Creative Problem Solving & Classroom Engagement
Project Lead the Way (P.L.T.W) Gateway to Engineering is offered to students in junior high 2 times per week.
Odyssey of the Mind is offered to students in grades 1-5 on a weekly basis.
Teachers and students agree that many of the activities and skills required by PLTW and Odyssey of the Mind are missing from the traditional classroom. These S.T.E.M programs encourage students to use their creativity and natural abilities to solve the programs’ challenging problems.
PLTW’s Gateway to Engineering allows students in junior high to EXPLORE, students are given the opportunity to figure out what they are passionate about today and how that relates to who they will become tomorrow.
As students engage in PLTW’s activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, they see a range of paths and possibilities they can look forward to in high school and beyond.
The three P.L.T.W programs offered at St. Patrick’s School are:
- Design and Modeling- 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.
- Energy and the Environment- 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.
- Magic of Electrons- Through hands-on projects, students explore electricity, the behavior and parts of atoms, and sensing devices. They learn knowledge and skills in basic circuitry design, and examine the impact of electricity on the world around them.
The Odyssey of the Mind was born out of the innovative teachings of its founder, Dr. C. Samuel Micklus. During the 1970’s at Rowan University in New Jersey, Dr. Micklus (Dr. Sam to OMers) challenged his Industrial Design students to use their creativity to solve unique problems like building a vehicle without wheels, designing and testing a mechanical pie thrower, and making a flotation device that transported them safely across a lake.
One of Dr. Sam’s first challenges to his University students: get across the water without getting wet! Proof that using open-ended questions creates more possibility for creative problem solving. If his problem was simply to “build a boat” — there would have been a classroom filled with the same solution.
Project Lead the Way Gateway to Engineering:
- Engage students in hands-on activities, projects, and problems
- Empower students to solve real-world challenges
- Inspire students to see themselves in new ways
Odyssey of the Mind:
- Healthy competition
- Critical thinking