Enka Intermediate students work on a project while an A.C. Reynolds High student smiles.
Before Winter Break, A.C. Reynolds High School (ACRHS) students showed Enka Intermediate School students just how fun STEM projects can be.

On Dec. 12, Reynolds High Project Lead the Way (PLTW) students and Engineering Club members challenged EIS fifth graders to use marshmallows and toothpicks to build either a tower that could support the highest marshmallow or a bridge that could hold two pounds while staying under a set weight limit. The high schoolers facilitated and mentored fifth graders at tables throughout the EIS media center.
“They’re using the same techniques engineers use to solve real-world problems,” said Reynolds High PLTW teacher Claude Charron. “You have to meet certain specifications while keeping within construction constraints. So you have to plan, research, design, test, fail, redesign, and test again. And, like today, our PLTW students also focus on community service.”
Offered at every grade level in Buncombe County Schools, PLTW classes focus on hands-on learning and the integration of academics and engaging activities. They encourage students to grow their collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
“Kids like building things, and we want to encourage them to keep exploring and learning the processes,” said Emma, an ACRHS freshman facilitator. “There’s a competitive aspect for the kids, and for us, we get to learn how to teach and how to lead a team.”