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Design the Mass Transit System of the Future

Students will discuss what mass transit is and conduct research to identify new tools and technologies that could be used to create a better mass transit system in the future. They will write a description and sketch a model of their ideas.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, discuss what mass transit is (public transportation, especially used in urban areas). Invite students to describe different types of mass transit they have used.
  2. Point out that over time the purpose of mass transit has stayed the same-moving lots of people as quickly and efficiently as possible. But as new technologies are developed, new tools are invented and new modes of mass transit become available.
  3. Instruct students to identify issues that they think will impact mass transit in the future. Then have them conduct research to identify new tools and technologies that could be used to improve mass transit in a notable way.
  4. Challenge students to brainstorm ideas about how those tools and technologies could be incorporated into a design for a mass transit system of the future.
  5. Give students time to write a description and sketch a model of their ideas.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their descriptions and models with the class. Encourage them to identify key tools and technologies incorporated into in their designs. Challenge them to explain how their ideas would improve mass transit in the future.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
As a class, search online to identify tools or technologies that could be used to improve mass transit in the future. If necessary, help students understand what those tools and technologies are and how they work. Then divide the class into small groups. Challenge each group to select one tool or technology discussed and incorporate it into a design for a mass transit system of the future.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Give groups time to conduct research to identify tools and technologies that could be used to improve mass transit in the future. Then have each group select one tool and one technology to incorporate into their mass transit designs. Give them time to write a description and create a sketch of their mass transit system of the future.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Give partners time to conduct research to identify tools and technologies that could be used to improve mass transit in the future. Then have each pair select one technology and three related tools to incorporate into their mass transit designs. Give them time to write a description and create a sketch of their mass transit system of the future.
Grades 9-10:
Assign each student a partner. Encourage pairs to scour the Internet to learn more about modes of mass transit in use today. Instruct them to also conduct research to learn about new tools and technologies that could be used to improve mass transit in the future. Challenge pairs to brainstorm ideas about how those tools and technologies could be used to improve the rider's personal experience and make the mode of mass transit more efficient in a notable way. Give partners time to write a description and create a sketch that depicts their ideas of a better mass transit system in the future.