Educational Initiatives at Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology is involved in several K-12 outreach initiatives in the Metro Atlanta area. Transportation researchers and students at Georgia Tech strongly believe it is important to be involved in the larger community and attract young talent and ideas to the dynamic and challenging world of transportation engineering. These programs and initiatives are especially important for providing support and contact with members of underrepresented groups in transportation engineering such as women and minorities.

(View a research poster discussing educational efforts at member universities from the 2014 GDOT Poster Session.)

 

NCTSPM's Summer Programs

To facilitate the involvement of innovative, transportation-related standards-aligned curricula in classrooms, NCTSPM at Georgia Tech partnered with Chamblee Middle School, Forest Park High School, and Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Math, and Computing (CEISMC) to host the Georgia Tech Summer 2013 STEM Program and the Georgia Tech Summer 2014 STEM Program.  In conjunction with the Georgia Intern Fellowships for Teachers ( GIFT ) program, three outstanding teachers selected from the Atlanta area led two summer camps to help teach prospective STEM-oriented students more about the fields such as engineering, computer and application programing, and transportation engineering, with applications across multiple STEM fields. 

 

Summer 2014

In July of 2014, the Georgia Tech Summer 2014 STEM Program was held again, partnering with Chamblee Middle School and Forest Park High School, with Williams and De Veaux returning to lead the program. They worked with groups of 20 students in the sixth through eighth grades, combining last year's two, one-week camps into one two-week camp with two sessions.

Students learned about app development through the camp, and applying transportation principles to app development. At the end of the week, they developed a smartphone application through the Construct 2 software, following the theme of "Snowpocalypse". 

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Photo Credit: Cindee De Veaux

They also learned about topics within the field of civil engineering. To help students learn about transportation, several graduate students in civil engineering gave talks to the class. Bing Zhang presented her work on how Facebook impacts personal travel, Aaron Greenwood presented on safety, James Anderson talked about traffic operations, Atiyya Shaw presented on the role of visual complexity in engineering, and Stefanie Brodie gave a presentation on transportation planning and equity. Students also toured the GDOT Traffic Management Center. 

At the conclusion of the camp, curricula will be developed by the teachers and participants for use by others, teaching application development as applied to transportation. 

 

Summer 2013

This year’s teachers selected to participate in the GIFT Program were Art Williams, a mathematics teacher at Forest Park High School, Cindee de Veaux, a mathematics teacher at Chamblee Middle School, and Richard Tierney, a physical science teacher at Chamblee Middle School. Through the GIFT program, teachers are provided with paid summer STEM internships in industry workplaces and university laboratories. These teachers from the Summer 2013 program had the opportunity to interact with researchers and graduate students in the transportation engineering program at Georgia Tech. They learned about the transportation research and education offered at Tech and engaged in discussions about traffic engineering and transportation activities in relation to current issues. As a component of the GIFT program, in conjunction with NCTSPM, Williams, de Veaux, and Tierney acted as facilitators and leaders of the two summer camps hosted by Georgia Tech.

                          

From left to right: Tierney, De Veaux, and Williams

These camps, Advanced App Development with Transportation Systems Engineering and LEGO Robotics Camp: Transportation Systems Engineering, hosted rising tenth through twelfth grade students and seventh through ninth grade students, respectively.

The first combines transportation engineering and smartphone application development to allow students a firsthand chance to make an appreciable difference in the world of civil engineering and traffic management, as they collaborate to develop applications with real-world usefulness.

The second, LEGO-focused camp mirrored the Research and Innovative Technology Administrative (RITA)-funded LEGO Robotics Vehicle Lesson Plans for Secondary Education program at the University of Florida. It was built around the intersection of transportation and LEGO robotics, and allowed students to competitively design new vehicles of transportation and test them against one another. Additionally, these lesson plans further inspired Chamblee Middle School Principal Cynthia Jackson to implement a similar program at her school, making use of robotics materials already in use. Chamblee Middle School’s new academic focus on transportation brings additional reach to the partnership, providing an ideal test bed for newly developed activities.

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Images courtesy of Center for Education Integrating Science, Math and Computing (CEISMC)

Upon the completion of both camps and the GIFT Summer 2013 program, each was taken to be an enormous success; the teachers, though working with different areas of study and students at different schools, shared a common bond love for mathematics, science, and engineering education. All were pleasantly surprised by the students, whose performance surpassed expectations.

 

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