Teacher Resources, Lesson Plans, and Classroom Management Tips

Transportation Unit

Transportation Unit

Getting Started

Toy Vehicle Parent Letter: Before beginning the transportation unit, send a note home asking the children to bring in a variety of toy vehicles to use for activities during the unit. It is important to ask that the toys be labeled with names and if storage is a problem, ask that the children bring only small vehicles (not Barbie cars, remote control vehicles, etc.). Click on the link below to download a note you can send home to parents asking for toy vehicles.

Brainstorm: After explaining to students the new unit of study, have a brainstorm session and ask the children to share what they already know about transportation. Make a word web or a graphic chart of their answers. Later in the unit, you can focus on certain types of vehicles and their properties. Here are suggestions of categories to brainstorm:

  • Where Vehicles Travel
  • What Vehicles Do
  • Kinds of Vehicles
  • Where Vehicles Go

Literacy Activities

Wheels on the Bus Art Project: Use construction paper to make this cute independent art project that reinforces fine motor skills. The directions and materials are provided below:

  • 1 piece of 4.5x12 inch yellow construction paper (if you cut a sheet of 9x12 yellow construction paper in half the long way, you will end up with the perfect size) - Round out the top two corners to make two smooth edges for the front and back of the bus..
  • 4 pieces of 1.5x1.5 inch white construction paper - Glue to the middle of the bus in a straight row for windows. Draw friends riding the bus and yourself as the driver.
  • 2 pieces of 1.5x1.5 inch black construction paper - Cut the corners off and smooth the edges to make two circle shaped wheels. Glue to bottom of bus.
School bus art project

Traffic Light Poem and Art Project: Use construction paper to make this independent art project that reinforces sight words, reading and fine motor skills. I always use this project with the poem "Traffic Light" listed below with Songs and Poems. The directions and materials for the art project are provided below:

  • 1 piece of 4x9 inch black paper (if you cut a sheet of 9x12 black paper into thirds the short way, you will end up with 3 perfect sized pieces)
  • 1piece each of 2.5x2.5 inch red, yellow, and green construction paper. Round off the corners to make circles. Glue onto black paper in order.
  • Using a pencil or black crayon, write the words stop, wait, and go on the colored circles. I also provide a small copy of the poem "Traffic Light", have the students glue it onto the back of their traffic light, and underline the words stop, wait, and go.
Traffic light art projectTransportation bulletin board

Class Train: After studying trains during our transportation unit, we make a class train that hangs up on our wall. I used blackline masters of traincars to make our class train. I made a single copy of the engine and caboose, colored them, cut them out, and laminated them for use year after year. I made a class set of individual train cars for my students to design. We discussed the many items that a train can carry from place to place. On their own cars, they chose what items they wanted their car to carry and drew the items inside. Pictures of our train are located below.


Traffic Light Snack: This snack project is from Mailbox Magazine. You will need the following materials and directions to make your traffic light:

  • 1piece of graham cracker (take large cracker and break into 4 - each child needs only 1 piece)
  • chocolate frosting - Spread frosting onto graham cracker.
  • M&M candies OR gum drops - Each child needs one each of red, yellow, and green. Stick the candies onto the frosted graham cracker in the proper order. Enjoy!

School Bus Snack: This snack project is also from Mailbox Magazine. You will need the following materials and directions to make your school bus:

  • 1 large graham cracker (all fourths attached)
  • vanilla frosting mixed with yellow food coloring - Spread frosting onto graham cracker.
  • 4 square Chex mix cereal pieces (any square shaped cereal can be used) - Stick cereal onto frosted graham cracker to represent windows.
  • 2 Oreos or Chocolate sandwich cookies - Stick the cookies to the bottom of the frosted graham cracker to represent the wheels. Enjoy!
School bus snackSchool bus snack


Shared Writing:
  • Brainstorm a list of "Things that Go". On the next day, sort the list into categories such as: Air, Land, and Sea.
Independent Writing:
  • Complete the following sentence frames:
    • I would take a (transportation) to (place).
    • A (transportation) can go.
  • Draw or write about what color you would want your car to be.
  • Draw or write about your favorite kind of transporation

Songs and Poems

Traffic Light

Red on top,
Green below,
Red means stop.
Green means go.
Yellow means wait,
Even if you're late!


Traveling, Traveling
(Tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently round the lake.
Traveling, traveling on the water,
Boats are what you take.

Drive, drive, drive your car,
Have a merry cruise.
Traveling, traveling on the road,
Cars are what you use.

Fly, fly, fly your plane,
High up in the air.
Traveling, traveling through the sky,
Planes will get you there.

Chug, chug, chug your train,
Chug along the track.
Traveling, Traveling on the rails,
Trains go there and back.

Stamp, stamp, stamp your feet,
Stamp them on the ground.
Traveling, traveling on your feet,
Walk to get around!

See The Traffic Light

See the traffic light,
At the corner of the street.
A red light at the top,
Means that you must stop.
For yellow you must wait.
Relax, you won't be late.
It's green and you can go.
It's safe to cross, you know.

I'm Driving In My Car

(Tune: "Bingo")

Look at me, oh, can't you see,
I'm driving in my CAR!
C-A-R, (beep, beep)
C-A-R, (beep, beep)
C-A-R, (beep, beep)
I'm driving in my CAR!

Repeat verses using other three letter transportation words (ex. VAN, BUS)


The Airplane Song
(tune: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame")

Take me out to the airport.
Take me up to the gate.
Buy me a ticket to fly so high.
I want to fly through the big open sky!
Let me zoom, zoom, zoom! See I'm soaring
Above the cars, buses, and trains.
For it's great to fly through the sky on
A big airplane!

Math and Science Activities

Making Road Maps: As a part of our transportation unit, we learn map skills and learn to read environmental print through road signs. The kids just love the fact that they can "read" a sign. This builds the childrens' confidence and teaches them that words have meaning. After the children have had practice reading signs, I have the chidren build their own road maps. I use large bulletin board paper and give a sheet to each group of children. I have four groups in my class (red, yellow, green, and blue), so we made four maps. I draw in the roads for them as a guide and give each child a blackline master of road signs. Then, I just let them create! It is a very good assessment tool to see whether they understand the meaning of print. One of my students used a sign that said "Use Crosswalk" and drew a crosswalk on the street. Another put a handicap sign next to a person they drew in a wheel chair. Other students just stuck signs all over the map. :o) After the road maps are done, I store them by the block center for the children to use. They make buildings and use the toy vehicles on their maps.

Working on the road mapWorking on the road mapWorking on the road mapPlaying on the road map

Things that Go Collage Activity: After reading the story On the Go by Ann Morris, we discuss transportation. An easy definition I use with my children is that "transportation takes you places". After our discussion, I let the kids work in small groups of 2 or 3 to make a collage of "Things that Go". They use magazines to search for pictures and cut and glue them onto a paper. Each group presents their collage to the class.

transporation collagetransportation collage

Daily Sorting Activity: During our transportation unit, we use toy vehicles for a daily sorting activity. We start by sitting in a circle and I give each child a vehicle. I choose a sorting topic and we sort the vehicles. In the picture below, I use large (12x18) sheets of construction paper to separate categories. You can also use hula hoops or string/rope to make spaces for sorting. I like using the construction paper because I label our categories and keep them year after year. For follow up, you can also have each child complete their own individual sorting activity to check for understanding. Here are some suggestions for sorting:

  • land, air, or sea
  • number of wheels
  • number of doors
  • motor or no motor
  • slow or fast
  • colors
  • windshield or no windshield
  • work vehicles or fun vehicles
  • quiet or loud
transportation sortingtransportation student sorting

Transportation Patterns: This idea comes from Mailbox Magazine. Choose some clipart or a blackline master of different types of vehicles. Copy the As a center and/or whole

Related Units

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