How Idaho Teachers Use Crash Data in Algebra Lessons

Software provider AASHTOWare is sponsoring a webinar on February 6 at 1:00 p.m. EST that examines how instructors in Idaho are using publicly available statewide crash data compiled by the firm’s Safety module to teach high-school students the practical applications of algebra mathematical concepts.

[Above image by AASHTO]

A division of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AASHTOWare offers a suite of transportation software products delivered through a collaborative business model with state departments of transportation across the country.

Keith Platte. Photo by AASHTO.

“There is always a question that comes up each year in high school math classes across the country – ‘when will I ever use this stuff?’ That’s why using real-world data in this fashion helps teachers show the practical applications of the math their students are learning,” explained Keith Platte, director of AASHTOWare. “It also shows students how people use those math concepts daily in a variety of transportation-related jobs.”

The Idaho Transportation Department or ITD, Idaho Department of Education, Idaho STEM Action Center, and Horizon Credit Union teamed up to create this unique math program – called “Do the Math, Save a Life” – for Algebra 1 students statewide.

The program uses Idaho Office of Highway Safety or OHS crash data collated by AASHTOWare Safety – a Software as a Service or SaaS platform specifically designed for highway traffic safety data management needs.

Idaho OHS collects data on all crashes that happen on Idaho roads and displays it on publicly available dashboards. The new math program then uses that data to provide examples of math in real life and teaches students lessons like scatter plots, frequency tables, and analyzing claims.

Image by ITD

The agency’s data also shows teenagers statewide are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a crash than other age groups; thus providing a critical safety message to the students along with their math lessons.

“Not only are these lessons teaching them math, but they are also teaching teens about the dangers of distracted, aggressive, and impaired driving,” explained Idaho Highway Safety Manager Josephine Middleton in a previous AASHTO Journal story on the program. “We want them to understand the risks so they can make safe choices once they start learning how to drive.”

Ryan Fragapane, product director at AASHTOWare, noted that using the data generated by AASHTOWare Safety in this fashion not only allows transportation agencies to expand the “business case” for using this product but also helps with career outreach efforts as well.

“For students that are mathematically inclined, they get to interact with a system used by traffic safety engineers across the country,” he said. “It’s an opportunity state and local transportation agencies can use to show students what kinds of analytical work they could be doing as a full-time career.”

To register for this webinar, click here.

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