Transportation Institute for High School Educators

It all began in the summer of 2015, when 12 high school instructors from across Iowa explored a broad range of educational activities. Workshop facilitator Shannon McLaughlin (high school physics teacher, Norwalk, Iowa) was brought on to guide participants in relevant content and pedagogy to help them gain a better understanding of transportation concepts associated with physics, supplemented with presentations from staff and faculty from the Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State University.

Now in 2024, the continuing goal of the Transportation Institute is for teachers to use this knowledge to integrate transportation-related activities into their classrooms and after-school programs. Participating teachers are given pre- and post-content knowledge tests about the goals of science, engineering, and technology; historical examples of science, engineering, and technology; and reasons why students might be confused about the goals of science, math, engineering, and technology. Educators scored significantly higher on the post-program test compared to their pre-program scores.

Transportation Institute teachers in 2019
Transportation Institute teachers in 2019
Program Description

The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and Iowa State University’s Institute for Transportation (InTrans) are offering high school physical science and physics teachers the opportunity to participate in a three-week modeling workshop with transportation related engineering projects.

The workshop participants will

  • Learn effective strategies in Modeling Instruction developed by Arizona State University
  • Plan and carry out investigations, argue from evidence, and create and evaluate models
  • Develop classroom strategies to help students develop skills consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Participate in seminars with transportation experts from the Iowa DOT and InTrans
  • Collaborate with other educators to develop modeling based and transportation-themed lessons to use in the classroom
Program Highlights
  • New in 2024: A portion of the three-week course will be offered online. Accepted applicants will hear from the instructor on the arrangement that works best for the most participants.
  • Mileage will be paid for those who commute.
  • Housing provided in Ames free of charge for those who cannot commute.
  • 5 license renewal credits through Heartland AEA or up to 5 graduate credits from University of the Pacific available.
  • The American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) offers all participants 1 year’s worth of access to online resources related to course work.
Application Form

  • Please list all degrees received (major, institution, and date).
  • Please outline your teaching experience, e.g., subjects and grades taught, schools you have worked at, etc.
  • Please write a short statement of purpose. This statement should provide reviewers with a portrait of who you are as a teacher, a brief teaching philosophy, and why you wish to participate in this program. What is your approach to fostering interest and ability in science among young people? What are your goals as a teacher and as a professional? How (specifically) will this help you reach your goals?
  • Please provide the name, title, and contact information of at least one colleague to serve as a reference. It is preferable to include two references, one from a current building administrator and one from a teaching colleague.