PLTW Tours the Navy’s Most Technologically Advanced Ship

  • November, 2016 
    Written by: Marquart Doty, Western High School, City Schools Student Media Team 
    USS Zumwalt
    On October 11, Western’s Project Lead The Way (PLTW) students toured the USS Zumwalt, the US Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced ship, during Fleet Week.

    The USS Zumwalt is named for Elmo Zumwalt Jr., who called for equality for all and equal opportunity in the Navy, a testament to how far our Armed Forces have grown.

    Guided by two female Navy engineers, a Tomahawk technician and an information system technician, girls from PLTW learned more about women in the Navy  and the impact of engineering on our world.

    PLTW is an AP+ engineering pathway that teaches students problem solving skills, engineering, and design through hands on experience. On the trip, students participated in two engineering challenges. The first was a buoyancy challenge that consisted of making a large foil ball, letting it float, and then crumpling it smaller and letting it float again to test how surface area affects buoyancy. The second challenge was making a lava lamp out of water, oil, and alka seltzer, watching the bubbles from the mixture move around when alka seltzer is added to it in order to test how density may affect the ship.


    Western PLTW students were especially inspired by the two female guides. The information system technician said “the

     Navy’s goal is to be representative of the nation’s workforce, working to have women in positions in at least 32% of the Navy”. She said that the Navy wants to “understand that women work and progress differently, and use their innovativeness to change policies” and that the Navy is all about “camaraderie, learning and integrating everything you do”, which is what PLTW is trying to teach.

    Taylor Hill, a Western PLTW student, was especially intrigued by the crew and how life on the ship worked, and said that “it takes a whole lot just to move around” but thought that “life on the ship seemed wonderful”.