Feb 15, 2013

Students at Portland’s Cleveland High School learned on Tuesday that their school sits at the heart of pioneering transportation research. The school is at the corner of Southeast 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard, a corridor in which a variety of advanced traffic management technologies have been installed.

Adam Moore, a graduate student in transportation engineering at Portland State University, and Jon Makler, OTREC’s program manager for education and technology transfer, were guest teaching some algebra classes at Cleveland High as part of National Engineering Month.

In Oregon every February, the Business Education Compact helps match thousands of professional engineers who volunteer to teach in classrooms from elementary through high school. The goal is to raise student awareness of the opportunities and rewards of working in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

This is the third year of volunteering for Makler, who developed a lesson plan that describes the many ways that transportation relies on STEM skills, including engineering. After watching helmet cam footage of biking in downtown Portland, students used basic algebra to learn about how traffic signals are timed to make streets safe and efficient for people in cars, on bike or on foot.

But Moore stole the show as he explained how various devices at the intersection of Powell and 26th help manage traffic. Students were...

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