Project Lead The Way, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) curricular program already set in place at Mineral Point Middle and High School, is excited to announce the development of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) elementary, the newest addition to PLTW’s hands-on, project-based curricular offerings. Studies show that students decide as early as second grade whether or not they think they are good in the areas of mathematics and science. Negative feelings associated in the areas of STEM deter young students in pursuing an interest or career in these worldwide and ever increasing fields of study. With successful STEM programs already in place at both our middle school and high school levels, PLTW’s elementary program is a natural fit to prepare Mineral Point Elementary students for the global future and create a pathway for students from kindergarten to career.

Mineral Point Elementary was selected as 1 of 43 other elementary schools in 23 states to receive a pilot to implement PLTW elementary. This implementation will take place throughout the 2013-2014 school year. It is designed for students in kindergarten through fifth grades and aligns to the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a set of newly released science standards. Through a series of topic-based modules (units), students will begin to engage in the elementary design process of engineering through hands-on problems that encourage rich student collaboration, inquiry, problem solving, experimentation, and computational thinking. The PLTW elementary program will utilize the same high-quality professional development as PLTW’s other programs, but will take on a slightly different form to meet the structure and needs of elementary students and teachers.

Now, more than ever, our nation’s industries are continuously adding and creating STEM related fields in the workplace. Employees and members of today’s workforce need to be equipped with the knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to better adapt to our ever changing world. So why begin Project Lead The Way at the elementary level? It’s rather simple. Students at a young age LOVE it!!! Children are naturally curious and are eager to probe and examine through inquiry and exploration. They are open to new ideas and enjoy hands-on learning. Through this collaboration, Mineral Point will mentor the next generation of leaders in science, prepare our students for our nation’s diversified workforce, and continue to enhance innovation and creativity as we lead our students to a strong and successful future.