As robotics have gained popularity as a teaching tool, the University of Florida Transportation Institute has developed a curriculum for middle school age students utilizing LEGO®robotics to foster interest in transportation engineering as a career choice. These flexible modules can be used in afterschool programs, classrooms, homeschooling and at camps. The modules focus on the three major areas of the STRIDE consortium: safety, livable communities and economic competitiveness using a significant area of the future of transportation—intelligent vehicles (the programmable robot)—as a learning tool. The lesson plans include:
- What do Transportation Engineers do?
- LEGO® Education Software Tutorials for an Intelligent Vehicle
- Congestion Mitigation Programming Exercise
- Following a Route and Calculating Travel Time Exercise
- Pedestrian and Vehicle Detection Exercise.
The five lesson plans can be downloaded here
Middle-school students are at the ideal age to be introduced to this level of transportation engineering, because the math and science curriculum provides the support tools to understand more complex concepts. Middle school students participate in science fairs and in math and science clubs. By sparking an interest in and creating awareness for transportation engineering and engineering in general, these activities will help influence a student’s choice for high school classes, college, and eventually, a career.