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Vroom! IEEE-USA’s New Activity E-Book All About Cars

By Paul Lief Rosengren

Vroom! The Cars Activity Book

Vroom! The Cars Activity Book

FREE to IEEE Members
Non-Members: $2.99

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Do you have a son or daughter, grandchild, student, or even a neighbor, who is fascinated by cars? Then, you might want to leverage their passion to develop a similar passion for STEM at the same time. A first step could be reading IEEE-USA’s new e-book, by prolific writer and educator, Harry T. Roman: Vroom! The Cars Activity Book. The e-book is full of all kinds of information about cars, as well as questions, challenges, and suggested projects for further investigation. It’s a great classroom activity book for teachers and students.

Roman points out electric cars are not new. Thomas Edison not only developed electric car batteries, but also invented the charging station. He notes that at the turn of the last century, the United States had only 4,000 to 5,000 cars on the road (40 percent steam-powered; 38 percent electric; and gas-powered, a distant third, at 22 percent). However, Roman writes the introduction of Ford’s Model T at $300-$350 pushed more expensive electric cars (selling for close to ten times that) out of the market.

The author goes through the impact of cars on society; and then he presents activities teachers and students (or any readers) can explore:

  • Developing a line graph showing the sales of U.S. gas and electric cars over time. Doing the same for Europe. What are the differences?
  • Creating a timeline of automotive innovation from the 1800s to today
  • Outlining how cars positively and negatively impact society
  • Pondering how you might have viewed the introduction of cars, if you were a railroad executive, or on the board of a gasoline company

Roman then goes through other ways cars have influenced public policy, society and scientific advances. He starts by digging deep into roads, pointing out the Romans built roads, so they could easily move armies around the empire. He asks the reader to consider the driving force of the buildout of the national road system in the United States. He goes on to ask questions related to road construction and design.

The author has similar sections that explore the making of gasoline and the development of engines. He remarks that “a barrel of oil, fresh out-of-the-ground, is a whole lot different than the clear gasoline we pump into our car’s fuel tank.” He suggests developing diagrams to show how the refining process works; creating maps illustrating U.S refineries’ locations; and showcasing what products those refineries produce. Some of his other suggested activities in this section are:

  • Analyzing the cost of a gallon of gasoline purchased at a local filling station, and identifying the major cost components. Brainstorming ways to reduce these costs.
  • Figuring out how much energy is contained in a gallon of gasoline, as compared to the amount of energy required to separate the gasoline from the oil initially, or to transport it to a gas station.
  • Researching the major impacts of oil spills, and comparing them to the benefits of oil products.
  • Determining the pollutants resulting from burning gas in cars, and discussing how the pollutants have changed over time.

Roman also includes sections on the future of automobiles — as well as electric vs. gas-powered cars. Each of these sections also includes activities to challenge and engage readers. If you are interested in cars, or know someone who is, download this free resources available to all IEEE members!

Vroom! The Cars Activity Book, by Harry T. Roman, is available at the IEEE-USA Shop for free for IEEE members. Non-members pay $2.99.


Paul Lief Rosengren

Paul Lief Rosengren is a frequent contributor to IEEE-USA InSight and author of the Famous Women Engineers in History series. He also co-authored In the Time of COVID: One Hospital’s Struggles and Triumphs about the first year of COVID at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. Rosengren previously worked in internal and external communications for the State of New Jersey, NBC, PSEG, and BD. While at PSEG, he was a founding member of the PSEG Diversity Council, initiated and facilitated the PSEG D&I Book Club and received the PR News Diversity Award.

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