June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.962.1 - 15.962.11
Engaging Transportation Engineering Activities for Middle School and High School Students Abstract
In summer 2009, the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted the Technology, Engineering and Computing (TEC) Camp for rising seventh and eighth grade girls. The purpose of the camp is to expose middle school students to a wide range of engineering disciplines early in their educations in order to inspire campers to consider college majors and careers in these important fields. Three distinct activities were created to introduce the young women to the field of Transportation Engineering.
The purpose of the first activity was to help students recognize tradeoffs that individuals make when determining which mode of transportation to take for a long trip. Each student was asked to act as a travel agent and determine which mode (plane, car, bus, or train) a family of four would take from Atlanta, Georgia to Orlando, FL. Costs, greenhouse gas emissions, travel time durations, and trip schedules were provided for each mode. Students completed calculations to quantify tradeoffs and engaged in a group discussion to help capture personal preferences that were not captured in calculations.
The purpose of the second activity was to expose the students to problems that plague transportation engineers. Graduate students from Georgia Tech facilitated the discussion by posing questions, giving campers an opportunity to ponder the questions themselves, and then asking for suggestions in a discussion forum. The questions posed encouraged students to think about how to mitigate noise pollution, implement traffic calming measures in neighborhoods, improve safety for pedestrians, encourage carpooling, etc.
The purpose of the third activity was to illustrate the different considerations of a transportation planner. A large map of a transportation network, which included roads, a trolley line, a bus line, and a train line, was utilized in the activity. A home, daycare facility, school, and two workplaces were placed on the map. Students were instructed to consider a family of four, where each family member had to get from home to one of the locations on the map using the one automobile available, as well as the public transportation options. Students worked in small groups to figure out how to logistically get each individual to their destination. Through this exercise they recognized the importance of individuals having access to public transit.
These activities were more recently shared with 30 Atlanta area high school math teachers during a Center of Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) program. They were also used to introduce a classroom of high school seniors, who are part of an engineering magnet program at a local high school, to transportation engineering.
In summer 2009, the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted the Technology, Engineering and Computing (TEC) Camp for rising seventh and eighth grade girls. The weeklong TEC camp is designed to expose campers to a wide range of engineering disciplines early in their educations
Luken, B., & Mumbower, S. (2010, June), Poster: Engaging Transportation Engineering Activities For Middle School And High School Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16639
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