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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Transportation Systems Engineering

Teacher Resource Center

Lesson Overview
Lesson Title:
Geometric Roadway Design

Mrs. Annmarie Thomas (Primary)

Brief Description:
During the initial lesson, students will create their own roadway using online design software. The original roadway design can be referenced throughout an Advanced Algebra course during topics such as: linear equations, quadratics, piecewise functions, and conic sections.

Topics Introduced:
Geometric Roadway Design

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Transportation Systems/ Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
Suggested Grade Levels:
10th Grade

Standards Taught:
12.4.1 Math 2006
12.4.2 Math 2006
12.4.4 Math 2006
12.6.1 Science 2003

Lesson Information
Learning Expectations:

Students will learn about the application of mathematics in road design.
Students use point-slope form of linear equations, quadratic functions, and conic functions to write equations for their design.

Plan Of Action:

Introduction: What is geometric roadway design?

Part I- Powerpoint Presentation: Discussion of some aspects of geometric road design and review of math concepts that will be used in design.

Part II- Roadway Design: Use Roadway Online Application Design (ROAD) online software
The University of Minnesota, ITS Department. Drs. Chen-Fu Liao and David Levinson.

Part III- Application throughout the year. Students will create a small portfolio project. They should keep copies of their roadway design in anticipation of writing equations of the lines, parabolas, and conic sections.

Data Set Used:

Students generate own data

Materials Needed:

Powerpoint presentation
Computer Lab

Preparation Period:

Preparation includes loading contour map on computers for design phase and creating worksheets.

Implementation Period:

The bulk of the lesson will take two days. The first day will be an intro to geometric roadway design using the powerpoint and the second day will be the actual design on the computer. Additionally, application problems can be used throughout the school year as new curriculum is introduced (linear equations, quadratics functions, conics).

Unexpected Results:

Several students noted that the initial design phase with the software was fun and interesting but not especially challenging. When students were later asked to use their design to write functions, they noted that this was much more challenging, but fun. The class also engaged in conversations about what types of engineering fields they had knowledge of and what type of math and science they thought was necessary for those fields.

Lesson Files
Roadway Design Powerpoint
This is the powerpoint I used to introduce roadway design to the class. I discussed a variety of aspects of roadway design, such as, earthwork, types of curves used, etc. I also introduced contour maps to the students using the idea of water levels on an island.
[size: 1548800] [date uploaded: Feb 28, 2011, 9:29 pm ]

Worksheet guide during design
This is the file I used on the UNL Engineering Day. It is appropriate for middle school - early high school and is useful as a guide for first-timers using the software.
[size: 43520] [date uploaded: Feb 28, 2011, 9:33 pm ]

Vertical Curves Piecewise Functions
This is an example of questions that can be asked regarding the students design. This worksheet focuses on piecewise functions, but may be altered to write functions for any aspect of the design.
[size: 387584] [date uploaded: Feb 28, 2011, 9:35 pm ]

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