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STEM-Based Curriculum

Exciting developments for Transit Alliance and Middle Tennessee and tenth-graders at Hillsboro High School as this curriculum will be piloted in the 2020-21 academic school year. You can see the overview by downloading a copy below:

This summer, the Transit Alliance worked on a BRAND NEW program with the help of an incredible intern through Urban Leadership Fellows. Nicole Jurewicz spent 140 hours with this project to support teachers and high school students in learning more about multimodal transportation planning and engineering.

This curriculum is 11 total hours over three distinct modules that seek to answer the following:

  • How does transit and mobility affect communities, especially in Middle Tennessee?

  • What does it take to have a better multi-modal transportation system?

  • What type of work goes into planning and engineering for better systems?

  • How can we, as students and future adults, support improving multi-modal transportation systems in our community?

Beginning with historical contexts, students take a deeper look into transportation modes, needs, and projects in the region. Then, discuss and analyze current challenges and opportunities.

Module 2 leads students through activities that cover planning and engineering concepts in multimodal transportation systems. Students are expected to use the following skills:

  • Sort and evaluate data for its significance and/or meaning in the process of solving a problem as a STEM professional would.

  • Examine the data in ways that reveal the relationships, patterns, and trends that can be found within it. Identify multiple forms of data and list mechanisms for collection that are essential to solving a problem.

  • Use available data to create an original prototype/solution to a scenario.

  • Examine constraints including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics.

  • Consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

  • Summarize findings using tables, functions, graphical representations, and written explanations.

  • And more.


The curriculum culminates in a final Project-Based learning Module that asks them to identify an issue that could be addressed with improved or enhanced multimodal transportation infrastructure or service. Then, they brainstorm possible solutions and research options before selecting their personal approach and working on a project deliverable to showcase their idea or solution.

Through the generosity of our partner, MarketStreet Enterprises, who funded the creation of this curriculum, we are proud to share this brand new program with Hillsboro High School tenth graders.

Support and other team members include:

Melody Gibson, Education Director at the Civic Design Center. We reached out to her first because of the success of their own curriculum, Design Your Neighborhood for 7th and 8th graders. Melody spent time with us answering important questions as we got started and then helped get us connected with Donna Gilley.

Donna Gilley, Director of Academies for Nashville at Metro Nashville Public Schools. Donna helped us define the type of curriculum we were to create as well as the Academy we felt would be the best fit. With WeGo Public Transit’s new Neighborhood Transit Center being built on Hillsboro High School’s campus, it was an easy decision. Then, she connected us to the Hillsboro High School team.

The Academy at Hillsboro High School team were so welcoming and open to our idea of including multimodal transportation system engineering in their STEM curriculum, we could not have created this program without their support. Thank you to Dr. Kenyae Reese, Academy Principal; Dr. Erica Anderson, STEM teacher; and Melissa Wren, Academy Coach.

Dr. Candace Brakewood, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Some of the activities have been adapted with permission from her own syllabus.

WeGo Public Transit. They were supportive from the start. With their help, some of the activities in Module 2 use real, local bus data. It’s important that the students know these are not made up, perfect world numbers but real data based on actual bus routes they may ride.

Other important partners have included engineering and planning firms. Many agreed to help be guideposts during the creation of this curriculum and beyond, and we thank all of you!

If you have questions or would like to learn more about this curriculum, please contact Jessica Dauphin

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