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Map IT. Bike IT. Walk IT

Elementary, Middle


This resource is built around an engaging student-led field activity.  Students develop their own personal geographies, increase their awareness of environmental and safety issues related to transportation in their local area, and explore green transportation methods to get to and from school.

In Lesson One, the students complete activities which focus on awareness of the school neighborhood, as well as introducing some useful map skills and geographic vocabulary. In addition, students are asked to share their feelings about the area, both positive and negative.

In Lesson Two, students undertake field work in the area around the school. Working individually and in groups, they use different data collection strategies, including counting pedestrian, car and bicycle traffic, sketching  soundscapes, recording their emotions and taking digital photographs.

In Lesson Three, students work together to create a map of the school catchment area, highlighting bikeability routes.  After analyzing their data, students write letters to their Town/City Councils suggesting ways to make the area around the school better for walking and cycling.

Each lesson consists of a downloadable lesson plan, a teacher’s guide, and a PowerPoint.


General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Collecting,displaying and analyzing geographical data
  • Interpreting trends and patterns in data
  • Communicating results using data tables, maps, and drawings
  • Working together with team members to develop and carry out a plan
  • Creating written and media text in a variety of forms


  • Activities are hands-on and relevant to both the school and community
  • Has a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Group work allows for shared dialogue, and incidental peer teaching
  • Solutions are open-ended
  • Has local focus
  • Individual and group data collection sheets are easy to use and understand
  • Has examples of student work
  • Key questions are suggested for introductory activities
  • Learning outcomes are clearly stated and PowerPoints of  lesson instructions are provided
  • Teaching guides give descriptions of advanced prep required by the teacher
  • Links are relevant to the topic and appropriate for both teachers and students
  • An outdoor experiential learning opportunity


  • Assessment tools are not provided
  • Data collation for the word cloud generation (wordle) is labor intensive for the teacher
  • Teacher needs knowledge of excel spreadsheets to compile data
  • Teacher has intensive advance prep with providing group sets of pictures of the school catchment area and finding maps of these
  • Adult volunteers are needed for each group when doing their field work

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource could be used in a geography or social studies class to carry out community awareness activities with regards to their own personal geographies and the emotional reactions they have for places they travel through daily. It is also a fine example of first-hand data collection and collation which could serve as a stretch learning opportunity to address data management outcomes in a math class. Heath education teachers could use this to study the role that active transportation and community improvements have on both physical and mental fitness as well as overall wellness. The promotion of green transportation could also be linked to energy conservation, and sustainable ecosystems in science courses.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (1)

    • Transportation

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The resource aims to increase knowledge and build positive attitudes for responsible and sustainable practices and healthy lifestyles.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The student-led approach promotes dialogue and discussion within groups of students and encourages open-ended solutions. The activities also relate environmental issues to personal wellness.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Students share their result with the community. A letter writing campaign to city/town council promotes awareness of the importance of active transportation routes and safe communities.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

School catchment areas are often diverse in nature and this highlights the differences caused by varying socio-economic situations.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Very Good
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Throughout the resource students are encouraged to develop and consider their own thoughts and opinions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

The resource provides opportunities to address outcomes in geography, social studies, science, language arts, art and heath education.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

Activities are varied and do teach to both the cognitive and affective domains. There are no accommodations suggested for those individuals  with learning difficulties but appropriate groupings could minimize difficulty for struggling learners.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

Student-led field work is the primary focus.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

Teachers must provide all summative and formative assessment tools and rubrics.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

No case studies are provided, but the students are in fact, conducting their own.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

Students collect the data, are given the opportunity to interpret it and then choose the issue they would like to address.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.