Offer prizes to classrooms with the most number of students who use green ways to get to school (walk, bike, bus or carpool) during a set period of time (week or month). Schools can use a punch-card or token system for students to keep track of the number of walking or biking trips they take to and from school. Students can track their alternative transportation miles and carbon dioxide savings online, as well as start a “team” at www.saveagallon.org.
One popular competition is the “Golden Sneaker Award”. Students who use a green way to school receive a hand stamp, and teachers take a count of the number of students in their classes. A chart can be displayed in a common area of the school with the number of students per class participating (1 sticker for every 5 students). The class with the most number of students wins the Golden Sneaker Award and gets to display their award throughout the month. Find out more at Marin County’s Safe Routes to School website: http://www.saferoutestoschools.org/download.html
Incorporating Walking and Biking into Classroom Curriculum
- Art, Computer Class – Create posters or images promoting Walk and Bike to School Day and safe driving, walking, and biking messages.
- Geography – Survey and create maps of walking routes to school.
- Health - Measure walking or biking time accumulated by students; study health benefits of physical activity. Use pedometers to measure steps.
- Physical education – Have students do physical conditioning. Learn walking warm-ups and stretches and do some progressively longer walks in class to prepare for Walk to School Day.
- Mathematics – Keep logs of walking time or steps; calculate speeds and distances, individual and group averages, trends and statistical analyses.
- Physics – Study the biomechanics of walking. For example, measure stride lengths-do they vary with height, weight, age, or leg length? How does walking speed depend on step speed and stride length?
- Biology - Look for plant or animal species, or inventory native plant species along walking routes. Catalogue seasonal changes in the flora and fauna.
- English – Write press releases and public service announcements to promote Walk to School Day. Write essays or keep a diary about walking and biking experiences.
- History – Walk to historical locations in your community and study their significance.
- Social Sciences – Photograph important things about your community observed while walking or biking to school. Is there anything you would change? What can you do about it?