Integrating Walking and Biking into Your School Curriculum

The National Safe Routes to School Program on their International Walk to School Day website offers suggestions for incorporating walking and biking to school into classroom curriculum.  Some of these suggestions are listed below:

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> Art, Computer Class – Create posters promoting Walk to School Day and safe driving and walking messages.

> Geography – Survey and create maps of walking routes to school.

> Health – Use pedometers to measure steps, or simply measure walking time accumulated by students; study health benefits of physical activity.

> Physical Education – Do some physical conditioning. Learn walking warm-ups and stretches and do some progressively longer walks in class to prepare for Walk to School Day.

> Mathematics – Keep logs of walking time or steps; calculate speeds and distances, individual and group averages, trends and statistical analyses (do boys or girls walk more?)

> Physics – Study the biomechanics of walking. For example, measure stride lengths-do they vary with height, weight, age, leg length? How does walking speed depend on you step speed and stride length?

> Biology – Look for specific plant or animal species, or inventory indigenous species along walking routes. Catalog seasonal changes in the flora and fauna.

> English – Write press releases and public service announcements to promote Walk to School Day. Write essays or keep a diary about your experiences walking.

> History – Study historical locations in your community by walking to them.

> Social Sciences – Photograph important things about your community observed while walking to school. Anything you’d like to change? What can you do about it?

Curriculum Guide

Going Places Making Choices: Transportation and the Environment curriculum National 4H Council  (Grades 9-12)

This curriculum guide developed by the National 4H Council uses transportation as the hub from which to explore environmental sciences, culture, and value systems. The units in this guide focus on transportation and mobility issues. Unit topics are listed below:

> Unit 1: A Cruise through History: A look at where we’ve been and where we’re going

> Unit 2: Natural Resources and Energy Use

> Unit 3: Sweating over Climate Change: Air pollution and climate change

> Unit 4: Land Use: Leaving Our Imprint on the Earth

> Unit 5: A Matter of Choice: Going Places, Making Choices, Taking Action

Each unit has background subject information, activities, and handouts. The curriculum also includes an educator’s guide and resource lists. The material can be ordered by visiting National 4H Council.

Cars of Tomorrow and the American Community

Through this unit created by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, students identify how alternatively fueled cars of tomorrow can be used in their community. It contains an introductory activity that helps students determine which energy and transportation issues are important to them and their communities, and three research sections about alternative fueled vehicles that address availability and distribution; emissions and health; and operation, maintenance, and refueling.  With each lesson, students discover another social, scientific, or technical aspect of cutting-edge automotive technologies and fuels. (Source: Northeast Sustainable Energy Association)

Download Guide here

A guide for classroom presenters on earth friendly transportation

This document provides tips on bringing speakers and demonstrations into the classroom on the topic of transportation. It contains a guide for inviting speakers as well as a guide for hosting technology demonstrations and offers helpful suggestions for teachers in preparing for an event of this type. (Source: Northeast Sustainable Energy Association)

Download the Guide

Transportation Fuels: The Future is Today (Grades 5-8, 9-12)

Curriculum: Science, Social Studies, Math, Language Arts, Technology

This teacher guide provides extensive background information on transportation fuels to help students learn about conventional and alternative transportation fuels by evaluating their advantages and disadvantages. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy)

In addition, there are six suggested activities:

> Learning about transportation fuels
> Conducting research on transportation fuels
> Write papers on the fuel choices
> Develop a plan for a city to reduce emissions from their vehicles
> Teaching others about transportation fuels
> Calculating payback periods

Download the Teachers Guide to this Activity

Biodiesel Curriculum Guide (Grades 4-12)

The purpose of this guide is to teach students about biodiesel and encourage them to evaluate its economic and environmental advantages and disadvantages. It provides background information on biodiesel as an alternative fuel at three reading levels – elementary, intermediate, and secondary – with activities to reinforce knowledge and develop critical thinking and research skills. (Source: The National Energy Education Project (NEED)

Download the Biodiesel Curriculum Guide

Project Cleaner Cars Module

This module was created by the National Safety Council to reduce air pollution by encouraging responsible car maintenance and driving habits among future drivers. It is intended to be used in conjunction a driver’s education program, health science, or auto shop classes. This manual and the student manual can be downloaded/printed from the National Safety Council’s website at (Source: National Safety Council)