K-12 Programs

Transportation is increasingly competing with other industries for new entrants to the workforce.

Yet transportation careers can be “invisible” to young people. Consequently, it is important to reach out early and in a variety of ways to K–12 students, parents, and educators to interest them in and prepare them for transportation careers.

Teaching in the Fast Lane Workshop for Elementary Teachers

Since 2015, Fast Lane has continued to introduce teachers to engineering concepts and professions with the goal of equipping them with the tools to enrich their classrooms and raise awareness and enthusiasm among young students about engineering. Teachers participate in hands-on activities based on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadways in Developing Elementary Students (RIDES) kit. Teachers also visit actual bridge testing sites and hear from visiting Iowa Department of Transportation and InTrans speak­ers on the importance of an engineering education.

Photograph of teachers at Teaching in the Fast Lane 2022
Teachers during bridge-building activity at 2022 workshop

Transportation Institute for High School Educators

This week-long summer program, offered since 2015, helps Iowa teachers to gain the tools necessary to stimulate team building, critical thinking, and interest in the transportation field. Teachers participate in transportation-related activities aimed at helping them to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics into the their classrooms and after-school programs.

Photograph of teachers at Transportation Institute 2022
High school teachers working on STEM activity during 2022 workshop

Ready, Set, Build: Central Iowa’s Bridge Building Challenge

This Bridge Building Challenge sets teams against the clock, as they only have three hours to build a bridge out of provided materials (e.g., Popsicle sticks, wooden dowels, masking tape, glue, string, and poster board).

Throughout the competition, students and families have the opportunity to interact with engineering professionals from the Iowa Department of Transportation and Iowa State University’s InTrans and learn more about bridges and other transportation-related topics.

This annual event is sponsored in-part by the Iowa Department of Transportation and aims to inspire future engineers to “build” their dreams.

Photograph of bridge load testing at Ready, Set, Build 2022
Bridge load testing at 2022 competition

GO! Further Workshop for High School Students

As part of an on-going partnership between the Midwest Transportation Center and ISU’s Office of Precollegiate Program for Talented and Gifted (OPPTAG), high school students learn about the world of engineering and take part in hands-on activities to develop leadership and teamwork skills. To ensure diversity, the MTC and OPPTAG collaborate with ISU’s Science Bound program, which partners with schools to increase the number of ethnically diverse Iowa students pursuing STEM careers, and with the Program for Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE).

MTC Go! Further Program
GO! Further students after a team-building activity in 2016