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Human Geography


3rd, 4th, 5th


Social Studies, Geography


50 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Into the Mind of a Transportation Planner (Green Transportation #3)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Apr 12, 2024
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This lesson explores different transit systems around the world and unpacks the decision-making process behind transportation planning. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Students analyze the transit route maps of four different cities.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students explore in greater depth the elements and features of four different transit systems.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students recall transit rider concerns and create a reimagined metro system to appeal to more riders in the community.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students have the opportunity to collaborate and reason with each other.
  • Students conduct research and present their findings orally.
  • Students are exposed to global connections.
  • Students activate creativity and imagination.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 3 of 6 in our 3rd-5th grade Green Transportation unit.
  • Students should have prior knowledge of accessing information using the Internet.


  • Teacher can modify the Investigate section through the following ways based on students' needs:
    • Low Level: Teacher provides students with mostly visuals and/or audio recordings describing the different transportation systems and allows students to write keywords and share.
    • On Level: Teacher provides students with a mix of visuals and brief sentences from articles describing the different transportation systems. Students can write 1-4 sentences to share.
    • High Level: Teacher provides students with complete articles describing the different transit systems and allows students to highlight in the text. Students then write 5+ complete sentences prior to their sharing with the whole class.
  • In the Inspire section, students have the option to work independently or in groups.
  • If working in groups, students can choose the specific role that fits their personality the best.
Scientist Notes

This lesson has students investigate what transportation planners do and the transportation systems of different countries. All external links are valid, and this lesson has passed our scientific review process.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standard

  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
Green Transportation Unit Lesson Plans


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