Educator Resources

UTCRS Summer Camp Student Group

As part of the University Transportation Center for Railway Safety (UTCRS) commitment to student education and community outreach, the UTCRS faculty and staff aided by teachers participating in the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program developed K-12 curricula with the goal of introducing students to STEM concepts through transportation engineering applications with emphasis on railway safety. The UTCRS developed curricula utilize LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT 2.0, LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3, and MagLev educational toolkits to expose students to STEM and transportation technologies through programming, engineering design, teamwork, logic, problem solving, and real-life applications in a challenging yet exciting way.

The UTCRS K-12 curricula are available for teachers, educators, and program coordinators to borrow and implement at their own institutions.

What You Will Find in the Curricula

UTCRS faculty and staff led by the center’s educational coordinator working alongside teachers participating in the UTCRS Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program and professionals from the transportation industry developed comprehensive K-12 lesson plans which can be implemented in formal and informal learning environments. The lesson plans can be easily incorporated into the curriculum of STEM classrooms, homeschool lessons, or as individual activities in STEM or afterschool programs. The developed curricula objectives have been aligned with the National and Texas State educational standards to ensure delivery of learning outcomes across the country.

UTCRS Curricula Available

  • Elementary — Students learn to design, construct, and test MagLev train systems in order to apply concepts of engineering and technology design. In addition, students explore mathematical and scientific concepts of Newtonian physics with regard to their MagLev system. These lessons are designed to foster creative thinking and problem solving in real-life scenarios related to transportation engineering and railway safety.
  • Middle School — Students learn how to apply engineering and technology design concepts by building and programming LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 robots, role playing transportation engineering teamwork, and problem-solving real-life scenarios. In addition, students investigate mathematical and scientific concepts of Newtonian physics as it relates to their robot design. These lessons are designed to foster creative thinking and problem solving in real-life scenarios related to transportation engineering and railway safety.
  • High School — The high school curriculum combines MagLev trains and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots to explore viable transportation designs and their alternatives. Students acquire familiarity with the engineering design process, technology design, and explore mathematics and science concepts of Newtonian physics. Lessons require in-depth critical thinking skills, teamwork, problem-solving skills, use of logic, and evaluation of real-life impact of traffic and railroad safety concepts.

Borrowing Tool Kits

All UTCRS curricula lessons and activities involve the use of LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT 2.0, LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3, and MagLev Toolkits. Local Rio Grande Valley school districts, campuses, and teachers can also borrow a limited number of toolkits to implement the curricula.

Borrowing Agreement

To borrow the educational material and toolkits available, please complete and sign the following UTCRS Educational Resources Borrowing Agreement. Submit your completed form by email to: railwaysafety@utrgv.edu. A UTCRS coordinator will contact you within five business days of your submission.