I just discovered this website today and quickly could see how this would be of huge benefit to the primary school classroom. The website is sponsored by the multinational 3M which makes, among other things, reflective clothing for the emergency services, construction workers, cyclists and pedestrians. The company claims that the website is part of their contribution to corporate responsibility. The website has been created specifically for the primary school curriculum and highlights the importance of safety on the roads for all road users – pedestrians, cyclists and all types of motorist. The site claims that it has been written by primary school teachers with the approval of the Road Safety Authority. It is designed to support SPHE and science lessons for 7-11 year olds and also to aid cross-curricular work in geography, maths and english.
The website has three sections – one for pupils, one for teachers and one for parents. The pupils’ section has four main areas: Are You Roadwise?, Science, Cycling and Roadwise Game. Within each area are many lessons and much information for pupils to learn with regard to road safety. The information is presented in a colourful, animated fashion with lots of activities with which to engage pupils. Pupils learn about the Safe Cross Code, safety on a bicycle, safety in the car, safety in the countryside and also learn to recognise common road signs. The website then cleverly integrates the road safety theme with science and links it to the strand units of light, sound and forces. Pupils learn about light sources, reflective materials and the importance of light in road safety. In the sound section pupils learn how sound are made and how sound transmits information. This is then linked to traffic sounds. In the forces section, pupils learn about the push and pull of forces, friction and this is then linked to road surfaces. When pupils have learned all about road safety, they can then play an interactive Roadwise Game – there is one game for 7-9 year olds and another for 9-11 year olds.
The teacher section of the website has a guide to using the site, lesson plans and activity sheets in connection with the road safety theme. The resources are free to download and are in .pdf format – the teacher just has to fill in a short registration form before being able to download documents. These documents are really comprehensive and outline a body of integrated work which realistically could last a number of weeks in the classroom. The parents’ section of the website gives hints and tips on how parents can encourage their children to behave in a safe manner on the roads, on a bicycle and in the car. It also explains what the children learn in school as part of this unit of work.
I read on another internet forum that 3M said that it didn’t want, as part of its corporate responsibility strategy, to simply donate a sum of money to a particular charity. It said that they wanted to do something proactive, where their contribution could make a real difference. I believe that they have gone a long way towards achieving that goal. This website is a very positive contribution to the primary school curriculum. Many other companies produce competitions for pupils to enter where corporate awareness is an intrinsic aspect, or many tokens have to be collected over many months to get a “free” classroom resource. Although the 3M logo is clearly to be seen in the header of every page on this website, it’s quite unobtrusive and appears to be almost secondary to the curriculum content of the site.
For the classroom lucky enough to be equipped with an Interactive White Board, this is an excellent resource for capturing the attention of the pupils. The website will certainly engage pupils and they will really enjoy the interactive content of the lessons, learning life skills in a fun and imaginative way. The 3M company should certainly be congratulated for producing a genuinely free resource for the primary school classroom. The website can be visited at: