Increasing fuel costs in the trucking industry are a burden to the American consumer because these costs are passed through to the public. In this unit, students will investigate ways to decrease fuel costs in the trucking industry as a way to stop "passing the buck" to consumers.
To begin, students read and discuss the entry eventa promotional flyer about a contest challenging students to devise strategies to reduce a trucking company's fuel costs. Working in teams of four, students will elect a project manager and devise a plan to address this unit’s challenge. They will conduct research, utilizing a variety of print and electronic sources. Other activities can include job shadowing at a trucking company to get firsthand input from a mechanic or to assist with preventive truck maintenance. Students may also choose to do a blind study during which they keep track of fuel mileage on 10 vehicles; the fuel injectors on 5 will be cleaned regularly, and the fuel injectors on the other 5 will not. The students can contact fuel companies to obtain scientific data about fuel quality or alternative fuels and their costs. Students can email either trucking companies for data about how driver actions affect fuel mileage or truck manufacturers to find research reports on how the age of equipment affects fuel mileage.
Teams will keep a written weekly log of progress with activities, information source documentation, and a team reflection on their learning. Each team will compile its information into a final written plan with recommendations on ways to reduce fuel costs. The final plan will include a written statement from each team member reflecting on his or her learning related to transportation competencies that were covered.
The team plan will be the basis for a preliminary presentation to another team for feedback and a final presentation to a panel of teachers, parents, and/or business partners. Winning teams selected by the panel will receive prizes, such as gas cards, donated by local businesses.
In addition to increasing student knowledge of the transportation industry, this unit will enable students to learn about teamwork, organization, and communication skills as they conduct the research and interact with transportation professionals.
| ||Two class periods each week for seven weeks, plus time for each group to prepare/give a 15–20-minute presentation.|