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PLTW Gateway (6-8)

Project Lead The Way - Gateway


Middle school is a time of exploration, a time when students are figuring out what they’re passionate about today and how that relates to who they’ll become tomorrow.

During this transitional time in students’ lives, PLTW Gateway sparks a joy of discovery and illuminates the range of paths and possibilities they can look forward to in high school and beyond. The program’s hands-on projects in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science boost classroom engagement and excitement, support student-led learning and teamwork, and inspire “aha! moments” and deep comprehension.

By tackling pressing challenges like designing tires for a moon rover, cleaning up an oil spill, or solving a fictional crime, students learn to test their limits and question what’s possible. As students learn how things work and apply what they know to address challenges, questions like “When am I ever going to use this?” disappear from the classroom. By challenging themselves to rework and refine their projects, PLTW Gateway students learn that both failed attempts and persistence are key to learning and innovation.

PLTW helps to build a strong foundation for high school, college, and career. Each PLTW Gateway unit engages students in activities that not only build knowledge and skills in areas including computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, but also empowers students to develop essential skills such as problem-solving, critical and creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and perseverance.

PLTW Gateway Modules - USD 265

  • Energy and The Environment
    Currently offered at: Challenger and Discovery

    Students are challenged to think big and toward the future as they explore sustainable solutions to our energy needs and investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the world. They design and model alternative energy sources and evaluate options for reducing energy consumption.


    Medical Detectives
    Currently offered at: Discovery

    Students play the role of real-life medical detectives as they collect and analyze medical data to diagnose disease. They solve medical mysteries through hands-on projects and labs, measure and interpret vital signs, examine nervous system structure and function, and investigate disease outbreaks.

  • App Creators
    Currently offered at: EMS and GMS

    This unit will expose students to computer science by computationally analyzing and developing solutions to authentic problems through mobile app development, and will convey the positive impact of the application of computer science to other disciplines and to society.

    Automation and Robotics
    Currently offered at: EMS and GMS

    Students learn about the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics as they learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation, and computer control systems. Students use the VEX Robotics® platform to design, build, and program real-world objects such as traffic lights, toll booths, and robotic arms.

    Design and Modeling
    Currently offered at: EMS and GMS

    Students discover the design process and develop an understanding of the influence of creativity and innovation in their lives. They are then challenged and empowered to use and apply what they’ve learned throughout the unit to design a therapeutic toy for a child who has cerebral palsy.


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Contact Information

Dr. Julie D. Cannizzo
Assistant Superintendent of Academic Affairs

Stephanie Basham
Curriculum Support Specialist

Valene Day
Curriculum Support Specialist

Tegan Perkins Ulmen
Curriculum Technology Specialist

Keri Reynolds
Administrative Assistant