The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tickle College of Engineering

UT Center for Transportation Research and STEMspark Hub Host STEM 
Summer Workshop for Tennessee Teachers

Twenty-one teachers are participating in a two-and-a-half day workshop for instructors who want to use transportation to engage their students in STEM learning. These educators deliver STEM content of science, technology, engineering, and math along with social studies and language arts to 4th-8th graders in Tennessee public and private schools.

This STEM Teacher Workshop is a joint endeavor of STEMspark and UT’s Center for Transportation Research (CTR); both have contributed funds for this work.

The workshop begins today (July 17, 2013) at the L&N STEM Academy in Knoxville and wraps up Friday afternoon. Schedule highlights include:

  • 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 17, 2013— McGee Tyson Airport: FedEx and the Airport Authority Control Tower
  • 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 18, 2013— Perkins Hall, UT Campus: Highway Safety demonstrations using The Seatbelt Convincer, Driving Simulator, and Crash Reconstruction. These demonstrations are very active, visual, and noisy – a lot of fun!
  • 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 19, 2013— Tour Knoxville Locomotive Works (

This professional development workshop is an opportunity for participating STEM teachers to develop authentic learning experiences that support Common Core ELA and Math skills and standards. Participants will collaborate to develop transportation themed instructional units for use in their classrooms. Each teacher will eligible for a stipend of up $500 ($300 after participating in both parts of the workshop and $200 after completing the debriefing and reflection exercise).

Workshop Content
Teachers will interact with transportation professionals and learn about their careers and the technical issues they face. Clear connections will be made between transportation and STEM related skills and concepts during the workshop. UT curriculum development specialist Dr. Jennifer Richards will guide participants through the process of developing inquiry-based instructional units. CTR’s Dr. Jerry Everett, Tammy Enix, and DeAnna Flinchum are facilitating and coordinating the workshop.

Taking it to the Future
Teachers will leave the workshop with the framework for their transportation themed lesson plans, then finalize their plans at home in the subsequent weeks. On August 24th, the group will reassemble with lesson plans in hand for Part 2 of the workshop, and present their lessons to the group. Facilitated feedback will provide a solid strategy for the teachers to revise and implement their lesson plans. These teachers will test their plans in the classroom during the 2013-2014 academic year, and will participate in a facilitated debriefing and reflection exercise to further refine the lesson plans based on pilot test results. After successful classroom implementation, the revised final lesson plans will be available to teachers throughout the STEMspark Hub by June 2014.

The Players
STEMspark is the East Tennessee STEM Education hub of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and the nationwide STEMx coalition. STEMspark is a regional partnership of educational, business, scientific, and research institutions and organizations. STEMspark connects seven institutions of higher education and twenty-three school districts serving twelve counties surrounding Knox County to promote and support high quality STEM education in the East Tennessee region. STEMspark's goal is to leverage all available resources to amplify opportunities for all students. STEMspark is host to the L&N Academy, the platform school for the East Tennessee region.

The Center for Transportation Research (CTR) was created in 1970 to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary research, public service, and outreach in the field of transportation at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. As a research center under the auspices of UT's Tickle College of Engineering, CTR oversees programs associated with the educational, research, training, and industrial aspects of the transportation field. The center has three goals. The first is to conduct a program of research in transportation that is recognized for its excellence, comprehensiveness, innovation, productivity and national leadership. The second is to develop and sustain the technical expertise for high quality transportation research by the faculty and students in the departments and colleges of UT. The third goal is to serve the transportation research, service, and training needs of state and local government, business and industry in Tennessee, the southeast region, and the nation.

For information, contact:
Lissa Gay,, 865-974-8760; or Tammy Enix,, 865-974-4621.


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