Wheelchairs and "Supershoes" - Introducing Transportation Engineering to 5th graders


Researchers from The Georgia Institute of Technology are woriking with 5th grade students at local Atlanta Public School Centennial Place Academy to introduce elements of Engineering such as measurements, data collections, data analysis, presentation, and group work focusing on examples from topics in Transportation Engineering.  The initiative, led by female engineers, will encourage the diverse student body found at Centennial Place (student body: 49.8% Female, 86% African American, 5% Caucasian, 2% Asian, 3% Hispanic, 4% Multi Racial, 71% low income as designated by federal standards) to consider Engineering as a fun and accessible field of study that applies to everyday life.  The experience gained through this initiative will be developed into modules that can be implemented at other elementary schools.

Research Objectives

  • Show students that Engineering is an accessible discipline that encompasses many aspects of everyday life and many different skill sets including mathematics, presentation and communication, critical thinking, organization and planning, and the ability to work in teams
  • Cultivate social responsibility among students through hands-on data collection experience that emphasizes the engineering and design considerations for people with disabilities
  • Encourage young women and minorities to consider Engineering as they continue their studies
  • Give students an overview of areas of transportation engineering including various measurement tools across different transportation modes
  • Showcase real-world applications of project-based learning, with an emphasis on students collecting and analyzing their own data
  • Provide volunteer opportunity for undergraduate and graduate level students, specifically reaching out to the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) at Georgia Tech



This workforce development project is funded by the Southeastern Transportation Research, Innovation, Development and Education Center (STRIDE), a University Transportation Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Our appreciation goes to the student volunteers from the Georgia Tech student chapters of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS).


Please send your comments and questions to Dr. Yanzhi "Ann" Xu yanzhi.xu@ce.gatech.edu .