Wheelchairs and “Supershoes” – Introducing Transportation Engineering to Middle School Students
Georgia Tech researchers and students are working with 5th and 6th graders at a local public elementary school to expose students to transportation engineering data collection, analysis, research design, critical thinking and planning.
About Centennial Place Academy
- 86% African American, 5% Caucasian, 3% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 4% Multi Racial
- 71% of students are eligible for the free/reduced lunch program.
- Student population comes from the Centennial Place neighborhood and includes two shelters.
- First conversion charter in the Atlanta Public School System.
The partnership kicked off in summer 2014 with a large event that reached over 80 fifth grade students and involved 10 graduate students and researchers. The students were given an exciting transportation presentation followed by hands-on activities, including mode choice mapping and modeling, accessibility challenges using wheelchairs, and paper and electronic travel diary activities.
|(Georgia Tech students and researchers at opening session presentation with Centennial fifth graders)|
Hands-On Research Sessions
The follow-up sessions occurred in fall 2014 and were conducted with 20 sixth graders who chose to participate after the opening session. The students were split into groups and had graduate students assigned to mentor them in the following modules:
- Module 1 – Mode Choice: Discussed transportation mode choices and useed class as a sample to map and analyze a full dataset.
- Module 2- Accessibility: Students explored accessibility through mobility activities as wheelchair users.
- Module 3- Traffic Engineering: Introduced the technique of vehicle counting; demonstrate its application in traffic engineering.
- Module 4- Roadway Environments: Introduced students to perceived complexity of roadway environments for all users.
|(Students took turns using wheelchairs to test the accessibility of labs, libraries and classrooms at their school)|
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Engineering Day at the Cade Museum was held July 9th, 2013
|The University of Florida Transportation Institute has teamed with the Cade Museum of Gainesville to present Engineering Day. Students learned about careers in engineering and worked cooperatively to construct a roller coaster with one 360 degree loop or spiral, one hill and one 45-90 degree turn. As they discovered the relationship between gravity, mass, potential and kinetic energy, students experienced challenges to construct a bridge using straws and paperclips. Students applied knowledge of weight, torque, force and compression. Students also built a mousetrap-powered vehicle that is powered by the energy of a wound up mousetrap’s string.|
Exploring Careers in Transportation Engineering was held on October 12, 2013 on the University of Florida campus
|Spend the day controlling a real live traffic signal! Experience the excitement of simulating traffic flow! Interacting with faculty, undergraduate and graduate students from the college of engineering transportation program in lab settings and fun games will help you learn about the variety of careers available in the field of transportation. Teams end the activities by competing for top honors playing “Transportation Jeopardy.”
Lunch was provided and University of Florida students were available to answer questions and help guide career decisions.
|10:00 am -10:15 am||Registration/Sign-in|
|10:15 am – 10:30 am||Dr. Kondyli – Welcome, What is Transportation Engineering|
|10:30 am – 11:00 am||University of Florida Student Panel, What you need to Know|
|11:00 am – 11:10 am||Break|
|11:10 am – 11:30 am||Signals Lab Tour|
|11:30 am – 12:30 pm||Provided Lunch – small group discussions facilitated by UF students.|
|12:30 pm–2:30 pm||Hands-on Traffic Simulation Exercise in Computer Lab|
|2:30 pm– 2:40 pm||Break|
|2:40 pm –-3:30 pm||Jeopardy Game|
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FIU Engineering Expo 2014 was hosted at the FIU Engineering Center on February 21, 2014
Over 1,400 students from Miami-Dade County elementary, middle and high schools attended the annual FIU Engineering Expo. The students participated in “engineering immersion” activities to learn about different engineering fields in a fun and interactive way. The FIU ITE student chapter helped organize the event and served as tour guides.
|(High school students listening to Vice President Shahadat Iqbal’s presentation in IITS lab)|
As part of the traditional Engineering Expo, students hosted a special series of presentations and demonstrations in the Integrated Intelligent Transportation Systems (IITS) Lab and the Driving Simulation Lab. Members presented interesting transportation engineering applications, including 3D traffic simulation shows, configuration of a traffic management system and a test drive of our driver simulator.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Georgia Tech Career Day” tab_id=”1490041183445-3d598e37-de6e”][vc_column_text]As urban and rural areas continue to see traffic growth, the need for more transportation engineers is also growing. The profession is losing over half of the state agency transportation engineers and many more local agency professionals as baby boomers retire. The TRB Special Report 275—The Workforce Challenge reviews some of the needs. This shortage has increased demand on universities to work harder at recruiting more and brighter students to the field.
In order to ensure that young people are attracted to the transportation jobs of the future, STRIDE is working to develop local, state and national partnerships throughout the transportation and education communities while collaborating on outreach programs within the southeast region consortium.
Transportation Career Days are being held at the University of Florida (UF) and Florida International University (FIU) to introduce high school students, their parents and school counselors to transportation. Social media will be used to continue to engage participating students in future transportation research activities and transportation-related events. Georgia Tech is working with middle school students and teachers to expose them to transportation engineering.
LEGO® Robot Vehicle Lesson Plans for Secondary Education
North Carolina State University (NCSU), and UF are offering a LEGO® Robot Vehicle Lesson Plan for Secondary Education. The “Introduction to Transportation” curriculum, which was developed at UF, is offered to students in grades 5-8. The lessons contain the fundamentals of Transportation Engineering, which will teach students how advanced technology is integral to solving transportation problems. Students will also learn how transportation affects the quality of life in our society. The lessons also contain elements of safety, livability and economic competitiveness as related to transportation.
Family Engineering Night
Mississippi State University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, FIU and the UF are hosting Family Engineering Nights (FEN) at local elementary schools. FEN is an informal engineering education program that actively engages elementary-age children and their families in fun, hands-on engineering activities. Family involvement in FEN is key to the program’s success. At these events, children may engage in the activities with a parent, grandparent, older sibling, aunt, uncle, mentor or other important adult in their lives, as they explore and solve challenges together.
Engineers play an essential role in our designed world, yet many people are unaware of what engineers actually do. We can change this for future generations by providing positive experiences with engineering at an early age.
Engineers Change the World
NCSU and UF are collaborating with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), and the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) to offer engineering, particularly transportation engineering, as a viable career option for girls. This project plans to use a series of one-day workshops targeted at sophomore and junior high school level girls in North Carolina and Florida. Experiential hands-on activities, speakers, role models and mentoring opportunities will serve to engage and inspire.
UFTI developed and piloted a SimCity project to develop transportation related modules for middle school-aged students using a SimCity (simcity.com) computer game to foster interest in transportation as a career choice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][/vc_column][/vc_row]