Ride, Roll and Stroll (EnerAction)
Students dream up creative ways to get to school, dance lessons, hockey practice or a friend's place. After analyzing the pros and cons of their wild rides, students consider the more usual modes of transportation available to them and assess the environmental impacts of each. Empowered with new knowledge, students revise their initial designs and embellish them with selling points so that they can attract others to their mode of transportation via video, poster or audio advertisement.
Time Required: 3 hours
EnerAction web site provides curriculum connections for grades 4 to 7 for Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.
To gather, evaluate and select modes of transportation based on their own experience and compare with available data.
To assess and determine solutions for local transportation challenges.
LEAD IN - 15 minutes
1. In small groups, ask students to brainstorm their ideas. If you could travel to school in any way you want, how would you travel? Why choose this method? Encourage students to think outside the box. At this point, anything goes.
2. With the whole class, share and list all of the methods proposes. Once listed, discuss the feasibility - the specific pros and cons - of each method.
3. Tell students they will consider how they currently travel to and from school and then compare and contrast these methods with their creative ideas.
MAIN ACTIVITY - 145 minutes
Part A - 60 minutes
4. Provide students with a copy of the Transportation Use Chart (Lesson 12 attachment). In groups of three, have students complete the chart. A short refresher on fractions might help. You might also want to suggest a common denominator such as 4 or 10 for all students. If your students are familiar with percentages, you may prefer to have them use percentages. To complete the chart:
- Students estimate their own individual use of each mode of travel and enter it as a fraction (or percentage).
- Students provide three descriptor words - adjectives and adverbs - that they would apply to each mode, such as fast, smart, dangerous.
- Students estimate the fraction for each mode of transportation they think applies to the entire class and enter this number in the left-hand column.
5. As you circulate around the room, take note what each student has recorded as their individual use so that while the groups are working on the next two columns, you can calculate a rough class average for each mode of transportation. If your class is familiar with calculating averages, you may want to do this calculation as a class, as mentioned in Step 7.
6. Invite groups to share and record their estimates for the whole class to see. As a class, determine:
- Which mode of transportation has the highest or lowest estimate?
- Which mode has the largest range of answers? You might want to take a moment to review the concept of range.
- What descriptor words were most common for each mode?
7. Share you calculations for the class average use for each mode of transportation. Depending on the grade level of your students, you could work as a class to calculate the class average use of each mode of transportation rather than provide these calculations for them.
8. Ask students to consider:
- How close were your estimates of the average classroom use to your own actual use?
- Which mode is most commonly used by this class?
- What surprises you most about these results?
- How might our actual use of these modes of transportation be more accurately measured?
9. Hand out Data & Facts About Transportation Use (Lesson 12 attachment). Looking at the two charts together as a class, discuss the differences and similarities between the students and other Canadian communities.
Part B - 45 minutes
10. In small groups, have students prepare short skits to act out peculiar or unlikely transportation scenarios that focus on a specific mode of transportation.
- Driving to the library 1 km away.
- Walking to pick up a treat 10 km away.
- Taking transit to the movie theatre 2 km away.
- Cycling to a sports practice 8 km away.
Explain that the groups need to present persuasive arguments and facts withing the skit to elaborate why a particular mode is the best choice for the scenario. Assign a scenario to each group and give the groups five minutes to rally as many arguments/facts as possible and then present them in a short skit to the class in one minute or less.
11. Discuss the variables that emerged during the presentations and ask students to consider the following questions.
- What reasoning do you think best explains why certain modes are used in particular situations (e.g., student age, bus routes, parental control, convenience, or safety issues)?
- What connections do you see between these reasons and some of the descriptor words you used for different modes of transportation in the Transportation Use Chart?
- How do your insights here compare with your creative ideas at the outset?
Part C - 40 minutes
12. Before exploring the impacts of their transportation choices, review some facts on the Data & Facts About Transportation Use handout about the travel patterns of North Americans. Ask students to share their responses to these facts.
13. In the computer lab, show students how to use the Travel Calculator to measure the greenhouse gas emissions related to their travel to and from school. To access the calculator, visit HASTE (Hub for Action on School Transportation Emissions) at www.hastebc.org/mytravel. Let students use the Calculator to explore alternative modes of transportation that they could use if they wanted to reduce their emissions.
WRAP UP - 20 minutes
14. Ask students to write a scenario that related to them personally that builds an environmental case for adopting a change to their usual patter of travel. Encourage students to make use of some of the points that were made during the presentations (you could post them as a list). You may wish to have students focus on particular barriers they see, ways to overcome them, and the benefits of making such a change.
Part C of the Main Activity requires use of the computer lab. Estimate the best date for this activity and then book the lab in advance.
Assessment Rubric available in downloadable lesson plan.
Source:GreenLearning Canada Foundation
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Mathematics, Physical Education, Social Studies,
Topic:Air, Atmosphere and Climate, Energy Use and Conservation, Transportation,
Level:Intermediate / Middle
Grade: 4 5 6 7 8 9
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