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Mid-America Transportation Center

"Roads, Rails, and Race Cars" After-School Program




Impact since Inception in 2010

Unique student participants: 1,810
Total weekly attendance: 12,634
Participating organizations: 17 schools in 7 cities across 3 states


About the Program

Research shows that engaging students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning outside the regular classroom has a profound impact on shaping students’ attitudes toward STEM subjects and their future career goals. With funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, MATC developed an innovative transportation engineering after-school club. The “Roads, Rails, and Race Cars” (RRRC) program was piloted at a middle school in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2010. Over the years, the program expanded beyond the borders of Lincoln to include Omaha, Nebraska; Boone, Iowa; and Madison, Wisconsin. In 2017, MATC began partnering with tribal schools in Nebraska to expand the after-school program to Native American students in Macy, Winnebago, and Santee.

RRRC takes place at historically diverse schools in an effort to promote STEM education and careers among underrepresented populations. Each participating school offers the program for an hour every week. Mentors and industry representatives present on engineering or transportation-related topics and lead students in an interactive activity that encompasses the concepts of the lesson. The curriculum is developed collaboratively by UNL faculty, MATC staff, local teachers, and undergraduate student mentors. MATC continues to offer the after-school program in the summertime at participating schools and by request.


RRRC is currently implemented at:

  1. Winnebago Public School
  2. Santee Community School
  3. UmoNhoN Nation Public School
  4. Culler Middle School
  5. Dawes Middle School
  6. Goodrich Middle School
  7. Park Middle School
  8. Mickle Middle School
  9. Lefler Middle School
  10. Maxey Elementary School




Lessons

Below are a few examples of the exciting curriculum employed by mentors to enhance students’ learning experience:  

  1. Building penny barges to learn about water freight
  1. Constructing bridges and conducting strength tests
  1. Creating towers that can withstand simulated earthquakes and floods
  1. Building race cars powered by potential energy stored in a rubber band
  1. Observing walking, running, and skipping speeds and using LIDAR guns to calculate speed, velocity, and their role in safety

Contact Info

Gabriel Bruguier
Education and Outreach Coordinator
402-472-1927
ntc-bruguier@unl.edu









Lesson Plan Gallery



To view and download the free STEM lesson plans that have been developed by Summer Institute participants, for grades 6-12, please click here.