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Project Launch   

The Ashland Independent School District is proud to announce the implementation of Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Launch for all K-5 students.  PLTW is the nation’s leading provider of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.  Launch will allow young minds to discover the wonders of STEM!  Implementation of the PLTW Launch Program will continue the district’s K-12 STEM initiative and make a natural connection to the STEM programs already in place at Ashland Middle School and Paul G. Blazer High School. Kindergarten through fifth grade students will participate in three PLTW Launch modules each year.


Structure and Function: Exploring Design

Students discover the design process, identify products around them designed by engineers, and use what they’ve learned to design their own paintbrushes.

Pushes and Pulls

Students investigate different pushes and pulls and apply what they know to a swing set-installation project.

Structure and Function: Human Body

Students explore the relationship between structure and function in the human body and design a cast.

First Grade

Light and Sound

Students investigate light and sound and design a tool to communicate over a distance.

Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Students build upon their knowledge of light and design a playground structure that protects students from UV radiation.

Animal Adaptions

Students learn about animal adaptations and apply what they’ve learned to design a shoe made for desert exploration.

Second Grade

Materials Science: Properties of Matter

Students explore materials science and devise a way to keep popsicles cold – without a cooler.

Materials Science: Form and Function

Students research the variety of ways animals disperse seeds and pollinate plants and use what they know to design a gardening device.

The Changing Earth

Students explore how the surface of the Earth is always changing and design solutions for a fictional community threatened by a landslide.

Third Grade

Stability and Motion: Science of Flight

Students learn about the forces involved in flight and design a solution to deliver aid supplies via an aircraft.

Stability and Motion: Forces and Interactions

Students explore simple machines such as wheel and axles, levers, the inclined plane, and more and then use what they know to rescue a trapped zoo animal.

Variation of Traits

Students investigate the differences between inherited genetic traits and traits that are learned or influenced by the environment and then model how the gene for a plant’s stem color is passed on.

Fourth Grade

Energy: Collisions

Students investigate how mechanisms change energy by transferring direction, speed, type of movement, and force and then use what they know to design a car safety belt.

Energy: Conversion

Students learn how energy can be converted to meet a human need or want and then develop solutions to move donated food from a truck to a food pantry.

Input/Output: Human Brain

Students learn about stimuli and responses and then use what they know to create a video to teach children about concussions.

Fifth Grade

Robotics and Automation

Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and then design a mobile robot that can remove hazardous materials from a disaster site.

Robotics and Automation: Challenge

Students explore mechanical design and computer programming and design an automatic-guided vehicle to deliver supplies in a hospital.

Infection: Detection

Students explore the transmission of infection and run an experiment to help find ways to prevent the spread of illness.


The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that jobs in STEM will grow 17% by 2018- nearly DOUBLE the growth of non-STEM-related fields!  The Ashland Independent School District wants to ensure our students are prepared to move into these careers.  We are excited to offer this PLTW program and confident it will provide the inspiration for a new generation of innovators!

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