Rylie Paterson, River Speciale, Tristian Chapman and Evelyn Villa – fourth grade students at West Side Elementary School learn about car collisions through the Project Lead the Way program Dec. 19. They built a car out of a kit and used real eggs as “passengers” to learn more about crashes, kinetic and potential energy as well as seatbelts and car safety. (Submitted photo)

PLTW program allows kids to apply knowledge learned

By Cathy Kozlowicz


West Side Elementary School students Rylie Paterson, Tristian Chapman and River Speciale recently used real eggs in the cars they assembled to answer a series of questions: How do seatbelts and airbags absorb energy, where does the energy come from, where does a person get the energy that needs to be absorbed, and, does it matter how fast the car is going?

Through the Project Lead the Way program Dec. 19, the fourth graders used their new knowledge of potential and kinetic energy to learn about different kinds of collisions. The concepts were learned in science and applied to real life situations.

“I want to see if my egg crashes,” Paterson, who wants to be an author or science teacher, said. She said she also learned more about car safety through these exercises – such as the reason kids should never sit in the front of a car.

“It is really fun to learn about science,” Chapman, who would like to be an engineer, said. “If it is a failure, it is okay. You try it again.”

Speciale, who wants to be an electrician said it’s fun building the cars, “and you learn about real life, too.”

PLTW provides transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers by using a hands-on classroom learning environment. The students gain in-demand knowledge that helps provide them the skills for what they need to know to thrive in today’s society.

Elkhorn Area School District has proven to be a leader in this type of learning as PLTW is a part of the curriculum for students in 4K through eighth grade.

Eryca Card, 4K – 8 PLTW Coordinator and Master Teacher received an Outstanding Educational Leader award and received recognition at the PLTW Summit in Kansas City, Missouri, in November. Only six educators received the award while 32 were recognized. Card will find out at the Indianapolis PLTW Summit in mid-February if she will be the national award winner.

      Read more about the PLTW program in the Elkhorn Area School District in the Jan. 10 Independent.


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