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Teachers for SITE
Teachers from Louisiana, Florida and Utah completed the elementary-focused program.
NSU hosts PLTW Launch training
Curriculum designed to encourage interest in STEM
Leah Jackson

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University hosted the first-ever training session for Project Lead the Way Launch, the elementary school level course for PLTW, a curriculum that introduces students to concepts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to youngsters. NSU is the Louisiana affiliate for Project Lead the Way, a program that integrates STEM projects to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology and engineering. The program already has established curriculum for high school and middle school students and is now reaching to younger learners with PLTW Launch.

 A group of educators from throughout Louisiana and two from out of state participated in the intensive two and a half day training that will be incorporated into classrooms this fall for kindergarten through fifth grade students. 

“This is the first training of this kind for PLTW Launch in the country. We are training these teachers to be lead teachers and they will go back and train teachers to be Launch teachers,” said Dr. Phil Brown, PLTW coordinator and assistant professor in NSU’s Department of Mathematics and Engineering Technology

“The kindergartners begin with a Jack and the Bean Stalk project,” said Stacy Reynolds, STEM coordinator at Jimmy Brown Elementary in Star City, Ark., who led the training with Corey Hansen, librarian at Valley View Elementary in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. “They study the structure and function of things and see who can build the tallest, highest bean stalk.”

Young students also study paintbrushes, examining the way they are made and their different functions, then make brushes that perform specific tasks. Older students learn programming to build robots and other complex machines that perform specific tasks.

For more information on Project Lead the Way, visit the organization’s website at or contact Brown at (318) 357-5026 or e-mail You can also visit Northwestern State’s PLTW page at