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Transportation Trends

3, 4
Essential questions
How do vehicles move?
What options do we have for getting around?
Why do we have the kinds of vehicles we have?
What causes traffic?
What can we do to reduce traffic?
Why is traffic bad for the environment
What problems might innovations in travel solve in the future?

This module includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-101: From Then to Now: (Estimated total time needed: 50 minutes)
In this lesson, students learn the history of transportation from “then to now.” They explore how innovators across time have figured out new—and progressively quicker—ways to get from one place to another. Students examine the history of transportation via animal, the invention of the wheel, and the pros and cons of other key developments. They work in teams to investigate, compare, and organize their thoughts about several modes of transportation. Then they think critically about how modern transportation technology has led to advantages and disadvantages for life on Earth today.

Lesson 2: Eco-Activity: Traffic Jam (Estimated total time needed: 50 minutes)
In this active lesson, students explore some of the causes and consequences of traffic. They play two fun games—the Stop-and-Go Game leads them to understand that stop-and-go traffic is worse for the environment than fluid traffic because it causes more air pollution. Through the Traffic Jam Game, they see how various road and circumstantial conditions impact traffic and have other effects. Students have plenty of opportunities to talk about the woes of traffic and learn some strategies for overcoming it.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: Let Me Take You There: (Estimated total time needed: Two 50-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students look closely at what a vehicle is and consider some of the incredible vehicles humans have invented to take us over land, through the air, and across or under the water. They look at key features of different types of vehicles and then work together in a group design challenge to innovate a new, exciting vehicle. By unpacking and then applying their understanding of what makes a vehicle move, students use teamwork and collaboration to produce inspiring new designs.

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