UF K-12 Workforce Development (2013)
PIs: Nina Barker, UFTI/T2 and Leslie Washburn, P.E., UFTI
The University of Florida STRIDE effort will participate in the four K-12 outreach activities and
propose another activity. We will work with local engineering firms and alumni to subsidize
these outreach activities whenever possible with sponsorship and donations, which can be
counted as STRIDE match funds. Student chapter volunteer opportunities will be available for
each of the activities below.
LEGO® Robot Vehicle Lesson Plans for Secondary Education: An existing “Introduction to
Transportation” curriculum for students in grades 5-8 is available to the STRIDE consortium for
use in respective local schools, afterschool programs, summer camps, Boys and Girls Clubs,
Girl and Boys Scouts, etc. Students will learn various fundamentals of Transportation
Engineering and how the use of advanced technology is integral to solving current and future
transportation problems. They will also learn how much transportation affects the quality of life
in our society and touches safety, livability, and economic competitiveness.
Existing laptops, robots, curriculum and travel cases will be utilized in combination with the
activity Workshops for Introducing Middle School and High School Girls to Engineering
discussed below. A separate contract for workshops has already been awarded. No funds are
being requested for this effort.
A second set of eight robots will be purchased in order to address the demand for a workshop for
elementary school children to design and build a robot. The first set will continue to be utilized
as pre-built robots for the middle school program as it is not feasible to rebuild each robot before
class. Curriculum will be developed for a pilot workshop that will accommodate up to sixteen
students. The curriculum will continue to introduce transportation and engineering to students. A
registration fee will be charged and/or sponsorships secured to cover facility and instructor fees.
Manuals will need to be printed. Funding is requested for equipment only, curriculum
development will be conducted by Leslie Washburn with her STRIDE appointment.
A portable demonstration table for the LEGO® Robots will be constructed to be utilized for
student workshops, conference demonstrations and community events.
Transportation Career Day: A Transportation Career Day will be designed for high school-aged
students to introduce them, and possibly their parents/caregivers, and school counselors to
A one day workshop will be held on the University of Florida campus in the fall of 2014 for 12
to16 high school students. The workshop will include a lecture, lab tours, lunch, hands-on
activity and competition. High school sophomores and juniors will be encouraged to attend. An
additional two hour traffic simulation workshop will be held in conjunction with the Center for
Precollegiate Education and Training in January 2014. Funding for materials and lunch for
participants is requested. The workshop organization will be handled by Leslie Washburn’s
STRIDE appointment and student volunteers.
Family Engineering Events: UF will host this informal engineering education program that
actively engages elementary-aged children and their families in fun, hands-on engineering
activities at local elementary schools. Family Engineering activities are designed for children
aged 7-12 and their parents, or other adult caregiver, to be actively engaged as a team. By
showing interest and exploring engineering with their children, parents and other caregivers can
positively influence a child’s attitude about engineering, as well as encourage their children to
consider a possible career in engineering.
Family Engineering Night will be held at two or more local elementary schools with assistance
from the ITE and WTS student chapters. The number of students reached at each event varies
from 60-120. Equipment for extra activities will be added to the supplies to increase the variety
for repeat participants and replenish disposable materials. Again, Leslie Washburn will organize
the events under her STRIDE appointment.
Workshops for Introducing Middle School and High School Girls to Engineering: Female middle
school and high school students will participate in workshops to introduce them to career
opportunities in engineering and transportation. Experiential hands-on activities, speakers, role
models, and mentoring opportunities will serve to engage and inspire. Workshops support the
Transportation You Initiative (http://www.transportationyou.org/) developed through a
partnership between the USDOT and Women Transportation Seminar (WTS.)
Many young people look to mentors and role models when contemplating career choices. Girls
may not consider a career in engineering due to the lack of female engineering role models and
mentors available to them. These workshops will show participants that women can indeed be
successful in engineering. No funds are requested, UF has another contract funding this activity
SIMCity: The objective of this project is to develop transportation specific modules for middle
school-aged students utilizing the video game SimCity (www.simcity.com) to foster interest in the
transportation profession as a career choice.
Flexible modules will be developed and used for afterschool programs, classrooms, homeschoolers,
and camps. The secondary education students will be exposed to computers, urban and regional
planning, mathematics, civil and transportation engineering. During these lessons, students will learn
fundamentals of transportation as well as how to solve current and future transportation problems.
Classes would range from ten to twenty middle school students. Curriculum development will be
conducted by Leslie Washburn with her STRIDE appointment.