New Courses Arrive at Beaver Dam Middle School

by Jim Dittmann
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By: Beaver Dam Unified School District – Beaver Dam, WI

The 2017-18 school year has brought new and exciting learning opportunities for Beaver Dam Middle School (BDMS) students. After more than a year of researching middle school daily schedules and course offerings, BDMS welcomes new courses designed to provide students more exposure to math, science, technology, and engineering concepts.

Specifically, Project Lead the Way (PLtW) courses have been added to all grade levels. These courses allow students to participate in hands-on, project based activities designed to incorporate problem-solving skills, teamwork, and real world applications. For example, at the 6th grade level, courses such as Flight and Space, Design and Modeling, are required for all students and include these types of skills and activities in the daily lessons.

At the 7th grade level, students are able to choose either Medical Detectives or Green Architecture as an elective course to compliment their overall class schedule. Eighth grade students are required to take two PLtW courses in the area of computer science. Students in these classes are designing computer apps and working on hardware design and software development. As one 8th grade student said recently about the class, “I like it because I get to make things, it’s fun, and it makes me think.” The 8th grade students can also choose Automation and Robotics as an elective course.

So far, the students and teachers are learning together during this first year of the new PLtW courses. In general, students and teachers are enjoying the new courses and teachers are seeing the benefits too. As Chris Huebel, 6th grade Flight and Space teacher, recently said, “students are definitely using their math and science skills and working together to problem-solve, and that’s really great to see.”

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