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Students take action after rail virtual trip


Online learning experience spurs students to create safety messages about the rail crossing used by their school community.

Paerata students show some of their rail safety messages.

Safety posters have sprung up around Paerata School after students took part in a virtual field trip, and then investigated their own local rail crossing.

The Year 7-8 class at Paerata, near Auckland, took part in the recent virtual field trip Rail Safety – more sustainable journeys in Aotearoa New Zealand. The LEARNZ trip was sponsored by the NZ Transport Agency in partnership with TrackSAFE.

Paerata teacher Jess Redmond says the class really enjoyed taking part, including asking questions during a live web conference with a rail sector professional.

“We use the train crossing down from our school to cross kids on their way to and from school, so this field trip has been very beneficial for the tamariki in my class,” says Jess.

“Thank you so much to LEARNZ teacher Shelley Hersey for the effort she and the team put into this field trip!”

Jess says her class used the background reading and quizzes provided on the field trip website.

“We researched most of the information before Rail Safety Week so we were able to really focus on actual rail safety. My class really enjoyed learning about this. They found it rather confronting to learn about the near misses throughout New Zealand – with having the level crossing just down from our school the kids could relate to how real situations could be.”

Questions, and social action

During the web conference, Paerata students asked about the future of train travel. They wanted to know:

  • What the chances are for the long-distance passenger trains being able to travel faster throughout the length of the country? 
  • How the rail system could be improved to attract more passengers from their nearby town of Pukekohe?
  • Could double-decker trains be an option in New Zealand?
  • Are we aiming for all electric trains to reduce carbon emissions, and does the government give sustainability a high priority?

Jess says the class followed up with action in and around the school.

“We walked to the level rail crossing down the road from our school and we took photos of safety blurbs that we created in class. We also made posters up and put them around the school. I love seeing the rest of the school look at these posters when I am walking around on duty.”

Virtual field trip highlights

Find out more, and watch video highlights here:

Rail safety 2019

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