Getting to school the green way

Map sustainable transportation options for getting to school.

Activity Image
30 mins
Class discussion


Discuss the connection between climate change and transportation and then do a class survey about how students get to school. Using Google Maps, students compare their options for getting to and from school, identify factors involved in our transportation choices and then decide which one is the most sustainable.


What you'll need

  • "Transportation survey" handout
  • "Getting to school" worksheet
  • Computers and other devices to access Google Maps


  1. Ask students what they know about transportation and climate change. Share ideas with a partner and then as a class. 
    • Transportation has a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). 
    • Many transportation options use fossil fuels which release GHGs and add to global warming.
    • Sustainable transportation options are ones that use transit, clean energy or active transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and our impact on climate change.
    • Transit and carpooling reduce the number of cars that are on the road, reducing GHGs.
    • Clean energy transportation is transportation that uses clean energy sources, such as electric vehicles. In B.C., 96 percent of our electricity is generated from the power of falling water.
    • Active transportation is transportation that uses our own energy, such as walking, biking and skateboarding. 
  2. Complete the "Transportation survey" handout to see how students are currently getting to and from school. 
    • Ask students what factors affect the way they currently use to get to school, including the environmental impact, how long it takes, the cost, being active, how far you live from school, the weather and safety.  

What are my options for getting to school?

  1. Using Google Maps, project a map of the school and surrounding neighbourhood or catchment area. 
    • Show students how to find an address and directions using Google Maps. 
    • Point out the different icons that show routes for cars, buses, walking and biking.
  2. Have students find and compare transportation options for getting to school using Google Maps and the "Getting to school" worksheet.
  3. With a partner and then as a class, discuss the following questions:
    • How do you usually get to school? Why do you use that option?
    • Is there a greener or more sustainable way for you to get to school?
    • How does it help with climate change?
    • Are there obstacles to choosing a sustainable way to get to school?
  4. Have students answer the questions on the worksheet to reflect on the environmental impact of their transportation choices. 

Modify or extend this activity

  • Have a week-long challenge for students to promote sustainable transportation and reduce their impact on climate change.
  • Create a board game about transportation choices.
  • Invite a guest speaker to talk about active transportation (walking, biking, etc.) plans in your community.

Curriculum Fit

Grade 7 Science

Big idea 

  • Earth and its climate have changed over geological time


  • Evidence of climate change over geological time and the recent impact of humans

Curricular competencies

Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Seek patterns and connections in data from their own investigations
Applying and innovating
  • Transfer and apply learning to new situations
  • Consider social, ethical and environmental implications of the findings from their own and others’ investigations
  • Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems using digital technologies as appropriate

Teaching Notes

In British Columbia, transportation is responsible for more than a third of our greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the use and burning of fossil fuels. GHGs add to the warming of the Earth and impact climate change. Sustainable transportation options are ones that use transit, clean energy or active transportation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and our impact on the environment. 

Carpooling and transit reduce congestion and the number of vehicles on the road. Clean energy transportation, such as electric vehicles, reduce GHG emissions from burning fossil fuels. In B.C., 96 percent of our electricity is generated from the power of falling water, a clean energy source. 

Active transportation uses our own energy to get from one place to another; this includes biking, walking, skateboarding, etc. It’s a healthy way to move, and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, vehicle trips, congestion and air pollution. School districts, municipalities and cities are planning active transportation programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide safe and healthy travel options for communities.


  • Assess worksheet for understanding of sustainable transportation options for getting to school. 
  • Assess student participation in discussions for communication skills and understanding of the environmental impact of the different transportation options.


Select the materials you require for this activity or download all

Transportation Survey

79.3 kb pdf

Getting To School

78.7 kb pdf

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