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 Suggested Activities for Classrooms


Ask a representative from the County Engineer's Office or the Department of Transportation to describe how a road is built.

Visit a road building site, see the machinery, and analyze the steps in road building.

Ask the owner of an antique car to bring his automobile to school and discuss with students how it is different from a modern car.

Assign students to interview members of the city road department about what they do in their jobs.

Have students interview their parents or grandparents to learn about the first car they owned and their biggest "car adventure".

Arrange for an Iowa State Patrol officer or city police officer to talk about automobile safety and courtesy.

Have students write essays about an auto trip, from preparation to return home.

Collect magazine photographs of old cars, identify them, arrange them by date. Discuss observation students make regarding changes in construction and use.

Have students develop a "family history" of the cars their family has owned. Discuss any patterns that might exist in the buying and owning of the family's cars.


Student Bonus Questions


1. In what year did Iowa first require auto registration?

Answer: In 1904, Iowa issued a 2 inch disk of aluminum from the Office of the Secretary of State. Cost was $1.00.

2. When were the first license plates made at the State Penitentiary in Anamosa?

Answer: Production began in 1925 for the 1926 license year. Prior to that, plates were made under contract with various vendors.

3. Who was Governor of Iowa when automobile registration began?

Answer: Republican Albert B. Cummins from Polk County served as Governor from 1902-1908.

4. Who was the Secretary of State when the first automobiles were registered?

Answer: William B. Martin served as Secretary of State during the period 1901-1907.

5. Who formed the Iowa Highway Patrol and when?

Answer: Ola Babcock Miller, Secretary of State, a Democrat, served from 1933 until her death in 1937. A 15-man test patrol was established in 1934 and the Highway Patrol began with 50 men in 1935.

6. When was Iowa’s first death in an automobile accident?

Answer: About 9:00 P.M. on September 29, 1905 Mr. Fred Harriman of Hampton was killed when his automobile left the road and crashed into a stream bed. Its estimated speed was 30 mph.

7. What was the speed limit on Iowa highways in 1905?

Answer: "No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public highway at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper, having regard to the traffic and use of the highway, or so as to endanger the life or limb of any person…"


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