Railway Safety Summer Camps (K-12)

The largest STEM camp ever held at UTPA was hosted by the UTCRS, along with its consortium institutions, Texas A&M University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln during the summer of 2014. The camps served 300 elementary, 300 middle school, and 100 high school students from over 130 schools representing 26 school districts in the Rio Grande Valley. During 2015, served 450 elementary, 450 middle school, and 125 high school students. During summer 2016, we served 577 elementary, 525 middle school and 198 high school students. Every year our summer camps are teaching more children about Railway Safety. 

A major goal of the UTC for Railway Safety is to encourage students from groups traditionally underrepresented in transportation to consider careers in transportation-related fields. The summer camps supported this goal as there are approximately 1200 camp participants, of which over 80 percent were Hispanic and over 35 percent were female. 

Minorities Graph depicting the percentage of the backgrounds of the participants, whit 8 percent of participants being white and 92 percent of minorities. Of those 92 percent, 82 percent were Hispanic, 4 percent were African American, and a smaller percentage of Native American and Asian American

Elementary students took a part in inquiry-based activities to learn bout science and engineering concepts and how they related to transportation safety. Students designed and built a magnetic levitation train system to explore what happens during collisions.

Elementary camp participants discuss their daily lesson plans with UTCRS director Constantine Tarawneh

Middle school students learned about transportation engineering and railway safety through a project-based curriculum focused on robotics. Students built and programmed various types of vehicular robots deigned to obey traffic lights and railway safety signs and signals. 

Middle School Students Working on programming the fork lift they built with the LEgo NXT 2.0. The activity is designed to teach students Newton's laws of motion through application and logic.

High school students took part in a number of challenging competitions that included designing and programming and efficient vehicular robot as a part of collaborations with TexPREP and an NSF-STEP grant. 

TESTP students work in a joint-effort to construct the Castor-Bot that will later be programmed for the final competition.