Throughout our history, we humans have wanted to go from one place to another, and to take things from one place to another, so a lot of our ingenuity has gone into transportation.
We have a number of relevant classroom themes and lesson plan collections already posted:
- Trucks lesson plans
- Cars classroom theme
- Hot air balloons
- Airplane classroom theme
- Travel classroom theme
- Hiking classroom theme
- How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
- Oh, the Places You’ll Go
What if you want to have a more general transportation theme? Of course, you can mix and match ideas from the different themes. However, we have some fun ideas for general transportation themes.
These vehicle posters could make a great starting point for your transportation theme.
Post them for a fun decorative board, or arrange them in a line across the board to create a graph. Then have students research different characteristics of the vehicles and fill out the graph. Some questions to answer:
- Where would you find this vehicle?
- How fast does it go?
- What kind of power does it use?
- What does it carry?
- Is it used for work or play?
- What jobs is it associated with?
- How many students have seen one of these?
Do the same thing with pictures of various forms of transportation cut from magazines, if you like to include students in the process.
A signpost bulletin board is another great option. Write different locations and their distance from your classroom (easy to find — just Google “How far from Sydney to Miami?” or wherever you are) on the arms of the signpost, or write goals like, “Memorizing the Multiplication Tables” and “Confident reading.”
There are more signpost options to coordinate.
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Slogans for a transportation theme:
- Here we go!
- Let’s go!
- Look at us go!
- Moving on!
There are cute printables around for younger grades:
- DLTK has quite a few, including games and worksheets.
- Print a cute transportation mini poster in French
- Alphabet cards to print
- Preschool transportation printables
Once you’ve introduced the various vehicles, play a game to introduce map work. This can be done with the whole class, if you have a projector hooked up to your computer, or it can make a great pair activity for the computer lab. It’s simple enough to use at the beginning of the semester to get used to the technology, but conceptually complex enough for students of all ages.
- Go to the Random Global Point Generator.
- Have two students each generate a random point (choose “Select Whole Earth”). Each time, click on “See it on map” to find the point on Google maps.
- Decide as a class what form of transportation would be the best choice between the two points. Require good reasons, to an age-appropriate degree.
- Finish up with a paragraph writing assignment. Depending on the ages of the students, you might have students write about their favorite vehicle and why they like it, a story about traveling between the two points of their choice, or about the criteria that emerged (convenience, environmental impact, fun?) during the class discussion.
You can also add transportation cutouts or word cards to your classroom timeline or classroom map. Again, this is simple enough to use as an introduction to these classroom elements, but it can bring up higher level concepts as students research questions like, “Which came first, the taxi cab or the tractor?”
We also like to use things like toy cars or boats to explore movement:
We like this theme to introduce students to some of the the main areas of the classroom. You’ll notice that the activities listed above can introduce all these classroom areas:
- computer center
- math area (use the graph or Learning Resources MiniMotors Counters)
- writing area
- science area
This makes a great theme to start off the school year!