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Transportation Unit Lesson Plan for Primary Students

written by: Pam Cannon • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 1/5/2012

This activity-based lesson plan will link several areas of the curriculum into the theme of transportation. Primary students love the subject and will be active participants in the Beep, Honk, Zoom of the unit!

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    Using literature and activities this lesson on Transportation will spark student's interest , stimulate their imagination, and link areas of the curriculum.

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    Whole Group Instruction

    Gather students together and share one of the many fiction or non-fiction books related to this topic. Here are a few favorites to get you started.

    Going to Grandma's by John Tarlton. This is a delightful account of twelve reasons the author hates going to Grandma's - most of them to do with travel in the family car.

    Gilbert and the Bicycle by Jack Harvey. This book has wide appeal for primary children. It is the story of Gilbert the frog who could not jump properly. The other frogs make fun of him and he runs away from home. He meets a hedgehog and that begins an exciting and adventuresome day.

    Gus the Bus by Olga Cossi. Gus is a school bus who always does exactly as he is told - until the day he gets a new set of tires.

    The Wheels on the Bus by Maryann Kovalski.An adaptation of the traditional song that is beautifully illustrated showing a delightful collection of people on the bus.

    Wheel Away by Dayle Ann Dodds. The story of a run-away wheel. There is a 'join-in' chorus and this book would be a wonderful way to encourage story mapping.

    After reading the story discuss the book. What mode of transportation did each of the characters use?

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    Language Link

    Explain to the students that the word "transportation" means: trans - across and port - carry.

    On chart paper make a list of every different kind of transportation that the students can think of - don't forget camels, canal barges, pioneer wagons and horses.

    Go through the list and encourage the students to make the sounds made by each form of transportation.

    Look at the list again and for each word clap the number of syllables.

    Find all the words that have the same beginning sound and circle them or underline them in different colors. For instance all the 'b' words circle the 'b's' in red.

    Give each student a sheet with each of the activity stations listed. Explain to them that as they complete an activity they should draw a 'happy' face if they thought that they had done a very good job, a 'neutral' face if they thought that they had done an OK job, or an 'unhappy' face if they thought that they could have done better. These will be self-evaluations.

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    Activity Stations

    While the group is together explain each activity station, and then invite the students to work at their own pace through the various tasks.

    Story Writing

    Choose a mode of transportation. Write a story about a special journey you took using this transportation.Encourage students to use the books and the lists that have been developed.


    Did the student communicate ideas relevant to the task?

    Did the student use and spell vocabulary appropriate to grade level?


    Conduct car trials in a corner of the classroom or in the hallway. Make a ramp one block high and measure how far a toy car will travel when sent down the ramp. Now change the ramp to two blocks high and use the same car. Continue to add blocks and compare distances.


    Did the student understand the difference between the various ramps and distances?

    Was the student able to rationalize why there was a difference in distances?

    Science and Technology

    Design a car park. Provide large sheets of paper and a collection of toy cars. How many cars can be parked safely on the sheet? Provide small boxes for the students to make multi-storey car parks.


    Did the student provide adequate room for each car to park safely?

    Did the student use the boxes in innovative ways to build a car park?

    Did the student use his or her imagination?

    Social Studies - Local Communities

    Provide a list of local towns, villages or communities. Provide another list of goods that trucks could deliver. Invite students to combine these two lists into a 'log' book for a week. e.g. On Monday I went to _________. I delivered some ________.


    Did the student differentiate between 'goods' and 'communities' ?

    Did the student follow the pattern of the log book?