Sustainable living: transport

This lesson explores the theme of sustainable living in relation to transport.

Claudia Richardson

This lesson introduces primary learners to the concept of sustainable living. Learners will become aware of being able to make a difference in protecting the environment. The class works in small groups as well as a whole class. They carry out a class survey, make calculations about means of transport and produce a visual wall display illustrating the results of their survey. Learners should have some sight reading skills and know some basic means of transport.

Learning outcomes

  • Practise transport vocabulary
  • Practise the structure 'How do you get to school?' and 'by' with means of transport
  • Explore the impact of travelling by different means of transport

Age/ Level

Aged 5-8 and 9-12 (CEFR A1-2)


55 minutes


  • Lesson plan
  • Worksheet
  • Transport flashcards (select the ones you wish to use in advance, but include car, bicycle, bus and train)
  • Sticky Tack for sticking the flashcards on the board
  • strips of paper for the paper chains
  • sticky tape, glue or staples
Warmer (10 minutes)
  • Introduce the means of transport through mime. Ask the learners to guess what transport it is, display the flashcard and write the word on the board next to it.
  • Invite a learner to come to the front of the class and mime one of the means of transport for the class to guess. 
  • Now put the learners into small groups. They take turns to mime a transport for the rest of the group to guess.
Vocabulary game (10 mins)
  • Play a flashcard instruction game. Stick the transport flashcards around the room. 
  • Divide the class into groups. Give each group instructions, for example:
  1. Cycle to the bicycle!
  2. Drive to the car!
  3. Run to the bus!
  4. Jump to the train!
  • Model the actions to begin with. Make sure you mime slow running, so that the learners know not to run fast. 
  • Each group does the action as they go towards the corresponding transport flashcard image.
Survey (15 mins)
  • Distribute the worksheets. Model the dialogue for the class. Nominate a confident learner: to be your partner and ask:   What’s your name? How do you get to school? 
  • Show learners how you fill in the questionnaire on your copy as you do so and prompt your partner to say “By…”.
    •    Then write the target language on the board and drill it. Do a loud to quiet drill.
    Note: Loud to quiet drill
  • Say “What’s your name?” loudly and ask learners to repeat.
  • Repeat the question using a quieter voice and ask learners to repeat.
  • Whisper the question and ask learners to repeat again.
  • Repeat this sequence with “How do you get to school?”
  • Continue with your demonstration by prompting your partner to ask the questions and write your responses
  • The learners now move around the classroom with their worksheet interviewing each other. Monitor and support.
  • When they have finished, they can add up the results. Check the results as a class and write them up on the board.
Wall display (10 mins)
  • Explain to the learners that they are going to make a wall display of paper chains which will illustrate their survey findings. Divide the learners into five groups.
  • Each group takes one of the means of transport. If the survey results show that, for example, ten learners come to school by car, then the ‘car’ group must make a paper chain ten links long.
  • Give each group enough strips of paper to make their chain. Learners share out the strips and draw a picture of their means of transport in the middle of each one.
  • Show learners how to assemble their paper chain, by sticking the ends of each strip together to make a link, after passing it through the previous link. 
Discussion (10 mins)
  • When they are finished, hang up the transport paper chains next to each other on the wall.
  • Invite the learners to count and check that they correspond with the survey results written up on the board.
  • Ask the learners which means of transport they think are good/bad for the environment. Explain that cars and other vehicles give off carbon dioxide gas and other fumes that pollute the air and are bad for our health and climate change. 
  • Draw a car on the board with an exhaust pipe and a sad face next to the fumes to get across meaning. 
  • Ask learners which vehicle they think is the worst for the environment (car) and why (because only a small number of people are in each car, compared to, for example, a bus). 
  • Look again at the paper chains. How long is the ‘car’ paper chain? Can any of the learners who come by car change the way they get to school? Do the learners go by car to any other places when they could use an alternative means of transport instead?
Lesson plan156.59 KB
Worksheet 153.29 KB
Flash cards213.11 KB
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