May 8, 2019
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA--Westhoff Elementary fourth graders investigated jobs of the human brain in this week’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) lesson.
During the interactive group project, students in Kelly Martinez’s class used colored modeling clay to distinguish the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, brain stem, cerebellum, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe.
They took turns molding the cerebrum’s four lobes in place, making sure to create folds and grooves – just like the surface of a real brain.
Next, teams used tiny toothpick flags to label functions including personality and feelings, hearing, heartbeat, breathing, movement, sense of sight, balance, and more.
The final step was journaling and diagramming the activity in individual Launch Logs.
Down the hall in Vicki Kim’s class, students rotated through touch, scent, hearing, and memory stations to further investigate the brain’s functions.
They guessed bitter, sour, sweet, and tart smells tucked inside paper lunch bags.
“This one is a fruity air freshener!” exclaimed Leah Lee.
“I think this one smells like an orange,” added classmate Weston Wong.
The children are excited to experience each hands-on science module, according to Kim.
“They are able to work in collaborative groups and share their schema and ideas with each other. It’s is a joy to see!”
Schools earned high praise for inspiring and engaging students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and preparing them for success in their careers and beyond.
To be eligible for the designation, the elementary schools had to offer at least two PLTW Launch modules at each grade level and have more than 75 percent of the student body participating.
PLTW high schools must offer at least three PLTW courses, have 25 percent of students in PLTW classes, and have 70 percent of students or more earn Proficient or higher on PLTW End-of-Course Assessments.
Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations based on their own short stories, PLTW Launch students engage in critical and creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and develop a passion for and confidence in STEM subjects.
Through PLTW programs, students develop STEM knowledge as well as in-demand transportable skills that they will use in both school and for the rest of their lives in any career path they take.
“We are incredibly proud of our PLTW Engineering students and instructor Johnny Hwang for their commitment to this rigorous academic program and achievements in STEM fields,” said Diamond Bar High Principal Reuben Jones.
“These students are developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to navigate the real-world challenges that must be addressed by the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and leaders.”
Jobs of the Brain! Westhoff Elementary fourth grade students investigate functions of the human brain on May 6.
Westhoff Elementary teacher Kelly Martinez leads PLTW lesson on human brain function on May 6.
Scent Station! Westhoff Elementary students try to guess scents in paper bags.
Westhoff Elementary students journal about human brain lesson in logs.