The Arke

Connecting Science to Real Life

Reid Davis and Wilson Moore

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Did you hear about Tony the Tiger? This 360-pound Siberian tiger fell into a dry moat at the San Francisco Zoo. He was eighteen years old and was unable to get back into his enclosure on his own. It took zoo officials two hours to get Tony out using tranquilizer darts and a pulley. Through our Project Lead the Way class, we acted as engineers and made a model of a compound machine that functioned to get the tiger out. This is just one great way our science and Project Lead the Way classes help us connect science to real life.

We started Project Lead the Way (PLTW) this year, and we are already loving it. In our science class, we were studying simple machines when we started PLTW. This was a very good way to connect science, engineering, and fun!

 In our PLTW class, we had the opportunity to build many simple machines like wheels and axles, pulleys, wedges, and levers. We used an application on our iPads called Publisher Viewer, which showed us how to build the simple machines step-by-step using VEX Robotics kits. The VEX kits were very easy to use because they were always organized and contained all of the parts that we needed to make our animal rescue device. The variety of pieces helped us greatly to make our machine.

The great thing about PLTW is that there are no limits on what you can build as long as you follow the rules. We used our prior knowledge and experience with simple machines to design and build a gigantic, working compound machine. We were given rules, or criteria, for our device. It had to include at least two simple machines, but we used four. Our device had to be able to lift a toy tiger at least 4 inches off of the ground. We also had to be sure to include a secure harness that did not pull on the tiger’s head, legs, neck, or tail. Throughout the course of the project, we observed Siberian tigers in real time on a live tiger cam at the San Francisco Zoo; this inspired us to make better machines in PLTW class!

PLTW is a very free-flowing program. There is not just one way to solve the problem; instead, we have the freedom to use our own minds to achieve the task. All we have to do is be creative! There are no guidelines as long as our machine works. We love Project Lead the Way because it allows us to connect science to real life while using our creativity!

Above: 4th-grade students, Wilson Moore and Reid Davis use engineering skills during a  Project Lead The Way assignment.

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Student run newspaper of Lake Oconee Academy.
Connecting Science to Real Life