Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
connected vehicles in traffic

K–12 and STEM Programs

Every K-12 student, teacher, and administrator uses and depends on the US transportation system. Shouldn’t that make transportation a rich and vital topic in the discussion of STEM education?

Undeniably, our nation needs innovative solutions to our transportation problems. To enrich this discussion, CTR develops transportation-themed STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities for K-12 education, designed to capture the interests of creative problem solvers who one day will tackle these challenges.

We enjoy the support of several agencies in our pursuit of this goal: Federal Transit Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and the Southeastern Transportation Center (through a USDOT grant). Among initiatives they have funded are:

  • Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) Transit Day at Knox County Schools, May, 2014 & 2015
  • TRANSIT – Your Ride to the Future CTR-KAT Transit Camp, July, 2014 and 2015
  • STEM Teacher Training for Knox County and surrounding counties, 2012–14
  • After School Curriculum developed for Safe Routes to Schools and the Transportation Safety programs, 2009–14, ongoing
  • Internships for STEM high school students, 2014
  • Support for Knoxville STEM Academy and STEMspark East Tennessee STEM Hub
  • Transit themed calendar art contest with Knox County Schools and KAT, 2014
  • Teens & Trucks: Statewide student video contests with Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Trucking Foundation, KAT and Knox County Schools, 2014
  • Transportation Summer Camp for middle school girls from Knox County and surrounding counties, 2009–13
  • High School Transportation Academy, 2000–2008

Download CTR's transportation-themed lesson plans.

The Center for Transportation Research at the University of Tennessee has created transportation oriented curriculum for 8th graders using funds from a US DOT grant. The curriculum has been successfully implemented in several Knox County, Tennessee schools and is available to all interested teachers at no cost. In this PDF document there are five daily lesson plans in vocabulary, science, social studies, math, and language arts.

This curriculum was developed to meet content standards for the State of Tennessee in math, social studies, language arts, and science at the 8th grade level as part of the Garrett A. Morgan Transportation Grant awarded to Knox County Schools.

Lessons focus on the theme of transportation, and there is a student assessment included at the end. We welcome you to download this PDF for classroom use and encourage you to let other colleagues know about this resource as well. If you have any questions, please email