K-5 PLTW Curriculum
Design Process: Students will discover the design process and how engineers influence their lives. The students will use the design process to sketch, build, test, and reflect on a new paintbrush design. Then, in small groups, will design, build and test a structure out of available materials to withstand a force.
Pushes & Pulls: Students will investigate forces by exploring the effects of different pushes and pulls on the motion of an object, including forces of differing strengths and directions. Building on this experience, the students will analyze an unsuccessful design to successfully meet the stated design challenge and reflect on the effect of modifying the strength or direction of a force.
Waves – Light & Sound: Students will investigate light and sound waves, including vibration from sound waves and the effect on different materials on the path of a beam of light. The students will use the design process to sketch, build, test, and reflect on a device that uses light or sound to communicate over a distance.
Observing the Earth, Sun, Moon & Stars: Students will describe patterns in data recoded after observing the sun, moon, and stars. Students will build upon their knowledge of light waves from the previous module to design, build, test and reflect on a device that enhances observation of the Earth, moon, sun, or stars.
Matter & Materials Science: Students will investigate and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties. After analyzing data from materials testing, students will determine the best material to solve a design problem involving trash recovery from a body of water.
Engineering Design – Dispersing Seeds: Students will research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants. From this data the students will design, build, and test a device that mimics one of the ways animals either disperse seeds or pollinate plants. Students will reflect on the efficiency of their design and how it was informed by nature.
Motion & Stability – Science of Flight: Students will be introduced to how aircraft vehicles fly while investigating the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Students will understand how engineers work and will be introduced to aspects of the aerospace engineering field. Students will also learn sketching techniques, discover computer-aided design, and use basic descriptive geometry as a component of design, measurement, and modeling their solutions. Using an engineering notebook and other forms of documentation, students will create models and document their work to solve problems.
Motion & Stability – Forces and Interactions: Students will explore simple machines including wheel and axles, levers, inclined plane, and more as they continue investigating the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object. Additionally, magnetic and electric interactions between two objects not in contact with each other will be explored through a series of hands-on projects. Finally, the students will apply their knowledge of mechanisms and magnetic interactions as part of a solution to a design problem.
Energy – Collisions: Students will explore mechanisms such as gears, simple machines, and pulleys. As students apply this knowledge of mechanical design, they will construct an explanation relating the speed and energy of an object. As a culminating project, students will investigate the transfer of energy resulting from the collision of two objects.
Energy – Conservation: Utilizing mobile robotics and building on their prior experience in the Collisions module, students will design, model, test, and reine a device that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. The students will explore engineering careers involved in erergy conversion and mechanical design.
Introduction to Robotics: Students will explore ways that robots are used in today’s world and the impact of their use on society and the environment. Students will learn about a variety of components as they build and test mobile robots that may be controlled remotely.
Robotics Competition: Students will review mechanisms and explore mechanical design and computer programming. They will apply their knowledge of mechanisms, robotics, and programming to compete in a design challenge by designing, building, testing and refining a mobile robot that meets a set of design constraints.