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This month, I joined a similar group of latter-day explorers on a quest to discover what American communities can learn from the Dutch about transforming bicycling in the U. The Netherlands resembles the United States in many ways: It is a prosperous, technologically advanced nation where a huge share of the population owns automobiles. Their 27 percent rate dwarfs not only the measly 1 percent of trips taken by bicycle in the U.
But a commitment to biking is not uniquely imprinted in the Dutch DNA.
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It is the result of a conscious push to promote biking, which has resulted in a surge of cycle use since the s. Our trip started in Utrecht, where our group marveled at the parade of bicyclists whizzing past us all over town. But what really shocked us was a visit to a suburban primary school, where principal Peter Kooy told us that 95 percent of older students—kids in the 10 to 12 age range—bike to school at least some of the time.
Kids getting ready to bike home at this primary school in Utrecht, Netherlands. In the U. Since then, the rate has dropped to 15 percent, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School program. A large part of that success can be attributed to what happens in school. Kids learn how to bike safely as part of their education, said Ronald Tamse, a Utrecht city planner who led our group on a two-wheel tour of the city and its suburbs. A municipal program sends special teachers into schools to conduct bike classes, and students go to Trafficgarden, a miniature city complete with roads, sidewalks, and busy intersections where students hone their pedestrian, biking, and driving skills in non-motorized pedal cars.
At age 11, most kids in town are tested on their cycling skills on a course through the city, winning a certificate of accomplishment that ends up framed on many bedroom walls. These kinds of programs would make a huge difference in the United States, where intimidating street conditions mean that, while 60 percent of people report that they would bike regularly if they felt safer, only 8 percent are regular cyclists.
Next stop was the Hague, where bikes account for 27 percent of all trips around the city of , people—exactly the average for the Netherlands as a whole. Bike boulevards are gaining popularity in the U.
These are practical innovations that could make a dramatic difference in nearly every American town: Research on this side of the Atlantic shows that physical separation from motorized traffic on busy streets is the single most effective policy for getting more people to bike. Access to safe, convenient bike storage has a big impact on whether people bike, van der Bijl explained. So people choose the car because it is easier.
People also worry about their bike being stolen off the street at their home or job. The city is busy building parking facilities in the basements of new office developments and at strategic outdoor locations throughout the center city, many of them staffed by attendants, much like at a parking garage. You can park your bike for a nominal fee, confident that it will still be there when you return.
Groningen, the Netherlands biking capital—where 59 percent of urban trips are made on two wheels—debuted the first guarded parking facility in and now sports more than 30 in a town of , Meanwhile in high density residential neighborhoods, the city is installing bike racks or special bikes sheds to make life easier for two-wheel commuters, sometimes taking over auto parking spaces to do it.
One car parking space can be converted to 10 bike spaces, says van der Bijl. A busy bikeway in Rotterdam, a Dutch city that feels American with wide streets and heavy automobile traffic. On our third day in the Netherlands, we biked across the Atlantic—or at least it felt that way. We headed into Rotterdam, a city whose streets seemed almost American.
Sample answers: Most of the kids look like real kids and so do the bikes. Define another animal, such as a shark by categorizing the type of animal it is and how it looks? Sample answer: A shark is an ocean animal that has sharp teeth. Do you think pets like cats and dogs ever think thoughts about humans? What might a pet cat or dog think?
Give each student an opportunity to answer the big question. Encourage students to support their answers with details and evidence from the text. Tell the students there is more than one right answer. Tell students that they will illustrate a cover for their make-believe stories about an animal who tries out a new kind of transportation. Content Area Connections Science Sorting Animals Give students practice with categorizing animals by sorting them into two groups of farm and non-farm animals. Provide students with magazine pictures of animals to cut out and paste onto a T-chart.
Print each student a copy of the duck maze found on the Scholastic Printables website. Have students practice their reasoning skills by finding the route baby ducks need to take to find their mother. Challenge students to create their own animal mazes and trade them with partners to complete. Most of the sounds are of farm animals with a few other animals added. Students will enjoy learning this song and singing it together several times through.
Look through the pages of the book one more time with students, encouraging them to orally retell the story. Ask individuals to describe what Duck is doing on each page spread and what sound the other animal on the page makes when it sees Duck.
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And no one knew that on that afternoon, there had been a cow, a sheep, a dog, a cat, a horse, a chicken, a goat, two pigs, a mouse, and a duck on a bike. Challenge students to imagine that they are fiction writers who are writing funny books about an animal that decides to ride a form of transportation.
15 Fun & Easy Biking Activities for Summer
Brainstorm lists of animals and lists of kinds of transportation, such as skateboards, scooters, skis, and boats. Then give students the following five-part frame for their story, modeled on Duck on a Bike. Have students write their stories or depending on their level, have students dictate the story while you write down their words.
Give students copies of the Duck on a Bike Big Activity printable to make an illustrated cover for their story. Create a List. List Name Save. Rename this List. Rename this list.
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Checkout Now. Teach This Lesson. Book Summary Award-winning author and illustrator David Shannon charms young audiences with this richly illustrated quack-up of a tale!
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About the Author Internationally acclaimed picture-book creator David Shannon has been an artist since the age of five when he wrote and illustrated his first book. Teaching the Book Can a duck ride a bike? Preview and Predict Ask students to look at the cover of Duck on a Bike. Vocabulary Define Words by Key Attributes Introduce students to the vocabulary words, explaining that each word belongs to the category of farm animals.
Use the Duck on a Bike Vocabulary Cards printable and distribute copies to students. Shared Reading Reread the book and ask students to read their copies at the same time. Big Question: Critical Thinking Ask students to think about this question as they read and be ready to answer it when they have finished the book. Comprehension Focus Identify Fiction and Nonfiction Remind students about the book you read about real farm animals.