Prevent carbon polluting our atmosphere by Strolling N’ Rolling to School!
With a majority of vehicles using gasoline to fuel cars, greenhouse gas emissions have grown immensely over the years. Students can take action to reduce these impacts by walking or biking to school. Get your shoes ready!
This toolkit address the following Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) within the Performance Expectations of NGSS for Grades: K-2 and 3-5
- Asking Questions and Defining a Problem
- Planning and Carrying out Investigations
- Analyzing and Interpreting Data
- Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
- Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
- Obtaining Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Why It’s Important
Using vehicles as modes of transportation releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. The amount of greenhouse gasses we produce is referred to as our “carbon footprint.” Too much carbon dioxide and excess greenhouse gasses can increase the temperature of earth, leading to negative impacts on the environment.
What You Will Accomplish
Students will reduce their carbon footprint by finding environmentally safe modes of transportation to school.
Teacher Project Plan Step-by-Step
Step 1: Determine Participants
- Working with a small group of students? Have each student create a safe route with their parents/guardians or each other
- Working with a larger team? Split up into groups and create a route that allows students to walk/roll to school together
Step 2: Set Learning Objectives
- Students will analyze their neighborhood to find the best mode of travel to, and from their school.
- See Stroll N’ Roll Map worksheet provided
- Students will keep track of the total distance they have traveled.
- Add the cumulative amount of miles traveled (see Stroll N’ Roll Tracker worksheet)
- Students will practice leadership skills by delegating tasks to each other.
Evaluation and Assessment
- Students will track and evaluate the impact of their project.
- Using the Stroll N’ Roll Tracker, students will calculate the amount of emissions reduced per mile traveled by bike/foot
Step 3: Educate Students on the the Effects of their Carbon Footprint
The resources provided can be shown as a slideshow or printed out as individual worksheets for students to learn.
Why Should You Stroll N’ Roll?
Strolling N’ Rolling Gets the Brain Going
Spending time outside has numerous physical and mental benefits! Walking/biking/skating/scootering to school helps you get exercise and , being outside can increase classroom performance compared to those who commute in a car. 
Walking/Rolling to School Reduces Traffic
On top of the personal benefits of walking/biking to school, taking this action also helps the people around you. Roughly 10-14% of cars in the morning are students/student’s parents making their way to campus. In the United States alone, that is roughly 14 million cars everyday! 
Walking/Rolling to School Saves Money
We’ve learned a lot about the people who can benefit from students walking/rolling to school, but it is important to address how it can help families. Parents can save money by reducing their gasoline consumption while lowering carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Furthermore, reducing the amount of cars on the road can decrease the amount of money spent on maintaining streets, while school districts can decrease the cost of bus systems. Some schools have even saved up to $237,000 as a result of students walking/biking to school. 
Watch these two short videos to learn why it’s important to reduce air pollution!
Why Transportation is a Social Justice Issue
Transportation relates to environmental justice due to our reliance on fossil fuel consumption. The production and extraction of fossil fuels have numerous consequences on the environment they occupy. The areas where fossil fuels are extracted and processed are called “sacrifice” zones because the health and well-being of the local people and the environment are sacrificed in order to access the fuel. The residents that occupy “sacrifice” zones are often people of color, and the decision to sacrifice the area is most often made by people who do not live in or near the area.
Step 4: Pre-Activity Reflection Questions
Reflection and Educator Observation Questions
Use the following questions to guide students and reflect on what they’ve learned. Provided questions can be accessed in slideshow or worksheet format.
- List reasons why using a vehicle could be harmful to the environment.
- What types of vehicles emit greenhouse gasses?
- Why do you think people prefer to use vehicles as opposed to walking/biking?
- What are the benefits of walking/biking to school?
- What answers did you hear from the reflection questions?
Step 5: Take Action – Stroll N’ Roll Lesson Plan
Lead students through the “Stroll N’ Roll” activity with guided instructions. Check out “Pro Tips” with each step for useful help:
1. Gain Participants
- Determine who and how many students/staff are participating.
- Invite attendees to support your efforts. Use the Stroll N’ Roll Invite and Safety Guidelines Template.
- Use the Stroll N’ Roll Sign Up Sheet to track additional participants.
2. Map It Out
Look at a map of your neighborhood. Determine which areas facilitate the safest routes to school. Using the Stroll N’ Roll Map worksheet, have each participant create a walk/bike route with their parent/guardian. When participants have decided which route they would like to take, be sure that they take note of the distance.
3. Gather Your Materials
The final course of preparation before you start Strolling N’ Rolling is gathering your materials. This can include the following:
- Walking/running shoes
- Bike/skateboard/or scooter AND helmet (if applicable)
4. Stroll N’ Roll
Now that you have planned your route and materials, it’s time to Stroll N’ Roll! Using the map you have created, you can now walk/roll to school. Here are some ideas to make the activity more fun:
- Walk/roll to school with a friend or join up with others in your neighborhood and create a “walking school bus”
- Take note of any interesting birds/animals you see
- Make it a competition by seeing who walk/rolls the most in a week or month
- Play a game like “I Spy” or “20 Questions”
5. Track Your Impact
After each trip to and from school, it is important to take note of the distance you have traveled. Using the Stroll N’ Roll Tracker, record which days you traveled to and from school in addition to the distance traveled with each trip. These sheets should be collected at the end of the campaign. Having the total distance will allow you to calculate the amount of greenhouse gasses you are offsetting.
Make it a competition! Create a leaderboard to track who is traveling the highest total distance. Offer a prize for the winning person, team, or classroom!
Step 6: Post-Activity Reflection Questions
Student Reflection and Real World Application Questions
Once your teams have walked/rolled to school for 2 weeks, use the questions below to have students reflect on their Stroll N’ Roll Campaign.
- What were some small wins that happened during your project?
- Examples: learned how to ride a bike, met my lifelong friends, learned more about my neighborhood
- What could you do to up your game next time?
- Examples: ride a bike, find a faster route, set a walking/rolling streak
- What did you enjoy most about walking/biking to school?
- Examples: met new people, bonded with my family, seeing birds on the morning route
Real World Application
What will change in your life now that you have completed this project?
Step 7: Report Students’ Impact
Compile all the data that your teams gathered and complete Stroll N’ Roll Wrap Up Form.
- Stroll N’ Roll Sign Up Sheet
- Stroll N’ Roll Invite & Safety Guidelines
- Stroll N’ Roll Map Sheet
- Stroll N’ Roll Tracker
- Stroll N’ Roll Presentation Slides
- Stroll N’ Roll Wrap Up Form
Congrats on completing the Stroll N’ Roll Eco-Toolkit!
Did you enjoy this toolkit? Find your next project here!