Intermediate and secondary: age 11-14 teaching ideas

By the time children reach secondary school they are likely to be becoming much more independent as road users and, as such, are exposed to increased road risks. This means their ongoing road safety education is vital, especially given that road crashes are the biggest cause of deaths and serious injuries among young people.

See our information on 'what to teach' for more advice before you get started and see our resources section for materials to help you. You can also make use of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's education web pages.

Use the resources in our young people and road safety section to help run interactive road safety workshops and campaigns.

Study statistics on deaths and injuries on roads

Explore statistics surrounding various road safety topics or use the government's road casualty statistics. Find visually engaging and significant ways to display them (e.g. pie charts and bar graphs). Make a display for other pupils to look at.

Explore the alternatives to cars

Hold a discussion about the benefits of walking and cycling for health, the environment and social interaction, alongside the barriers that sometimes prevent people from walking and cycling, and the hazards people on foot and bike may be exposed to. Explore what authorities and drivers can do to make walking and cycling safer and the importance of this. Explore what changes the students think are needed in your area to make walking and cycling safer and more appealing.

Road safety quizzes

Explore areas in which pupils feel they need to extend their knowledge of road safety - e.g. bicycle maintenance. You could devise a quiz to test their knowledge.

Survey your students

Get the students thinking about and discussing road safety, by surveying them on their experiences and attitudes towards road safety, as part of a discussion-based lesson. You could then use the results to spur further work, such as a science experiment or creative project (see suggestions below) based around a particular issue you identify.

Survey others

Get the students to devise and carry out a survey of the risks that other people take on roads and their motives and attitudes towards road safety. Focus on surveying a particular group, or more than one group, such as pupils who cycle, parents who drive to school, or older pupils who are coming up to the age when they might start learning to drive. For example a survey of 17 year-olds' attitudes to driving or being a passenger with other young drivers. Get the students to analyse the results and propose what could be done to encourage safer behaviour.

Look at the aftermath of road crashes

Explore the aftermath of crashes. Ask pupils to write a fictional newspaper article about a crash caused by a young driver that caused a death and serious injuries, including interviews with a police officer who attended the scene, a bereaved family member and injured victim. To help pupils understand the severity of injuries in road crashes and the impact of bereavement you could play Brake's victims' stories and videos on an interactive whiteboard, or consider inviting a local A&E nurse or surgeon to talk to students about life-changing injuries. (Some may think that injuries are always minor or recoverable, so this can help them realise their severity.) You could also ask pupils to research stories of road crashes and casualties online.

Study stopping distances

Study momentum. Why does it take vehicles longer to brake and stop if they are going at faster speed or are heavier? Use a chart of stopping distances at different speeds as part of an activity on an interactive white board, looking at different scenarios. For example, if someone steps out six car lengths ahead, will a driver travelling at 50km/h be able to stop in time? What about at 30km/h? Use this to explore the difference it makes when drivers slow down, especially for the safety of people on foot and bike.

The science of road safety

Study scientific improvements in road safety, such as seat belts, air bags, crash helmets, protective clothing for motorbike riders, reflective and fluorescent materials, variable speed limits on motorways. Devise science tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of such improvements, such as how reflective material glows in the dark when a light is shone on it. Stress that scientific improvements help to improve safety, but people also need to be committed to using roads safely. It's estimated that 95% of crashes are caused by human error. You could also consider the future: could 'driverless' vehicle technology help to stop road casualties?

Local survey of road safety

Survey local roads for hazards (e.g. fast traffic - your local police force may be able to visit you and carry out speed checks outside the school with the children) and for road safety measures (e.g. crossings, wide pavements, cycle paths, and lower speed limits). Show these hazards and road safety measures on a map, or take photos or videos. Create a display for other pupils and parents. You can create your own custom maps for free (or for a small cost for added customisation options) using Google maps. This could be displayed and discussed in class using an interactive white board. Use it to discuss how pupils can take advantage of safety features and safer routes, and avoid hazards, and to discuss what changes could be made in the area to improve safety. You could provide this as a report to your local authority, calling for road safety measures, and use this as the basis for a community campaign led by the students.

Review road safety adverts

Watch road safety adverts and look at road safety poster campaigns (such as those on Brake's YouTube channel). Are they effective? Who are they aimed at? Do they get the message across well? If not, could you do any better? Task the pupils with a creative project to develop their own road safety adverts, for example posters, billboards, bus-back adverts or films (see below).

Create your own poster, advert or performance piece

Create a poster, advert, film, or play about a road safety issue. Posters or adverts could be based on promoting one or more messages from Brake's Pledge, or on a specific issue pertinent to your school (like trying to persuade drivers to slow down in the area to protect people on foot). A play could explore the temptations and pressures to take risks on roads, and the possible consequences. For example, being in a hurry, or being with friends who want to mess about on the road with a football, or being with older friends who want you to get in a car with a dangerous driver who speeds. Discuss the emotions pupils feel in these situations and how to 'speak up' for the safe option.

Campaign using your creative project

Use a poster, advert, film, or play by the pupils to build awareness locally and to campaign for change around a specific road safety issue that is affecting your school's area, or that the class feels strongly about. You may be able to work with your local authority, emergency services or local businesses to get creative projects and road safety messages out in your local area, and read our guide to community campaigning on working to achieve road safety measures.

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