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Contests | Lesson Plans | Evaluation Tools


Encouragement activities make it fun for students to walk or bike to school! Each guidebook has instructions on how to organize, publicize, and implement the activities in detail. Download your copy today!

Frequent Rider Miles Guidebook (PDF) – Each student is issued a card on which they track each time they walk, bike, carpool, or ride the bus to and from school. As the students accumulate points they can get rewarded, whether walking, biking, taking the bus or carpooling. A raffle is then held at the end of the contest for all participants to further reward the students.

The Golden Sneaker Award (PDF) is a competition between homeroom classes that rewards the class with the greatest number of students who walk, bike, carpool or ride the bus to school in a given month. The teacher keeps track of how often students commute by these modes at the end of each week, and calculates the totals per commute mode at the end of the month. The class with the most participation overall (regardless of the mode breakdown) wins the Golden Sneaker Award and gets to display their award throughout the month. This contest fosters teamwork and allows students who cannot walk or bike to school to participate in this group transportation contest.

Lesson Plans

These lessons are used by SRTS partners involved in doing classroom education. They offer students lessons that cover walking and biking safety, environmental stewardship, and personal responsibility.

This Is the Way We Go to School (Kindergarten)
In this  30 minute Kinder Lesson(PDF)  students will discuss the concept of “Transportation” looking at how they get to school and be exposed to how other children around the world get to school through the book, This is the Way We Go to School.  They will identify active ways of transport.  As an additional activity they can explore their available options for transport to and from school.

Using People Power (1st grade)
This 30 minute lesson (PDF) will introduce Safe Routes to Schools and discuss how different modes of
transportation are powered. Using People Power will expose students to the idea that burning gas and oil
to power vehicles causes pollutants to be put into the air while modes that do now use gas or oil are
clean, green alternatives. Students will learn about the importance of sharing one’s ride in order to
reduce the environmental impact of personal commutes to and from school. They will also learn about
the personal health benefits of getting “on the go.”

Handouts – English (PDF)
Handouts – Chinese (PDF)
Handouts – Spanish (PDF)

Pedestrian safety curricula (2nd grade)
“Stop! Look! Listen” (PDF) uses instruction, discussion, an educational video, practice in the classroom and an interactive game. Children will learn the importance of stopping at every edge, looking left, right, then left again, listening for cars and only crossing if it is clear.

“Walk Around the Block“ (PDF) enables students to put into practice the safety procedures from “Stop! Look! Listen!” Lesson leaders will each take groups of 7 to 10 on a walking route that includes one basic intersection, at least one crosswalk, a hidden driveway and an opportunity to cross around parked cars.

Bicycle safety curricula (4th grade)
“Helmet Safety” (PDF) is a demonstration-based lesson on the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet and on determining the proper helmet fit. The lesson also includes the short video “Travis’ Story,” to show the danger of not wearing a properly fitting helmet. The class discusses their experiences with crashes and close calls, and students are prompted to share what they could have done to avoid the situation, whether or not they were wearing a helmet, and how the helmet protected them from more serious injury.

“The Traffic Safety Game Show” (PDF) is based on the TV game show “Jeopardy,” with three categories: Walk This Way, Rules of the Road, and Safe Cycling. This lesson aims to develop bicycle and pedestrian safety knowledge. The class is divided into teams but the object is not to see which team scores the most points, but rather to see how many students answer all questions correctly.

“The Bicycle Safety Rodeo” (PDF) is a blacktop activity that teaches children the importance of stopping at every edge, looking for traffic and remaining in control at all times when riding a bike. The rodeo includes a series of bike-handling drills and activities that simulate the experience of biking in traffic situations. Each rodeo begins with a safety check of the students’ bicycles and helmets. The lesson leaders create four courses that enable the students to practice a variety of handling skills and safety procedures.

Evaluation Tools

SF Safe Routes to School works in partnership with SF Unified School District to collect meaningful data about student commutes. We use a Travel Tally, collaborate with the district-wide Student Commute Study and send out the Parent Survey.

See a snapshot of our data in our 2013 All Schools Data Summary!

SFUSD Student Commute Study

In August 2011, the SF Unified School District (SFUSD) included proximity to school as a key criteria in assigning kindergarteners to elementary schools.  This policy change created a unique opportunity during the 2010-11 school year to collect baseline data on school travel that form the basis of long-term evaluation.  Findings from this evaluation allow DPH, SFUSD and other agencies to identify schools in greatest need of Safe Routes to Schools programming and/or capital improvements. SF-SRTS hopes to secure additional funding in order to study student commute travel for the next 6 years to fully evaluate the effects of the reassignment policy and SRTS programs.

Commute Study Field Guide (PDF)
Prepared by Jennifer Linchey, BA, at the UCSF Department of Pediatrics, for the California Department of Public Health.

SFUSD Student Commute Study: Summary of Results from 2010-2013 This report summarizes student commute data for the 2010-11  through 2013-14 school  years. Each year, researchers collected data on approximately 12,500 students in grades K, 5, 6, and 9. Since 2010, rates of active commuting have remained relatively stable, with approximately 28% of kindergarten students, 24% of 5th grade students, 14% of 6th grade students, and 12% of high school students walking or biking to school. This report also presents data on the  proportion of K, 5, 6, and 9 students who lived within one-half and one mile of their school each year.

Data Collection Tools

Travel Tally
Each fall and spring, all classrooms at SF-SRTS schools are asked to conduct a student travel tally to learn how students commute to and from school. The tally provides feedback about how travel modes shift as the SRTS program makes an impact at each school.

Commute Images (PDF)
We recommend using these images help collect commute data from younger students (kindergarten-first grade). Images of walking, biking, car/truck, bus/train and carpooling.

National Safe Routes to School Travel Tally Form (PDF)

Parent Survey
A survey is sent home at the end of each funding cycle to ask parents/caregivers about how they make decisions for their children’s commute to and from school.

Parent Survey English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF) | Chinese (PDF)