PLTW Grade Level Activities

Students in 4K through fifth grade participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities by completing a PLTW (Project Lead The Way) Launch module.  PLTW Launch modules bring learning to life. St. Mary students will engage in hands-on activities in engineering, biomedical science, and computer science. By participating in these activities, projects, and problems our students will become creative, collaborative problem solvers ready to take on new challenges.

The activities each grade level will complete are as follows:

  • 4K:
    • Spatial Sense and Coding - Students develop spatial sense as they engage in activities that explore directional movement – over, under, through, and around. They begin to develop coding skills as they plan a path, create wearable code, and code an interactive robotic device. Using the engineering design process, students create code that will lead them to the location of a hidden item.
  • 5K:
    • Structure and Function Exploring Design-Students discover the design process, identify products around them designed by engineers, and use what they have learned to design their own paintbrushes.
    • Animals and Algorithms-Students explore the nature of computers and the ways humans control and use technology.
  • First Grade:
    • Animal Adaptations-Students learn about animal adaptations and apply what they have learned to design a shoe made for desert exploration.
    • Animated Storytelling-Students explore the sequential nature of computer programs through hands-on activities, both with and without a computer.
  • Second Grade:
    • Materials Science: Properties of Matter-Students explore materials science and devise a way to keep popsicles cold without using a cooler.
    • The Changing Earth-Students explore how the surface of the Earth is always changing.
    • Grids and Games-Students investigate numerical relationships while learning about the sequence and structure required in computer programs.
  • Third Grade:
    • Stability and Motion: Science of Flight-Students learn about forces involved in flight and design a solution to deliver aid supplies via an aircraft.
    • Programming Patterns-Students are introduced to the power of modularity and abstraction.
  • Fourth Grade:
    • Input/Output: Human Brain-Students learn about stimuli and responses and then use what they know to create a video to teach children about concussions.
    • Input/Output:  Computer Systems-Students explore how computers work and are encouraged to make analogies between the parts of the human body and parts that make up a computer.
  • Fifth Grade:
    • Robotics and Automation-Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and then design a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.
    • Robotics and Automation:  Challenge-Students expand their understanding of robotics as they explore mechanical design and computer programming.

St. Mary School added PLTW Gateway for the 2019-20 school year.  Our middle school science instructor was formally trained at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, and his 7th grade science curriculum will include the Project Lead the Way – Gateway Course Medical Detectives.

  • Seventh Grade:
    • Medical Detectives.  Students explore the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease, solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, examine nervous system structure and function, investigate disease outbreaks, and explore how a breakdown within the human body can lead to dysfunction.



For more information about how St. Mary Parish School is utilizing PLTW Launch, please contact:

Julie Vanderhoef, Technology Teacher


Elizabeth Machi, 2nd Grade Teacher