Inspiring Transportation Careers with K-12 Curriculum Activities
Shortages in the transportation industry have resulted in an increasing need to be able to attract new employees. Two methods of outreach that have been successful at increasing awareness and interest in transportation careers in local youth have been working directly with students and training the teachers. This project worked directly with students by conducting outreach events that involved either hosting a table at a large science event where students would stop for short periods of time to complete the activities or working with a group of students for a designated block of time for consecutive days. Hands-on activities such as toothpick and gumdrop bridges, clothespin cars, and wind-up cars were explored, as well as demonstrations involving gears, a gyroscope, or a pull-back rubber band car. The activities available at each event were chosen on the basis of the duration of time researchers would have with each student and the number of students expected to be present. Engaging the age range of K-12 proved difficult with a single activity, as younger students took more interest in activities with continuous guidance from the researchers, whereas older students were more invested if they were able to complete the activity with minimal, or no, guidance. Both preferred hands-on activities over demonstrations. A drawback to the outreach events was that few middle or high school aged students were present. In future research, one might consider exploring the influence of self-efficacy on students’ performance, how gender relates to self-efficacy and learning, and outreach events aimed at teachers rather than students.
The following license files are associated with this item: