Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Bike Safety
Lesson 1
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


Learners will learn about the need for bicycle safety through understanding and relating the five basic rules of bicycle safety to others in the community. Learners will become aware of the basic vocabulary associated with philanthropy as they prepare for their service activity.


Three Thirty to Forty Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • demonstrate the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet through a journal entry in words or pictures.
  • state the five bicycle rules in writing by drawing pictures with short captions or by reciting orally.
  • construct a graph showing how many classmates have bicycle helmets.
  • demonstrate knowledge of key words of philanthropy vocabulary (e.g., philanthropy, need, service, common good and mentor).


  • civic responsibility(n): A person's duty or obligation to his/her community as a citizen
  • common good(n): The wealth shared by the whole group of people
  • community service(n): Volunteering to improve upon the aspects of a community
  • cooperate(v): To work together toward a common cause - cooperation (n), cooperator (n)
  • mentor(n): A wise and trusted person with relationship to another person
  • need(n): The lack of something desirable, useful, or necessary
  • philanthropy(n): (1) The giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good
  • public service(n): To perform a deed that contributes to the general welfare of all
  • public work(n): To service the general population with certain actions; "creating things of lasting civic value" - Harry Boyten
  • pure democracy A form of government in which the supreme power is retained and directly exercised by the people
  • service(n): Help given to others - service (v) to repair; to furnish a service to something or someone


  • A bicycle helmet
  • Two musk melons (The bicycle helmet should fit securely on one melon.)
  • A large sheet of plastic to protect the floor.
  • The Children's Book of Heroes (see Bibliographical References)
  • Book entitled Safety on Your Bicycle
  • Parent Letter (Attachment One)
  • Helmet Song (Attachment Two)
Handout 1
Parent Letter
Handout 2
Helmet Song
Handout 3
Assessment Rubric

Instructional Procedure(s):

    Anticipatory Set:
    The teacher demonstrates what happens when a melon is dropped to the floor from shoulder height with and without a bicycle helmet.
  • Spread the plastic out on the floor. The floor should be tile or concrete, not carpeted.
  • Gather the learners so all can see you and ask how the melon is like their head (i.e., round, hard outside and squishy inside).
  • Drop the unprotected melon from shoulder height. If it does not break open, be sure to point out any "dent" or soft spot that the impact causes.
  • Ask "What would happen if this melon were a person's head?"
  • Ask "What would happen to the melon if protected by the bike helmet?" (Be sure to practice this demonstration before doing it for the class to be sure the bike helmet is secure enough to protect the melon. You may need to add foam inside the helmet to cushion it.)
  • Drop the melon that is protected by the bike helmet. Ask "What does this tell you about the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet?"
  • Ask, "Who needs a helmet to stay safe when riding a bicycle?"
  • Ask, "How would wearing helmets help the people in our neighborhood to be safer?"
  • Ask learners, "What is philanthropy?" Place the word so that all can clearly see.
  • Tell learners that through acts of philanthropy, they can make their community and neighborhood safer. Help learners to define philanthropy and develop the definition provided (giving of one's time, talent or treasure for the sake of another or for the common good).
  • Ask, "Could we provide helmets to the people in our community?"
  • Develop the definitions of need, service, common good and mentor as applicable to bicycle safety. Inform learners that in this unit they will act as mentors to younger children.
  • Teach the helmet song to remind learners of the importance of wearing their helmet (Attachment Two: Helmet Song).
  • The following day, review the helmet demonstration by asking, "What did we learn yesterday when we dropped melons with and without a bike helmet?"
  • Ask for a show of hands of learners that have bike helmets. Use individual learner pictures or name cards to construct a class bar graph to show who has a helmet. The horizontal row showing the numbers 0 through the number of learners in your class and the vertical rows labeled yes (have a helmet) and no (don't have a helmet).
  • Kindergarten and first grade learners would interpret this information as a class. Ask, "Do we have more learners with or without helmets? Why is it important to have a helmet? How many of our friends in class should have a helmet?"
  • On the third day show the children a video on bicycle safety. (See Bibliographical References for suggested selections.)
  • Ask, "What bicycle safety rules do you remember from the video?" Compile a class list of bicycle safety rules addressed in the video.
  • Ask, "Are these rules a law that has to be followed? Would it be a good idea for all people who ride bikes to follow the rules?"
    Instructor's Notes: Develop the definitions of law and rule. Have the learners give an example of a classroom rule and a law in their state. It is recommended that the instructor refer to some states having mandatory motorcycle helmet laws. Research the local community to determine if there is a bicycle helmet law.
  • Read and discuss with the class one or more of the stories from The Children's Book of Heroes (a collection of stories that teaches such character attributes as: honesty, courage, and responsibility) which explores responsibility, common good, seeing and responding to a need.
  • Read the book, Safety on Your Bicycle, to the class. Have the learners discuss the story as you read it. After you read the story and show the video, compare the teachings in the two.


  • Following the melon demonstration, learners will draw a picture and/or write a sentence in a journal that shows how a helmet protects you when riding a bike.
  • Learners will write a journal entry about the book read.
  • After viewing the video, use Attachment Three: Assessment Rubric  to evaluate the learners' knowledge of bicycle rules
  • Record learners' participation in the creation of a bar graph about bicycle helmet ownership and interpret the information it provides through class discussion.

Curriculum Connection:

School/Home Connection:

Send the letter home after this lesson to provide parents with the bicycle safety rules the children are learning (Attachment One: Parent Letter).

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

During the graphing activity second graders could transfer the information to an individual paper graph and answer the above questions in a written form. Kindergarten and first grade students should assist the instructor in placing the information on very large grid paper to be displayed in the room.

Bibliographical References:

Lesson Developed By:

Lita Charland
Reeths-Puffer Schools
Twin Lake Elementary School
Twin Lake, MI 49457


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Parent Letter


Dear Parents,

Today we watched a video about bicycle safety. Please discuss the following safety rules with your child and remind him/her to practice them when riding his/her bike at home. Please sign and return the bottom portion of this letter when you have completed this activity with your child.

Bicycle Safety Rules

  • Check your bike over. (chain, seat, brakes)
  • Wear your helmet.
  • Ride on the right-hand side of the road (with traffic).
  • Obey all road signs.
  • Ride in a straight line.

Thank you for your help with this program.


I have discussed the bicycle rules with my child and will remind him/her to use them when riding his/her bike.

____________________________ (Parent signature)

Handout 2Print Handout 2

Helmet Song

(sung to the tune of "London Bridges")

Wear your helmet when you ride
When you ride, when you ride

Wear your helmet when you ride
Protect your melon!

Handout 3Print Handout 3

Assessment Rubric

4 points        Learner recites and illustrates all bike safety rules identified in the video, and can cite a minimum of three examples from the video. The journal entry is completed. 
3 points Learner recites and illustrates or lists bike safety rules accurately. The learner can cite two examples from the video. The journal entry is completed. 
2 points Learner recites and illustrates a minimum of two safety rules, can cite an example from the video and makes a journal entry. 
1 point Learner recites and illustrates or lists two bike safety rules, or makes a journal entry. 


Philanthropy Framework:


Laura, Teacher Albion, MI10/11/2007 7:33:47 AM

(The positive aspect of using this lesson was) the students enjoyed the melon breaking activity. They all understood the difference with this experiment so it became real life to them.

SHILOH, Other OTIS, CO1/31/2011 4:29:23 PM

Thank you so much for this lesson plan!!! It gave me a great idea for a presentation for a project with my first graders about bike safety--thank you so much!!!!

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Protect Your Melon Summary


Bike Safety
Funds for Fun and Safety
Use Your Melon

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