Gateway To Technology Course Description
The Gateway To Technology (GTT) program addresses the interest and energy of middle school students while incorporating national standards in mathematics, science, and technology. This activity-oriented, cutting-edge program shows students how technology is used in engineering to solve everyday problems. GTT currently consists of seven instructional units that motivate students to become creative innovators. During the GTT experience, students will gain the skills they need to develop, produce, and use products and services.
The Gateway To Technology curriculum provides project-based learning – a hands-on approach – that is exciting and challenging for the full range of students in today’s grade 6 – 8 classrooms. The curriculum relates technology to students’ daily lives. It promotes communication and collaboration by emphasizing a teaming approach in the instructional units. This approach utilizes the strengths of each team member to accomplish the goals of the project while offering students learning challenges at all ability levels.
Seven GTT Units
GTT currently consists of seven independent units that should be taught in conjunction with a rigorous academic curriculum. Each unit contains a two-day lesson on STEM careers that are specific to that topic. The units are designed to challenge and engage the exploratory minds of middle school students. Each 45 day unit contains performance objectives and suggested assessment methods. The seven units are:
GTT Foundation Units - Required
· Design and Modeling (DM)
In this unit, students begin to recognize the value of an engineering notebook to document and capture their ideas. They are introduced to and use the design process to solve problems and understand the influence that creative and innovative design has on our lives. Students use industry standard 3D modeling software to create a virtual image of their designs and produce a portfolio to showcase their creative solutions.
· Automation and Robotics (AR)
Students trace the history, development, and influence of automation and robotics. They learn about mechanical systems, energy transfer, machine automation and computer control systems. Students use a robust robotics platform to design, build, and program a solution to solve an existing problem.
GTT Specialization Units
· Energy and the Environment (EE)
Students investigate the impact of energy on our lives and the environment. They design and model alternative energy sources and participate in an energy expo to demonstrate energy concepts and innovative ideas. Students evaluate ways to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency and sustainability.
· Flight and Space (FS)
The rich history of aerospace comes alive through hands-on activities, research, and a presentation in the form of a short informational video. Students explore the science behind aeronautics and use their knowledge to design, build and test an airfoil. Custom-built simulation software allows students to experience space travel.
· Magic of Electrons (ME)
Through hands-on projects, students explore the science of electricity, behavior and parts of atoms, and sensing devices. Students acquire knowledge and skills in basic circuitry design and examine the impact of electricity on our lives.
· Science of Technology (ST)
How has science affected technology throughout history? To answer this question students apply the concepts in physics, chemistry and nanotechnology to STEM activities and projects.
· Green Architecture (GA)
In a world of increasing costs, from construction materials to energy use, it is important to expose the next generation of builders to the concept of “being green.”
In the wake of a hurricane, tsunami, or forest fire, many affordable homes are needed quickly; students will learn how to provide necessary housing and repurpose otherwise unused building materials.
The flexible middle school program provides schools with an opportunity to implement the seven units in a variety of ways. Project Lead The Way, Inc. recommends that the Design and Modeling unit be taught as the first GTT unit. This unit includes lessons that define engineering, teaches the proper use and importance of an engineering notebook, and expose students to the design process as a beneficial problem-solving tool. Schools are encouraged to offer the first unit in grade 6, but they may decide to spread the units through grades 6 – 8 or teach a full year of GTT in the 8th grade. All schools are required to teach the units Design and Modeling and Automation and Robotics. For maximum impact on student achievement, the GTT curriculum should be combined with a challenging academic curriculum in which:
· Students complete Algebra I successfully or pass a pre-algebra proficiency test and use algebra concepts to reason and solve problems.
· Students use laboratory and technology experiences to learn scientific concepts in physical, life, and earth/space sciences.
· Reading instruction is included in the academic core curriculum through grade eight.
· Students use language correctly and effectively to find, organize, and report information through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
· Students describe their heritage, their government, their world, and economic principles through the study of key issues of the past, present, and future.