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Transportation System-based Summer Academy for Teachers (RTP, Strand 4)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Research to Practice: STRAND 4 K-12 Engineering Resources: Best Practices in Curriculum Design (Part 2)

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1605.1 - 26.1605.18



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Paper Authors


Shashi S. Nambisan P.E. University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Shashi Nambisan is a Professor of Civil Engineering at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). Since 1989, he has led efforts on more than 165 research, education, and outreach projects that have addressed local, statewide, regional and national issues in transportation and infrastructure systems management related to policy, planning, operations, safety, and risk analysis. He has authored or co-authored more than 125 peer reviewed journal and conference publications. Along with his students and colleagues, he has made over 230 technical presentations at international, national, and regional conferences and at universities.
One of Professor Nambisan’s passions is the development of the future workforce, including efforts at the pre-college level. He enjoys working with students. For his contributions as an educator, researcher, and leader, Professor Nambisan has received several awards and honors. Among the awards and honors he has received is a proclamation by the Governor of Nevada designating January 31, 2007 as the “Professor Shashi Nambisan Day” in recognition of his leadership role in and contributions to enhancing transportation safety.

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Jennifer Richards University of Tennessee

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Dr. Jennifer Richards, a former middle school teacher, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UTIA with expertise in curriculum design, teacher PD models, science outreach, and program evaluation. Dr. Richards developed and directs the Hands On: Real-world Lessons for Middle School Classrooms program, which has served over 34,000 students and 200 teachers across eleven states. She has recently been recognized for excellence in STEM education with the J.E. Moss Achievement Award for Excellence in Research, and by her appointment as a 2014-2015 Center for Transportation Research Faculty Fellow.

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Wenshu Li The University of Tennessee

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Wenshu is a third year doctoral student in the Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement program at the University of Tennessee (UTK). She is also enrolled in the Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics Program (IGSP) at UTK. She is now a graduate research assistant of Civil and Environmental Engineering department at the University of Tennessee. Her primary research interests include evaluation and assessment in Engineering Education in both K-12 and college settings, knowledge discovery in datasets (KDD), and psychometrics.

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Transportation Systems Based Summer Academy for TeachersABSTRACT This paper summarizes efforts related to and outcomes from the development andimplementation of a 3-day long Transportation systems based summer academy for teachers. Italso includes lessons learned and suggestions for the adoption of this program in other settings. For the Academy, teachers (participants) attended a 3-day core program which wasdesigned around best practices identified in the literature for teacher professional development.Twenty teachers participated in the academy. They received Professional Development Hourscredit as well as a nominal stipend. The Academy included brief “in-class” overviews oftransportation systems, logistics and supply chain management, and how these related to keySTEM concepts followed by 2 days of “site” visits to a variety of transportation system settings.These were combined with seminar style discussions of how teachers’ experiences on these fieldtrips related to STEM content standards. This case-based approach provides real-world conceptsto formulate lessons and learning experiences for students. The literature documents theimportance of such authentic learning approaches to foster deep learning of concepts andmethods, especially in STEM disciplines. Based on these experiences, the participants work collaboratively to developtransportation themed instructional units for use in classrooms. They are provided guidance bycurriculum design experts and peer teachers to develop authentic learning experiences thatsupport established curricular skills and standards in STEM disciplines and other subject areas.The participants also were engaged in short work sessions to promote collaboration and inter-disciplinarity of lesson planning. Instruction on curriculum development and mini-lessons oneffective instructional strategies for generating high levels of active student engagement relatedto STEM disciplines were woven throughout the Academy. Participants were asked to use the 5-E inquiry model for developing their lesson plans. The 5-E model divides the learningexperience into five stages: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. Of the 20 original participants, nine were selected as a cohort to develop high-qualitytransportation themed lesson plans for online publication to enable broad distribution globally.This cohort is presently working collaboratively with a transportation engineering professor, acurriculum development professor, and peer mentors to fully develop lessons, field test them intheir classrooms, and to modify them for online publication. The group will reconvene inDecember for a 3 hour session to share implementation experiences, review assessment data, andprovide peer feedback on how to further improve the lesson plans. The presentation at theconference in June 2015 will include results from these efforts as well. A pre-test and a post-test were administered to the participants in the Academy to assessthe extent of their awareness and knowledge of key concepts about transportation systems. Themaximum possible score was 32 for each test. Responses were received from 19 of the 20participants. The results show that the overall average of the participants increased from 21.3 to29.5 from the pre-test to the post-test reflecting a 39 percent improvement. Further, the resultsshow that the participants’ awareness / knowledge improved by between 9 percent and 61percent across the questions on the test.

Nambisan, S. S., & Richards, J., & Li, W. (2015, June), Transportation System-based Summer Academy for Teachers (RTP, Strand 4) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24941

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