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Free STEM Lesson Plans

STEM is an approach to educating students in four specific disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – in an interdisciplinary and applied way.  Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a coordinated curriculum based on real-world applications and hands-on student participation.

NanoSonic, Leidos Inc., and STEM teachers in Giles County, VA, have worked with support from the U.S. Department of Transportation through a “Small Business Innovative Research” (SBIR) program to develop these lesson plans.  The lessons may be used as stand-alone projects or several of them may be taught in sequence during a semester-long after-school STEM program.  Many of the lessons require small parts and supplies that you may already have in the classroom or at home.  Others use commercially available science supplies and kits that can be purchased on-line.

The lessons use advanced transportation systems as a central theme, in part because transportation involves many of the subjects of greatest student interest in STEM programs – robotics, coding, math, electronics and communication systems.  Several of the lessons combine activities in these areas to demonstrate “Intelligent Transportation Systems,” (ITS), “Connected Vehicles,” (CV), and “Automated Vehicles” (AV).  Most of the lessons emphasize hands-on student activities and learning through experimentation.

If you have questions about the lessons, the SBIR program, or NanoSonic, please email us at STEM@nanosonic.com

Introductory Lesson Plans for Middle School Students

Hands-on student experiments to determine reaction time; calculations of reaction time; playing on-line reaction time video games

 Physics and Reaction Time Lesson Plan

 Physics and Reaction Time Laboratory Worksheet

Hands-on student experiment to measure stopping distance using model vehicles on a ramp that simulates different roadway conditions

Stopping Distance and Crash Avoidance Lesson Plan

Stopping Distance and Crash Avoidance Laboratory Worksheet

Hallway experiment to demonstrate traffic congestion; online computer traffic games; YouTube videos

Traffic Congestion Lesson Plan

Introduces students to the basic ideas of how vehicles can be interconnected to each other and transportation infrastructure. Hands-on programming with Sphero suggested to demonstrate connected vehicle (CV) ideas.

Connected Vehicle Lesson Plan

Connected Vehicle Sphero Programming Activity

Learn Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) solutions through performing a safety audit of the school and surrounding areas

School Zone Safety Audit Lesson Plan

Hands-on programming activity to understand the benefits of congestion-based toll pricing

Congestion Pricing Lesson Plan

Congestion Pricing Flowcharting Worksheet

Hands-on learning using modular robotics kit to simulate how autonomous technology systems work by designing and constructing a connected vehicle that interacts with the surrounding environment.

RADAR and LIDAR Systems in ITS Lesson Plan

RADAR and LIDAR Systems in ITS Activity Worksheets (Teachers)

RADAR and LIDAR Systems in ITS Activity Worksheets (Students)

Hands-on learning using the Makey Makey circuit board to design and program sensors to simulate a Dynamic Message System.  Activities in this Module can be combined with the autonomous vehicle in Module 8 to create an Intelligent Transportation System Highway.

Dynamic Message Signs Lesson Plan

Dynamic Message Signs Activity Worksheets

In the Module 10 lessons, students will explore connected vehicle applications that currently exist for work zone areas and consider what future technologies could be developed to increase the safety of both oncoming drivers and highway personnel within the work zone area.  Students will specifically examine how sensor technology could be implement within the work zone area and as part of the connected vehicle technology to improve safety.

Note: The lesson plans are intended to be used in sequential order and are not stand alone activities.

Lesson 1: Smart Work Zones

In this lesson, students will recognize the need for intelligent transportation technology and connected vehicles within work zones on the roadway.  Students will develop ideas on how ITS systems can improve both worker and driver safety within these areas.

Lesson 2: Introduction to LilyPad Arduino

Lesson 2: Code Examples and Worksheets

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the LilyPad ProtoSnap Development Board and its components.  Students will examine and understand Arduino coding language and use the Arduino language to experiment with controlling the various components of the LilyPad ProtoSnap board.

Lesson 3: Developing Smart Suit Sensor Technology

In this lesson, students will simulate the usage of ITS systems and connected vehicle sensors to alert drivers to upcoming work zone areas and the presence of highway personnel.   Demonstrations will also include alerting work zone personnel of potential vehicle hazards.

Lesson 4: Putting It All Together

In this lesson, students will think about how ITS technologies in a work zone could improve safety for both the driver as well as highway workers.  Students will design an ITS system and describe how this system would work incorporating their Smart Suit technology.

Introductory Lesson Plans for High School Students

Hands-on student experiments to determine reaction time; calculations of reaction time; playing on-line reaction time video games

 Physics and Reaction Time Lesson Plan

 Physics and Reaction Time Laboratory Worksheet

Hands-on student experiment to measure stopping distance using model vehicles on a ramp that simulates different roadway conditions

 Stopping Distance and Crash Avoidance Lesson Plan

 Stopping Distance and Crash Avoidance Laboratory Worksheet

Hands-on programming with Sphero suggested to demonstrate connected vehicle (CV) ideas.

Connected Vehicles Lesson Plan

Connected Vehicles – Sphero Programming

Learn Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) solutions through performing a safety audit of the school and surrounding area

School Zone Safety Audit Lesson Plan

Hands-on programming activity to understand the benefits of congestion-based toll pricing

Congestion Pricing Lesson Plan

Congestion Pricing Flowcharting Worksheet

Hands-on learning using modular robotics kit to simulate how autonomous technology systems work by designing and constructing a connected vehicle that interacts with the surrounding environment.

RADAR and LIDAR Systems in ITS Lesson Plan

RADAR and LIDAR Systems in ITS Activity Worksheets (Teacher)

RADAR and LIDAR Systems in ITS Activity Worksheets (Student)

Hands-on learning using the Makey Makey circuit board to design and program sensors to simulate a Dynamic Message System.  Activities in this Module can be combined with the autonomous vehicle in Module 8 to create an Intelligent Transportation System Highway.

Dynamic Message Signs Lesson Plan

Dynamic Message Signs Activity Worksheets

In the Module 10 lessons, students will explore connected vehicle applications that currently exist for work zone areas and consider what future technologies could be developed to increase the safety of both oncoming drivers and highway personnel within the work zone area.  Students will specifically examine how sensor technology could be implement within the work zone area and as part of the connected vehicle technology to improve safety.

Note: The lesson plans are intended to be used in sequential order and are not stand alone activities.

Lesson 1: Smart Work Zones

In this lesson, students will recognize the need for intelligent transportation technology and connected vehicles within work zones on the roadway.  Students will develop ideas on how ITS systems can improve both worker and driver safety within these areas.

Lesson 2: Introduction to LilyPad Arduino

Lesson 2: Code Examples and Worksheets

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the LilyPad ProtoSnap Development Board and its components.  Students will examine and understand Arduino coding language and use the Arduino language to experiment with controlling the various components of the LilyPad ProtoSnap board.

Lesson 3: Developing Smart Suit Sensor Technology

In this lesson, students will simulate the usage of ITS systems and connected vehicle sensors to alert drivers to upcoming work zone areas and the presence of highway personnel.   Demonstrations will also include alerting work zone personnel of potential vehicle hazards.

Lesson 4: Putting It All Together

In this lesson, students will think about how ITS technologies in a work zone could improve safety for both the driver as well as highway workers.  Students will design an ITS system and describe how this system would work incorporating their Smart Suit technology.

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