Science teachers across the country can now easily obtain a no-cost curriculum and the materials needed to teach their students about the science of retroreflectivity, a unique characteristic of traffic signs and pavement markings. The materials used to make the signs and markings make it possible to direct light from vehicles back to drivers, which allows the devices to be seen at night.
Being able to teach students about this real-world application of science is made possible through funding from the Safety through Disruption (Safe-D) University Transportation Center, a consortium that includes researchers from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and San Diego State University.
TTI Research Engineer Melisa Finley worked with a science teacher from Allen Academy in Bryan, Texas, to develop the curriculum after years of putting on retroreflectivity demonstrations for school children. “Showing kids the scientific principles of light and retroreflectivity always seems to motivate and inspire them. Their eyes get big when they can see firsthand how it all works. It helps to open the world of science to them,” Finley explains.
Teachers interested in obtaining the curriculum and materials can request a materials kit by going to the Safe-D website, https://safed.tti.tamu.edu/k-12-teacher-resources/. The webpage contains downloadable lesson plans for teachers, presentation slides and links to teacher training videos.
“We’re excited about suppling everything teachers need for the curriculum at no cost,” Finley says. “We think that this unique project will help inspire students about the science associated with transportation safety.”