The Roadways Into Developing Elementary Students, or RIDES, program was developed by MDOT and introduced in Mississippi in 2004. RIDES is designed to improve science, technology, engineering and math skills, and prepare students in grades K-8 for the workforce of the future. Students utilize critical thinking skills to solve real world problems and learn about careers in the transportation industry, specifically civil engineering.
Teachers wishing to utilize RIDES in their classroom attend two days of high energy training conducted by National Board Certified math and science instructors who are actively using the RIDES program in their classes. Since 2004, over 2,000 teachers throughout Mississippi have attended RIDES training.
The RIDES module contains ready-to-use lesson plans and a trunk of resources containing all the materials the teacher needs to conduct the hands-on activities.
The RIDES curriculum and activities are aligned with the National Math and Science Standards, Mississippi Frameworks for Math and Science Education and the Common Core for Math.
“The RIDES program covers all areas of student needs. It’s not just for seventh or eighth grade science; it covers from kindergarten through middle school and can be adapted into high school.” Thomas Lewis, Northeast Jones Middle School
MDOT partners with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health Region 8 Work Activities Center. Clients of Region 8 assemble and deliver the RIDES trunks. This partnership is an economical solution to the labor-intensive process of producing the trunks and provides Region 8 clients with an opportunity to practice work-related skills.
The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) became a partner with RIDES in 2011 and distributes the program to other states who wish to implement it. Through this partnership, RIDES has expanded to Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Illinois, Virginia, Florida and Nebraska. In July 2014, RIDES went international when transportation officials from Namibia, Africa, received RIDES training in Washington, D.C.