On October 26th, Steve Pautsch, P.E., PTOE prepared a video presentation for the 6th grade science students at Kipp1 Academy Charter School. Civiltech celebrates and encourages giving back to our communities through volunteering both as individuals and as a company. As such, Steve utilized Civiltech’s Volunteer Time Off (VTO) benefit to prepare this lesson.

Steve’s nephew, who teaches English at Kipp1, introduced Steve to the science teacher. Originally, the presentation was to consist of a short video discussing his career as a Traffic Engineer. But Steve realized that the school, located at the corner of Chicago and Pulaski, was right in the heart of Civiltech’s current Chicago Avenue HSIP project, providing the opportunity for a more engaging presentation illustrating real life applications of Traffic Engineering. Steve decided to weave the project into the presentation, and after opening with an explanation of Traffic Engineering, he introduced the Chicago Avenue project. The presentation included drone video footage highlighting the project and some of its safety challenges.

Following the presentation, Steve worked with the teacher to develop hands-on activities for the students. First, the kids took a survey to start them thinking about issues on Chicago Avenue. The survey included items such as asking how they usually travel to school, how they perceived safety on Chicago Avenue, and what they thought would be the best way to improve safety. The students then participated in a design project. Using the web-based Streetmix app, each student created their own Chicago Avenue cross-section. They were encouraged to be creative and illustrate what they thought the roadway should look like within the 100’ right-of-way constraint.

Steve enjoyed the experience stating, “It’s always great to make science practical by bringing engineering into the schools, but it was especially cool for an engineering lesson to be so relevant to the students.” In an unanticipated and delightful gauge of the success of the presentation, one student sent a message to their teacher saying, “I used to hate science, but now I love it.”