A student works on a robotics project.

🤖 Project Lead the Way (PLTW) isn’t a typical classroom experience. It's an immersive journey that sparks curiosity and fosters creativity. Students aren't just memorizing facts; they're solving problems, designing solutions, and learning through doing.

At Charles D. Owen Middle School, Ms. Laurel Hawkins teaches three PLTW classes – Design and Modeling, Automation and Robotics, and Medical Detectives. These classes give students a taste of what it's like to work in fields where innovation is key. On Friday, seventh graders in the Automation and Robotics class learned how to incorporate simple and complex gears into structural designs.

“This is a problem-solving course that involves mechanics,” Ms. Hawkins explained. “Each new project builds on previous ones and helps students problem solve, collaborate, and lead their own learning.”

Seventh grader Hannah worked on a design that transfers power from a crank to an idler gear to a bevel gear to a cam and follower gear. It took her seven iterations to get the design right, but she said the fun came from the challenge.

“I really like puzzles and figuring everything out in my own way,” she said. “So doing this, experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn’t, that’s what makes me really like this class.”

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