Neuqua’s PLTW program kicks off their annual Carnival Day


Sean Kirchner

Students testing their launcher on the carnival day

On Friday, Sept. 9, the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) program at Neuqua held its annual Carnival Day for the Intro to Engineering Design class. Every student participating in the entry class to Neuqua’s engineering program has spent the first 3 weeks of school designing a carnival game that incorporates a launcher. Teachers and classmates were invited down to test out and play the student-designed games. Guests were given fake golden tokens to use at each game booth, with the booth that received the most tokens winning the grand prize, a PLTW t-shirt. Using plastic building blocks, cardboard and any materials they could get their hands on, the students designed their carnival launchers with mixed results. Some had huge decorations, while others went with minimal cosmetics. “While it looks like fun and games it’s really meticulously detailed going through the process,” said Peter Ross, an Intro to Engineering Design teacher. “It’s fun to build launchers, it’s fun to make games… but what they’ve done throughout this process is learn about the engineering design process.” In the intro course of Neuqua’s engineering classes, Ross hopes the students take their learning of the engineering design process throughout the rest of their future PLTW pathway.

While Neuqua mainly follows the national PLTW curriculum, the Neuqua program is allowed to create its own events and lesson plans. “The carnival day is a homegrown invention to celebrate the student activities,” said Ross.

Interesting activities like these make Neuqua’s engineering path a big draw for students. “I’m trying to become an engineer one day so I think this will really help me.” said sophomore Nathan Zecharias, when asked what he wants to take away from the class. Fellow sophomore Nevin Phillip echoed a similar sentiment, “I want to design stuff and practice that in the future.” Many students with future engineering aspirations find their footing in Neuqua’s PLTW program. With so many classes to offer, the engineering program continues to be a popular choice with Neuqua students, and Carnival Day is just the beginning of a long involvement with the course.