TeachingEnglish
Cycling

Age range: 10 - adult
Theme: Cycling
Lexical area: Transport

Instructions for language assistants in Italics

Classroom materials

Introduction:
This lesson is about cycling. Task 1 is a simple drawing dictation of a bike. Task 2 is a multi-level cycling survey and Task 3 offers some statements about cycling for students to agree or disagree with. Task 4 is a reading text called Pedal Power from the British Council’s Trend UK department which looks at cycling in the UK. Task 5 is a role-play set in a bike shop and Task 6 gets students to design a poster for a ‘Get on your Bike’ campaign. (This lesson could be combined nicely with some of the tasks from the lesson on Climate Change.)

1. Drawing dictation
To introduce this topic you could start with a drawing dictation. You will give instructions for your students to draw a simple line drawing of a bicycle. The best way to do this is to sketch a bike yourself before the class on a small piece of paper, then look at the paper as you describe the shapes. Keep it as simple as possible and remember to grade your language to the level you’re teaching. For example, “draw a circle in the bottom left hand side of the box. Now draw a circle, the same size as the first, in the bottom left hand side. Connect the two circles with a horizontal line at the top…etc, etc.” If you have a high level class you could really go to town with this and dictate a scene of a cyclist in amongst traffic. They could also label the parts of the bike if you feel this vocabulary may be useful to them.

When everyone has a picture of a bicycle, compare drawings and introduce today’s topic of cycling
.

Task 1 Drawing dictation
Listen to your teacher and draw what he / she describes in the box below.

 



2. Cycling Survey
This is a class survey which can adapted to any level. There are two simple questions already. The other questions should come from the students before you start. Ask students what type of questions they could ask their classmates about cycling. Write their ideas on the board then ask students to complete the survey with the five questions that they would like to know the answers to. For example:

  • Do you have a bike, if so what’s it like?
  • Do you think that (their city) has enough cycle tracks?
  • Do you think cycling is a good alternative to cars?
  • Have you ever fallen off a bike?
  • Do you think car drivers respect cyclists enough?


(As always, grade the language to the level you’re teaching).
With lower levels, spend some time drilling the questions so students are confident when they ask them. The students should then all stand up and mingle and ask their questions to six classmates. If you have a large class, put students into groups of seven to make it less chaotic.
When students have gathered the information ask them to tell you what they found out or to write a short summary of their findings.


Task 2 Cycling Survey

Names            
Do you like cycling?            
How often do you ride a bike            
             
             
             



3. Cycling statements: Do you agree or disagree?
This could be done as a whole class or in pairs. Adapt the statements if necessary depending on whether or not you’re living in a cycling-friendly place or not. With lower levels, give the students some examples of how they can react to the statements and leave some examples on the board for them to refer to. For example, ‘I completely disagree with you because…’ ‘That’s the most ridiculous think I’ve ever heard!’ etc.

Task 3 Cycling statements: Do you agree or disagree?
Read these statements about cycling. Do you agree or disagree? Try to explain your reasons!

  • Cycle helmets should be compulsory.
  • All towns and cities should have cycle paths.
  • Car drivers should be encouraged to start cycling.
  • Cyclists are really annoying for car drivers!
  • Cyclists should have to pass an exam before they use the roads.
  • Cars should be banned!
  • Bicycles should be banned!
  • Bicycles should be cheaper or even free.




4. Pedal Power: Reading
Put students into pairs to do the task, they can read the text and decide on the best heading for the paragraphs. As always, pre-teach new vocabulary for lower levels.
Answers:
1)c
2)a
3)d
4)b


Task 4 Pedal Power: Reading
Read the text on cycling in the UK and put the paragraph headings in the correct place.

a) Cycle friendly cities
b) Getting the look
c) On your bike
d) New bike technology

 

Pedal Power


1)

More people in the UK are taking to their bikes - partly to do with a fear of public transport after the 7 July bombing, but also because we are being encouraged to lead healthier lifestyles.

2)

Cycling England is a new government-funded body charged with promoting cycling across the country. It is investing £17 million into a group of English ‘demonstration towns’ - Aylesbury, Brighton, Darlington, Derby, Exeter and Lancaster - to create a cycle-friendly environment, offer safety training and generally encourage residents to take up cycling. Cycling England is also hoping to encourage more children to cycle to school to improve their fitness; £15 million will be spent on linking schools with existing bike lanes and training children in cycling proficiency.

3)

Deciding to buy a bike opens up a whole new exciting world of cycling technology. Sir Clive Sinclair, inventor of the pocket calculator and the ill-fated C5 road buggy, has just launched the A-bike. Called the A-bike due to the shape of its frame, it is half the weight of existing fold-up bikes and half the price (£199). The bike was launched in London and tested by a class of 11-13 year olds who said it was ‘lightweight and cool’ and ‘better than my BMX’, although it is apparently difficult to control. There is also the electric bike for when those hills get too much. It does sound like cheating, although you can turn the throttle off when you fancy some exercise – not sure how many people would though… As Ian, 28, from Cheshire says, ‘There seems to be an endless stream of new bikes coming out, ranging from new hybrids of current bikes, e.g. jump bikes, through to the second coming of retro classic bikes such as the chopper and the American cruiser.’

4)

People customise their bikes as well - from flags on choppers to spray painting, shiny wheels and even speakers! The Guardian newspaper even offers tips for the female fashion conscious cyclist: you don’t have to wear cycling shorts with a pointy helmet. Rounded helmets are better and apparently, ‘this is a lucky summer for cyclists’ with the winner being culottes - ‘these ride like a trouser but walk like a skirt’.

So looks like it’s time to get on your bike!

 


5. Best bikes: Roleplay
This is quite a challenging role play and your students will need some information before they start. They will need to know a little about the following types of bikes:

  • Fold-up bikes
    http://www.bromptonbicycle.co.uk/ - pictures of a Brompton fold-up bike in different stages.
  • Mountain bikes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_bicycle
  • Racing bikes
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racing_bicycle
  • Electric bikes
    www.PowaCycle.co.uk
  • Retro bikes (like the Chopper)
    http://www.rcoc.co.uk/ - site of the Raleigh Chopper Owners’ Club!


Use the web links to download some photos of each type of bike if possible. As a group discuss the advantages and disadvantages of owning these types of bike in the city where you are. They will also need to understand the idea of getting commission on sales. Cut up the role play cards and put students into pairs, one being the sales person and the other the customer. Give out the cards randomly so that most pairs don’t match. For example, the sales person wants to sell a racing bike to somebody who wants to buy an electric bike. The students will have to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of bike


Task 5 Best bikes: Role play

1 - Sales person

You work in a bike shop. This week your boss will pay you double commission if you sell a fold-up bike.

Try to persuade your customer that it’s the best type of bicycle to have.

 

2 - Sales person

You work in a bike shop. This week your boss will pay you double commission if you sell a mountain bike.

Try to persuade your customer that it’s the best type of bicycle to have.

 

3 - Sales person

You work in a bike shop. This week your boss will pay you double commission if you sell a racing bike.

Try to persuade your customer that it’s the best type of bicycle to have.

 

4 - Sales person

You work in a bike shop. This week your boss will pay you double commission if you sell an electric bike.

Try to persuade your customer that it’s the best type of bicycle to have.

 

5 - Sales person

You work in a bike shop. This week your boss will pay you double commission if you sell a retro bike.

Try to persuade your customer that it’s the best type of bicycle to have.

 

A - Customer

You want to buy a new bike. You haven’t decided which type of bike to buy but you would prefer a racing bike.

 

B - Customer

You want to buy a new bike. You haven’t decided which type of bike to buy but you would prefer a retro bike.

 

C - Customer

You want to buy a new bike. You haven’t decided which type of bike to buy but you would prefer a mountain bike.

 

D - Customer

You want to buy a new bike. You haven’t decided which type of bike to buy but you would prefer an electric bike.

 

E - Customer

You want to buy a new bike. You haven’t decided which type of bike to buy but you would prefer a gold-up bike.



6. Get on your bike! Poster design.
This task is for younger students and could be used to given as homework if class time is short. Students could work individually or in groups. Tell students that their local council (or whatever the equivalent is where you are) are holding a competition. They want to encourage more people to use bicycles instead of cars. Depending on the level, get students to think of a slogan and to think of reasons why cycling may be a better option than driving. You could brainstorm ideas together before they start.

Task 6 Get on your bike! Poster design.
Draw your poster here.

 



Internet links

Information from the tourist board on cycling in the UK.
http://www.enjoyengland.com/

The homepage of Sustrans, a Sustainable Transport charity.
http://www.sustrans.org.uk/

A map of Britain’s cycle tracks.
http://www.sustrans.org.uk/webfiles/general/NationalMap2006.pdf -

Short films about bicycles
http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/0-9/3MWbicycle/winners.html

Why Cycle? Information for new and potential cyclists in the UK.
http://www.whycycle.co.uk/index.shtml

By Jo Budden

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