For the first time at Running Brushy Middle School, Gateway/Project Lead the Way is being offered as an elective to seventh- and eighth-graders. Gateway coursework encourages student-led, problem, and activity-based reward learning. Students are able to earn high school credit for completion of the course.
Tashia Mossman teaches Gateway at Running Brushy MS. She said the course gives students the opportunity to be introduced to topics that are not a normal part of their core classes’ curriculum, challenging them in new ways.
“A lot of the students in Gateway find school to be pretty easy, it just comes naturally to them,” Mossman said. “Whereas for Gateway, they’re not guided through our projects and activities; it’s more open-ended. We give them just a little prompt and say, ‘Here’s the situation. Do something with it. Make it happen. Solve this problem,’ and they take it and run with it.”
Currently, the students are learning to work on robotic mechanisms. The project begins with the students learning to build from gears, and later they will all choose a unique automation to learn to program.
“They’ve all chosen something different,” Mossman said. “They blow me away. Some kids are creating tiny amusement parks, some kids are making cats whose tails wag back and forth as they roll across the floor. It’s really cool.”
Next year, Running Brushy MS will offer Gateway 2 to students who have completed Gateway 1. The Gateway 2 course is customizable to the school’s preference, with six different modules to choose from, including Medical Detectives and Green Architecture. Although not required, Mossman says the Gateway courses offered in middle schools at Leander ISD are a good introduction to the high school Project Lead the Way courses.