Middle School Outreach Materials

Below you'll find materials developed by researchers at The Georgia Institute of Technology for active learning outreach programing with middle school students relating to Transportation Engineering. The materials were originally developed for programming with a metro Atlanta public school that serves a racially and economically diverse student population with the majority of students falling into lower income brackets and minority populations.

The modules are designed to be completed over muliple sessions that can be spread out over many days or in a condensed period of time.  Involvemnet in the overviews and single or multiple modules should show students that Engineering is an accessible discipline that utilizes many skillsets that they already possess and encompasses multiple aspects of their lives.

General Materials

Travel Diary Module

In this module, students fill out individual travel diaries by remembering trips they took in the last few days. They use standard paper survey instruments and look at smart phone electronic travel diary data collected with second by second GPS tracking and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of paper versus electronic travel diaries.

Mode Choice Module

Students estimate their home location (aggregated by neighborhood for privacy purposes), and look at their home and school location on a map. Students create a database of the primary mode of transportation between home and school for members of the group. Research volunteers developed mode choice models for home to school trips using distance as an independent variable. The students can see visualize the data and discuss their interpretations of graphed models as well as make predications about what would happen if more students moved closer to school or if we developed “super shoes” to allow people to walk twice as fast.

  • Centennial School District Example map

Pedestrian Accessibility Module

The goal of this module is to introduce students to the importance of providing easy access for all users of the transportation network, particularly pedestirans and the disabled population. To meet this goal, the module focuses on students taking measurements and using a non-motorized wheelchair and completing a series of everyday tasks at different locations around the school. The students were able to observe and take note of real-world examples of some of the ease and/or difficulties that the disabled population is exposed to on a daily basis.

Visual Complexity Module

This module introduced students design elements of transportation safety. The module may begin  a roundtable discussion with the students about their own expereinces andwhat they believe are the greatest risks and distractions in the roadway environment. This enabls students to relate to safety issues in roadway environments. The module then uses images from actual research studies at Georgia Tech for students to create a database of their perception of safety.

Traffic Engineering Module

The objectives of this module were to introduce the field of traffic Engineering, discuss the significance of traffic engineering in daily life, introduce common vehicle count data collection techniques, and  apply data to probelm solving in traffic Engineering.  The module includes hands-on activities using today's technology such as tablets and computer-based traffic simulation.