while keeping it safe throughout the process.
    • Programming Patterns – This module introduces students to the power of modularity and abstraction. Starting with computer-free
    activities and progressing to programming in a blocks-based language on a tablet, students learn how to think computationally about
    a problem. Angelina, Mylo, and Suzi set the stage for the design problem as they discuss their desire to create video games on their
    tablet. Students then create a tablet game using modular functions and branching logic.

    Fourth-Grade Modules (Link to Curriculum Details)

    • Energy: Collisions – 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
    • Input/Output: Computer Systems – In this exploration of how computers work, students are encouraged to make analogies between
    the parts of the human body and parts that make up a computer. Students investigate reaction time as a measure of nervous system
    function. After Mylo suffers a concussion, his friends become interested in how to diagnose concussions and create a reaction-time
    computer program to assess a baseline before a concussion occurs. Students apply what they have learned to build their own reactiontime
    measurement devices on tablets. This module has strong connections to the fourth-grade Human Brain module.

    Fifth-Grade Modules (Link to Curriculum Details)

    • 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.
    • Robotics and Automation: Challenge – Students expand their understanding of robotics as they explore mechanical design and
    computer programming. This module focuses on developing skills needed to build and program autonomous robots. Angelina, Mylo,
    and Suzi are tasked with designing an automatic-guided vehicle to deliver supplies to a specific area in a hospital without being
    remotely controlled by a person. Inspired by this design problem, students work with a group to apply their knowledge to design, build,
    test, and refine a mobile robot that meets a set of design constraints.