Walking into Bart Scott’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) class, the first thing that meets the eye are mechanical parts of various sizes, wires, clips and computers. As the lead teacher for Project Lead The Way at Uplift Hampton Preparatory, Bart Scott employs a number of tools in order to inspire in his scholars a true love for fields in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
You can tell it’s working. Engaged scholars mill around the room, tinkering on their project or working on their computer program. PLTW is a nation-wide program that exposes scholars to different career fields that bring together science, technology, engineering and math. Through the PLTW program at Uplift Hampton, scholars have had the opportunity to dabble in a little bit of everything through project based learning.
“The after school Robotics Club built dragsters that had to adhere to certain requirements and many of the scholars know more programming language than I do! They’ll say- ‘Mr. Scott, there is a better solution that you didn’t even think of.’ and that always amazes me. The idea is that I can assign a project, give them context guidelines and let go- and from there, they truly engage in independent learning. There isn’t a lot of micro-management which allows the scholars to truly become passionate about what they’re learning by being inquisitive, curious and not afraid to take risks.” said Mr. Scott.
As the nation experiences a shortage of engineers and is increasingly bringing in foreign engineers to fill the demand, it is imperative that our scholars be exposed to these in demand career options. The PLTW program exposes scholars to the breath of choices in these career fields that also come with high job security.
“The question right now is how to get more scholars passionate about science and I think that exposure is the answer. By the time scholars graduate from Uplift Hampton, they will have had experience up to freshman year of engineering. They learn all of the foundational elements through PLTW, that way they are able to hit the ground running when they enter college,” said Mr. Scott.
This pre-exposure to STEM fields has encouraged many Uplift Hampton scholars to pursue these fields in college. In fact, research shows that many professionals in STEM fields became interested in science through positive experiences during their early school years. The research is tangible at Uplift Hampton as scholars such as Khalil Payton, who will study biomedical engineering at Tufts University this upcoming fall, increasingly hone in on these areas. However, for Mr. Scott, it’s about keeping the scholars curious, engaged and inspired.