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Young teenagers with bike and skateboard.

Here's what whānau and teachers should keep an eye on as young people enter the secondary school years.

A young person at this age regularly travels independently and understands that their decisions can keep themselves and others safer around the road and rail environment. However, they:

  • sometimes take risks
  • may be influenced by their peers.

The young person and their parents, whānau, caregivers and teachers should check that the young person:

  • understands the road rules and rationale for these rules
  • routinely wears a helmet when cycling or scooting and follows the road rules
  • routinely wears a seatbelt
  • understands their responsibility towards the safety of other road users
  • respects the rights of other passengers on public and community transport
  • supports the driver to focus on driving safely
  • is alert around buses, for example, turns off their phone until they are on the bus
  • avoids using earphones when running, walking or cycling near traffic.


The main learning processes involve young people:

  • understanding safe and unsafe road, cycle and rail environments
  • developing and applying safety practices and procedures
  • using thinking skills and texts to review their responsibility for and contribution towards the safety of themselves and others on the road or rail corridors
  • applying investigation strategies to generalise findings and take responsible action to influence the development of safe road, cycle and rail behaviours and environments
  • using effective communication techniques and tools to influence the school community to apply safe behaviours
  • assessing effects of the road safety education programme for both themselves and others.


Ramped-up science classes

Case study

Lincoln High School teachers used an NZTA science unit to teach forces and motion to Year 9 classes. Problem solving, experiments and activities helped students understand concepts within a context of the technology used to make road crashes survivable.

In one activity, students experimented with materials to slow down model cars on a long, steep ramp. This simulated real-life engineering solutions like road bumps.

“The link to road safety made learning about forces real,” say the teachers. “We were surprised by the intensity of interest and how much the students got into this unit.”

“Definitely more students understand force and motion because we taught it this way. They understand it much better than if we had just put equations about forces on the board.”

The teachers say their approach to teaching science is to help students make sense of the world around them and this topic helped.

“Science gives students the knowledge to make their own choices. We want our students to make decisions based on science and logic, rather than just remember rules.”

Science secondary curriculum resource

Next page:

Checklist: students in Years 12-13

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