Western Upper Michigan Science Center

K-12 Transportation Education


2013 Transportation Education Intermodal & Rail Transportation Lessons ~ Spring 2013

2013 Transportation Education Maritime Transportation Lessons ~ Spring 2013

Schedule & Registration
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Support from: National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) at University of Wisconsin-Madison http://cfire.wistrans.org


2013 Transportation Education Lessons ~ Spring 2013
Developed by Teacher Workshop Series Participants

Intermodal & Rail Transportation – Dr. Pasi Lautala,
Director, Rail Transportation Program, Michigan Technological University.
Different transportation modes for moving freight and people; rail transportation
in the U.S. & Michigan; a look at high speed rail for Detroit-Chicago corridor; new
technology in rail transportation.; and visits to local rail yard.


Trains by Joe Paxton and Linda Yousif, Detroit Public Schools


Lesson Overview: An interdisciplinary thematic unit on trains that includes four activity stations.
Math- children will group trains by their similar appearances, such as size, shape, color.
Science- children will push trains of different weights and measure with a 12 inch ruler which goes the furthest.
Social Studies- children use LEGO train sets to explore different areas on a U.S. traveling map.
Language Arts - children will read books about trains and use journals to write and draw pictures of trains.

Cars by Joe Paxton and Linda Yousif


Lesson Overview: Children will learn what a car is and how it moves by completing activities at five stations:
Writing Center - The teacher will read If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dasen, then children will write and color in pre-made books using teacher made sentence strips. “I have a red car.” “I have a blue car.”
Reading Center - children will explore five books about cars.
Math Center - Children use pre-cut shapes to build a car from construction paper.
Social Studies Center - Children use maps with match box cars.
Science Center - Children will use wooden cars with interchangeable wheels to determine which wheel works best.

Intermodal Rail Transportation in Michigan by Robertha Brown, Neinas Elementary School

Grade 3, Social Studies

Lesson Overview:  Students will become familiar with the current uses and changes in train operations over the past years, and create a train engine to display

Public Transportation in the City by Jiangrong Ouyang, Foreign Language Immersion & Cultural Studies School

Grade 4, Social Studies

Lesson Overview:  Through the whole class activity and small group discussions, students will be able to investigate different types of public transportation available in the city and the benefits and disadvantages of using public transportation.  Students will compare public transportation to individuals driving their own vehicles in the city. 


Traffic Signals Lesson by Wanda F. Bryant, science teacher, Henderson Academy, Detroit Public Schools
Grade 7, Science

Lesson Overview: Through a series of activities over 5-7 50-minute class periods, students examine the question “What would our world be like without traffic signals?” They will explore how traffic engineers work to design safe intersections, create hypotheses to evaluate traffic gridlock, evaluate road congestion using level of service (LOS),  explain the importance of traffic lights and safety, and research careers in transportation engineering.

Transportation and Friction Lesson by Therese Hayes, Detroit Public Schools
Grade 5, Science

Lesson Overview:  The two types of Intermodal land transportation, rail and trucking, along with the role that friction in transportation will be examined in this three-day lesson

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Last Update: March 31, 2013

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