From young students who are just learning about the ways different vehicles move, to adults who are trying to figure out how to relieve the traffic congestion during the rush hour commute, everyone can related to the topic of transportation. In a classroom a whole unit can be constructed around transportation to help students understand how their world works, expand their views on transportation and get them thinking outside the box.
Arts and Crafts Projects
For younger children, learning how to identify the different types of transportation and the parts of vehicles is an important first step that can be addressed through craft projects. These can be very simple templates of boats, cars and trains for them the cutout, while discussing things like which ones need tracks, wings and wheels. Or you can try something more elaborate for more advanced students, such as making paper or balsa wood airplanes that glide.
Around the World Transportation Book
Show students all different modes of transportation from around the world and from different eras. Include methods such as travel by camel, by rickshaw, by canoe and don't forget on foot. Have each student pick one mode, or assign them a mode to depict in a drawing, and write a short summary about it. Then compile all of the different modes of transportation into a class transportation booklet and give each student a copy.
Students who are old enough to focus more on problem-solving will benefit from a project involving their communities and the modes of transportation used in them. Study what modes are used the most often, what modes are available and talk about what problems transportation can cause, such as traffic or pollution. Transportation can also be a topic to discuss from the perspective of career development for older students. Discuss and investigate professions involved in aerodynamics, mechanics, at NASA and at the local Department of Transportation.
English Language Learner Projects
A transportation-themed unit for students who are learning English can be very helpful for giving them basic skills for their lives. Give students transportation vocabulary including what certain vehicles are called and directional vocabulary. Have them practice talking about the way they get to school, the modes of transportation used in their countries, and have them practice asking each other for directions in small skits.
Suzanne Akerman began writing in 2000. She has worked as a consultant at Pacific Lutheran University's Writing Center and her works have been published in the creative arts journal "Saxifrage." Akerman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in education from Pacific Lutheran University.