Spring PD Day 2023

Date: Tuesday, March 7th

Time: 8:30 – 3:30

Location: WPI

We are looking forward to having everyone back on campus again in March for a day of learning and sharing! This Spring PD Day will mark the most Master Teachers we’ve had on campus for an event and all eager and excited to share and collaborate. It will be a day filled with course-specific resources, new ideas for engagement, and opportunities for educators to collaborate throughout the day and beyond! Join PLTW Master Teachers and your MA PLTW colleagues to work together and end the year strong.

Leader Session at Spring PD Day!

Just announced! From 9:00am-12:00pm, we will be hosting a special facilitated collaborative working session for PLTW leaders. Alongside other innovative school leaders, we will crowdsource and develop small moves that have large impact on making work more meaningful for students. By the end of the session, each leader will leave with a plan for one bite-size move that can be made across classrooms to improve instruction. Leaders are welcome to join us for the entire day.

Block 1 Sessions

Led by PLTW Master Teachers these course specific breakouts will include Master Teacher guidance resources and facilitated collaborative work time with choice of one of three topics to finish the year strong:

      • Pacing guidance
      • Creating a plan to focus on a student skill (e.g. student collaboration, sketching)
      • Tailoring/customization to increase student engagement (e.g. project adjustments, showcases )

Courses offered:

Launch (grouped by grade level)   Gateway (AC, AR, CSIM, DM)                       HS CS (CSE, CSP, CY)    HS Biomed (PBS, HBS)   HS Engineering (IED, POE, CEA)

Blocks 2 & 3

In blocks 2 & 3 you will find course specific, pathway specific, and general interest session offerings.


Block 2

Kindergarten Modules Deep Dive

Presenter: Master Teacher Sarah Schemanske

Join this session for a hands-on walk through with the most challenging components of the Structure & Function and the Pushes & Pulls modules and have time to collaborate with others to share best strategies.

5th Grade Modules Deep Dive

Presenter: Master Teacher Christi Davenport

Join this session for a hands-on walk through with the most challenging components of the Matter, Properties & Reactions and Patterns in the Universe modules and have time to collaborate with others to share best strategies.

Connecting elementary students with industry

Presenter: Jenn Donais

Have you been interested in creating career connections in your Launch classroom but have been struggling to find the time or best process? Come to this session where examples will be provided for ways one district did this with different grade levels and at different times of year. You will get examples of scheduling possibilities, industry connection resources and more! Leave this session with a date for and possible industry expert for your career connections!

 Block 3

1st Grade Modules Deep Dive

Presenter: Master Teacher Sarah Schemanske

Join this session for a hands-on walk through with the most challenging components of the Light & Sound and Light: Observing the Sun, Moon, & Stars modules and have time to collaborate with others to share best strategies

2nd Grade Modules Deep Dive

Presenter: Lindsey Ayers (Westfield)

Join this session for a hands-on walk through with the most challenging components of the Properties of Matter and The Changing Earth modules and have time to collaborate with others to share best strategies.

4th Grade New Energy Module Deep Dive

Presenter: Master Teacher Christi Davenport

Join this session to do a deep dive into the new 4th grade module: Energy Exploration. There will be time to walk through some of the activities in the module hands-on as well as discussions around how it relates to Energy Collisions and Conversions. 


Block 2

AR: Next Level VEXcode

Presenter: Master Teacher Jonathan Scrivner

Learn more about the VEXcode programming environment utilized in Automation & Robotics. We will explore relevant computer science concepts and how to apply them in the VEXcode programming platform. 

CSIM: Using Sensors in your Projects and Problems

Presenter: Master Teacher Rocco Barletta

In this session you will explore a variety of Input and Output sensors that can be used in physical computing. This session will focus on the main IO devices used during CSIM and how they can be maximized for your student’s projects and problem. 

Gateway Pathway: Engaging Through Game-based Learning

Presenter: Master Teacher Stephanie Racine

Learn how to create opportunities to motivate and engage students through play.

 Block 3

AC: Alexa Messenger – Building a Skill in MIT App Inventor using Alexa

Presenter: Master Teacher Rocco Barletta

Learn how to build skills for your Alexa in MIT App Inventor. Multiple lessons from beginner to advanced and how it can be implemented into your App Creators curriculum. Building a Skill in MIT App Inventor using Alexa 

Gateway Pathway: The Art of Questioning Leads to a Growth Mindset

Master Teachers: Jonathan Scrivner and Stephanie Racine

Dive deeper into how to question students so that they arrive at the answer on their own as well as teaching students how to ask questions, both of themselves as they are learning, and of the ideas they are learning about. 

DM: Communicating Design Through Sketches and CAD

Presenter: Chris Beyerle

In this workshop, teachers will learn how they can support students sketching and drawing techniques to communicate their design ideas. Teachers will look at various activities to help students develop their skills in line sketching, shading, and quality. Teachers will also explore ways to help students transfer their sketched ideas to higher quality CAD models.

HS Computer Science

Block 2

CSP & CSE: Python Gym

Presenter: Master Teacher David Czechowski

Come stretch and strengthen your Python programming abilities. Workout routines available for novices to experienced coders. We will practice with Python activities that can supplement the PLTW CSE & CSP Python coursework and discuss ways we can continue to challenge ourselves and our students. PLTW Gateway & HS teachers are welcome to join the fun!

CS Pathway: Assessing Student Learning in the HS CS Pathway

Presenter: Master Teacher Susan Jones

Assessments in Computer Science can be challenging for both teachers and students. The APB structure used in PLTW lessons allows for a variety of ways to assess student learning through rubrics, interim progress reports, written/video reflections, and more. This session will include practical examples ready to adapt for use in your classes, hands-on teacher work, and discussion across the CS pathway. 

 Block 3

CS Pathway: Fun with Pi Tops; a Hands-on Approach to Python

Presenter: Master Teacher Katie Cunningham

Have you been looking for ways to make your CS courses that utilize python more hands on and interactive with your students? In this session, we will utilize Pi-Top systems and hardware to explore projects that will allow your students to practice and showcase their python skills.

CS Pathway: Refreshing our View of the CS Curriculum

Presenter: Master Teacher David Czechowski

You don’t teach PLTW, you teach students! Let’s take some time to reevaluate how we use the curriculum so we can reconnect with our students, to present them with achievable objectives, and to encourage them to solve problems with CS. We will assess our own motivations for teaching CS, reconsider the curriculum components, and plan for all students to achieve some success. 

CS Pathway: It’s All Logical! Making Logical Reasoning Fun

Presenter: Master Teacher Susan Jones

In Computer Science classes, logical reasoning is key to thinking through algorithms, conditionals, looping, and more. Incoming students sometimes need a boost to be successful. And all students can use refresher practice throughout the year! This session will review different ways to get students thinking logically with hands-on practice for teachers and takeaways you can use right away when you return to the classroom.

HS Biomedical Science

Block 2

MI: Protein Purification – Wrapping up 4.1

Presenter: Master Teacher Danielle Weber 

Get hands-on experience with column chromatography for 4.1.3 while addressing timing, skills, and common issues for all of lesson 4.1: Manufacturing Human Proteins

Biomed Pathway: Cracking the Code to the Biomed EOC

Presenter: Master Teacher Becky Howell

Get the inside scoop from someone who used to write assessment questions for the EOC – join Master Teacher Becky Howell as she shares what PLTW is looking for and how they come up with EOC questions. She will provide guidance to help you determine what types of questions to be asking your students throughout the course. Get an Overview of the Kite Portal – how to utilize it and what it does and does not offer. There will also be time spent looking at interpretation documents to help you recognize concept mastery within the biomed courses! 

 Block 3

PBS: Wrapping Up PBS with Confidence – Dive Hands-on into Units 3 & 4

Presenter: Master Teacher Becky Howell

Units 3 and 4 will be previewed and discussed. Teachers will be provided with activity choices from each unit and can select the hands-on options that will benefit their classroom the most. 

Biomed Pathway: Building Community within your PLTW Biomed Classroom

Presenter: Master Teacher Danielle Weber

Collaboration is an integral part of a PLTW biomed classroom, but it is not something that always comes naturally for our students. Join this session to discuss strategies for building a collaborative classroom community including building interdependence between student groups, how to avoid learned helplessness, grouping strategies, encouraging productive struggles and effectively utilizing peer evaluations. 

HS Engineering

Block 2

IED: Top-down Modeling and Prototyping with Fusion 360

Presenter: Master Teacher Craig Hughes

Participants will be guided through a top-down modeling process of a simple mechanical object. Once created, techniques for 3D printing the object will be explored and discussed.

CEA: Engage your CEA students but catering projects to their interests

Presenter: Master Teacher Cliff Greer

Join this session to learn and share ways to adjust the projects so they are more relevant and engaging for students. Learn how Master Teacher Cliff Greer has adjusted the Habitat for Humanity project, added regional relevance to the Commercial construction, and ways to adjust the curriculum when the math gets heavy! 

EDD: Ending the Year Strong 

Presenter: Master Teacher Tony Tegtmeyer

How do you give your EDD students an end-of-the-year experience they will never forget? Join this interactive session with peers to share ideas and best practices to get administrators, experts, parents and the community invested in a memorable experience for you and your students. Ideas for engaging mini-projects for the last part of the year will also be discussed. 

Engineering Pathway: Assessments in the Engineering Pathway

Presenter: Master Teacher Eric Rice

Participants will work through unit assessments and EOC issues. This session will cover the utilization of KITE, EOC resources, personalized assessments, and integrating google classroom and Canvas. 

 Block 3

IED: Sharing and Creating PLTW resources – making teaching easier

Presenter: Master Teacher Austin Williams

Sticking with the idea that collaboration produces the best ideas and best products, we will walk through a collaboration effort made by over 40 PLTW IED teachers, the history of the project, lessons learned, and start a collaboration effort of our own. By the end of the session, you will have access to a library of IED resources and best practices contributed by PLTW teachers across the nation and those who have attended the session as well. 

POE: Get Hands-on with the Ping Ball Launchers in Unit 4

Presenter: Master Teacher Eric Rice

This session will focus on integrating kinematics and statistical concepts into Problem 4.2.3- Ballistic Device Design.  This session will assist with keeping students hands-on and engaged while directly building upon control system concepts developed in Unit 3.1 with Vex Robotics. As a teacher, you will work with various launchers and analysis tools in which you can use as ideas to help facilitate this unit at your school.    

CIM: SCOREBOT programming and more – end the year strong in CIM!

Presenter: Master Teacher Mike Smutok

We will do a deep dive into SCOREBOT – how to do a Cell-setup and programming of the robot. During this interactive session we will get into some of the more advanced programming with absolute vs relative coordinates and using variables. We will also touch upon peripherals to enter unit 4 strong! Be sure to bring your laptop with robocell. 

Engineering Pathway: Instructive moves to create independence in a PLTW Engineering classroom

Presenter: Master Teacher Cliff Greer

How do we hand the reins over to our students to guide their own learning while keeping them engaged and on task in an engineering classroom? Join this session to learn strategies for chunking student work and making the curriculum more accessible for students to work collaboratively in groups and independently. Master Teacher Cliff Greer will share his resources for IED and CEA as examples of breaking down PLTW engineering courses. There will be time to look through these materials to adjust them to meet the needs of your classroom or other engineering course. 


General Interest Sessions Coming Soon!