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PennDOT Pilots TRAC™ and RIDES STEM program

September 25, 2019 12:00 AM
By: Jan Huzvar

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Under the guidance of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (PennDOT) Bureau of Maintenance and Operations' Justin Bruner and Matthew Kasunick, AASHTO's TRAC™ and RIDES was piloted in Pennsylvania.

TRAC™ (Transportation and Civil Engineering) & RIDES (Roadways In Developing Elementary Students ) are AASHTO's educational outreach programs, designed for use in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) classes.

The hands-on activities introduce students in grades K-12 to the work world of transportation and civil engineering and inspire them to consider careers in those fields. Both programs are aligned with national standards and are currently being aligned with Core Curriculum Standards of Learning.

An initial reach out to schools to gauge interest for a pilot of both TRAC™ and RIDES via email ultimately resulted in 35 teachers statewide taking the courses this past July at PennDOT's Transportation University.

Both programs received rave reviews.

"Most trainings give you the 'why' we should teach STEM, this training gives you the 'how' to teach STEM. It makes teaching STEM into a simple format that kids and teachers will love."

"This seminar was so practical. Coming away with all the materials was tremendous. I liked the connections made to math, science, technology, and transportation jobs. I can easily take this back to the afterschool program and utilize the activities immediately. The lessons are hands-on, fun and provide tons of learning opportunities. Thank you so much PennDOT!"

"The most helpful part of the class was trying the hands-on activities that students would engage with so that we can experience or identify some struggles the students might have."

As a result of the pilot's success, PennDOT will proudly offer TRAC™ and RIDES to teachers going forward.

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