Once Upon a Bike (EnerAction)
Students consider what they like about biking and play a true-or-false game to discover how the use of bikes differs over time and place. Students interview someone who can tell them about cycling in another time or place to help them learn more about the historical, cultural and social roles of bikes. Students identify any obstacles to cycling, then come up with a bike design that overcomes some of those obstacles. They also suggest changes to rules, roads, and other infrastructure that might increase the amount people cycle.
Time Required: 4 hours
EnerAction web sites provides curriculum connections for grades 4 to 7 in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.
To make connections between culture, history, infrastructure and governance and their relative influence on the role of cycling in communities.
To set criteria and then make a selection about who to interview on biking.
To conduct an interview based on a student-generated or student-modified questionnaire.
To identify what affects choices, to understand obstacles and to suggest solutions to biking challenges.
LEAD IN - 45 minutes
1. Ask students to make a journal entry on biking. You may wish to introduce biking with a picture book or short story. For younger students, consider "Let's Go: The Story of Getting from There to Here" by Lizann Flatt. Give students the choice to write about themselves or a character in a book. To help get them started, pose questions:
- What do you like about bikes and biking?
- What is your favourite cycling memory?
- What type of biking do you enjoy?
- What are the pros and cons of using a bike for transportation?
2. Have students pair up to share their entries and identify four important points that came up in their discussions.
3. Have the pairs complete the handout, Cycling: True or False? (Lesson 14 attachment). Explain that they are to read each statement and make a quick decision and mark whether it is true (T) or false (F).
4. After the students have worked through all of the statements, provide each pair with a copy of the answer key (Lesson 14 attachment). Ask students to discuss the information on the sheet they did not match correctly.
5. Have the pairs move into groups of four and ask them to share two pieces of new knowledge and what surprised them the most.
6. Invite the groups to share what surprised them most with the class.
MAIN ACTIVITY - 165 minutes
7. Tell students that to learn more about cycling from another time or place, they will be interviewing someone. Explain that the goal of the interview is to gather information about the everyday role of bicycles in another time or place, to explore how things are different then and now, and to identify any challenges their interviewee might have with riding.
8. Explain that anyone who has ridden a bike may have an interesting story to tell. Ask students what they think would make a story interesting. Gather ideas from the class.
9. As a class, discuss how to set criteria for selecting someone suitable for an interview. You may wish to draw on these examples to support diverse perspectives:
- A senior would know about cycling in a different time.
- Someone from another place - someone new to Canada or someone who has travelled a lot - would know about cycling in a different place. Note that Cities for Mobility (www.cities-for-mobility.net) offer perspectives from Europe.
- Someone who rides a bike for fun every chance they have might have an interesting story to tell.
- Someone who cycles to and from work might have an interesting story to tell.
Ideally, students will conduct face-to-face interviews, but alternatively, they could choose someone they could interview by phone or video conference (e.g. Skype). If students are finding it difficult to arrange interviews, consider inviting several people from the community to visit, or be visited by, the class.
10. Ask students to list who they could interview and indicate why that person would be a good choice and how they would be able to meet. Have students rank their choices using the criteria they helped develop in the previous step.
11. Hand out a letter to communicate information about the project to parents (a sample is provided in the Lesson 14 attachment). Ask students to review, with their parents, the criteria and their list of people before finalizing their selection and setting up the interview.
12. Before the interview, ask students to predict what their interviewee might tell them about cycling and add this to their notes.
13. Discuss what makes a good interview question. Generate a variety of questions, as a class or in teams. Use the sample questions below to assist you.
- What do you like about cycling?
- When and where did you start cycling?
- What was cycling like there at that time?
- When did you do the most cycling? What was it about those times that made cycling a big part of your life?
- What is your best cycling memory?
- Do you still cycle or when was the last time you went cycling?
- A lot of people find cycling is not their first choice when they are choosing a way to get around. What do you think is the problem?
- What would you need to cycle more?
- What kind of features would you like on a bike?
- How would you like our town to be organized for more cycling?
- Why do you care about this issue?
- Is there anything else about cycling that you would like to add?
- Do you have any questions for me?
14. Identify which questions would be suitable for most interviews and have each student select a total of ten questions that suit the person they plan to interview. Alternatively you could select ten as a class that all students would use and prepare a handout.
15. Conduct a peer review for the interview questions and provide students time to exchange ideas and make revisions.
16. Hand out and discuss the Keys to a Good Interview (Lesson 14 attachment) and specify when the interview needs to be completed. If students have access to a tape recorder, tell them they may want to take it with them.
17. When the interviews are complete, have students share their findings in small groups. Ask groups to summarize and share their most interesting observations.
18. As a class, have groups share their findings and explore the obstacles people faced or face around biking. You may want to sequence your discussion: for example, What did cycling used to be like? What is biking like in other places? What prevents people from biking more?
19. During the discussion, write a list of obstacles to cycling for everyone to see. This list may include topics such as weather, safety, skills and bike access.
20. Use the following examples to assist in drawing out students' ideas on how to address obstacles to biking:
- Design a license place with a clever slogan to encourage drivers to keep their distance from bicyclists.
- Design some safety equipment that riders can wear or impose new safety rules for motorists.
- Establish times when roads are dedicated to cyclists and motorized vehicles are not allowed,
- Create special bike lanes on existing roads or suggest special bike designs (e.g., three-wheelers for elderly cyclists).
- Use a railway line that is no longer being used for trains as a commuter bike trail.
- Add two to three new rules for the road to increase bicycle use.
- Redesign transit routes, sidewalks and/or roads.
21. Have students design a special bike, or a place, that would encourage people to get out and bike more. Instruct students to provide a labelled diagram with a paragraph to explain how their design helps achieve this goal.
WRAP UP - 30 minutes
22. Ask students to summarize what they learned and record any changes to their own plans for cycling by adding an information box with a personal note to their design.
23. Invited students to share their designs with the class. They could create an attractive display on a high traffic area bulletin board, for example. Lead a discussion to identify how students could share their interviews and designs with other students and their community.
Complete Assessment Rubric provided in the Lesson 14 attachment.
Web Pages Used
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