Close this search box.

RET Participants Showcase Project-based Lesson at ITEEA

Two men standing in front of a conference table.
Montana high school teachers Rob Bryson of Skyview High School in Billings (left) and Jake Warner of Capital High School in Helena (right) presented at ITEEA 2023 in Minneapolis.

Two alumni of WTI’s Research Experience for Teachers in Innovative Transportation Systems (ITS-RET) program were invited to share their RET project-based classroom unit at the STEM Showcase held in conjunction with the 2023 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) annual conference in April. Montana high school teachers Jake Warner of Capital High School in Helena and Rob Bryson of Skyview High School in Billings teamed up to investigate the making and use of concrete during their 2022 RET experience and developed classroom lessons and activities.

With guidance from Montana State University (MSU) researchers and faculty, Bryson and Warner designed their classroom unit around the theme of Sustainable Infrastructure Materials and Practices, using the making, mix-designs, and placement of concrete to teach students about proportionality, dimensional analysis, and geology.

The NSF-funded program, which comes to a close this year, was started in 2018 as a six-week summer interdisciplinary research opportunity for secondary school and community college STEM teachers and faculty. ITS-RET participants developed skills and curricula to address the unique challenges of rural transportation through new development and testing of technology, infrastructure materials, and models of rural transportation improvements.

Bryson and Warner’s RET experience didn’t end with the summer program. Attending the ITEEA conference in Minneapolis provided them with ongoing opportunities for professional development. “I met lots of amazing teachers at the conference who gave me ideas to bring back to my classroom,” noted Warner. “I was able to tour a 3D printing company and learn about new technology. I attended fantastic sessions about project-based learning, coding in the classroom, and methods for teaching gear ratios, and I was able to learn about organizations and grant opportunities to advance my career. ITEEA was a great experience.”