The purpose of the Multi-Modal Transportation Curriculum and Learning jet is to help Minnesota students succeed in school, mobilize future talent, and cultivate a workforce that is prepared to meet the transportation challenges of the future.
- To increase student proficiency in STEM subjects, with emphasis on girls and minority students
- To enhance the teaching of STEM subjects in Minnesota PK-12 schools
- To provide students with a learning experience that connects STEM subjects to exciting, real-world applications
- To foster development of confidence in students’ ability to succeed in STEM subjects 13
- To introduce students to the many different careers available in transportation industries, with a special emphasis on providing women and minority role models
- To build the capacity of Minnesota schoolteachers to implement transportation lessons and activities in their classrooms
The curriculum creates a standards-based PK – 12 curriculum covering the six modes of transportation The MM Transportation Curriculum will provide a model innovative and engaging program to stimulate all Minnesota students’ interest in science and technology through a transportation-centered curriculum. Covering six forms of transportation, Aeronautics, Freight, Highways/Traffic, Rail, Waterways, Bike/Pedestrian, the curriculum is innovative in its use of the everyday experience of transportation to bring classroom learning alive. A curriculum focusing on transportation is an effective method of inspiring students in the preK-12 grades about science and engineering, and fostering interest in school/academic classes in general. The appeal of transportation as a topic reaches across skill and interest levels. For instance, students who are already inclined to math and science will be drawn to the civil engineering aspect; students who could be interested in STEM topics but are not because of the social environment (e.g., stereotypes that girls are not good at math or peer pressure that being a geek is not cool) will become engaged by real-world activities related to trains, boats, or what makes one mountain bike faster than another, for example.
Using these six modes of transportation, the curriculum will cover technologies such as structures and materials, propulsion, suspension, as well as guidance, control, and support systems; system processes, including inputs to transportation systems model, process and resources, outputs and impacts, feedback systems; and social and political aspects, such as 14 decision-making models for transportation, political, economic, environmental, social/technical influences; design briefs and activities examples. In addition to STEM education, the learning activities will be structured to empower student’s capabilities as problem solvers and team players. Activities for Grades PK-12 students would be tailored to the state curriculum and would also tie the knowledge gained in school to its practical implication.
Elements of the curriculum include (a) pre-lessons for teachers; (b) learning goals for each transportation mode; (c) lessons for primary (K-3), intermediate (4-6), middle school (7-9), and high school (10 – 12) levels; (d) follow-up lessons (for later classroom use); and (e) activities for the lessons. Since a key objective is to encourage interest and facilitate success of our minority and female students, lessons will incorporate pedagogical practices with proven success, such as experiential learning, ongoing feedback, teamwork, and real-life scenarios. In addition, test questions will be developed for each lesson, which will be used for pre- and posttests to assess whether learning has occurred as a result of the curriculum.
Minnesota teachers will be able to access the MM Transportation Curriculum online to use in their classrooms. They may also use it in conjunction with visits to the Learning Jet. Teachers will schedule their class for a half- or full-day program, and they can request the program cover particular STEM topics, a specific form of transportation that their students are studying, or even a certain lesson that the teacher has identified by searching the curriculum online. The day’s activities will then be tailored to meet these requests. For example, if a teacher is doing a unit on understanding radio waves, students may use the jet’s radios to dial in the frequency and listen to the air traffic controller, and then, on a different frequency, listen to the weather information for their location.