Exploring the World in Your Classroom: 45 Travel-Themed Lesson Plans for Educators
You can't take your students with you on vacation as you travel the world, but you can take them on virtual trips as you explore different cultures together. Lesson plans on travel give you the opportunity to delve into topics like culture, geography and even math as you plan for travel expense. With a travel theme, you can dig into literature, help students embrace their inner artist and give them a love and passion for a new and exciting location. Whether you are digging into a country for a detailed unit study, want to diverge from the curriculum for some fun travel-themed lessons or simply want to give your students a love for travel, here is a list of resources that can help you embrace travel without leaving the four walls of your classroom.
Grades K - 5
- Benefits of Cycling Lesson Plan (Grades K-5) - Teach students about the benefits of traveling by cycling using this curriculum outline. Related activities are listed under "Activity Sheets"
- Grandfather's Journey (Grades 1-2) - Many of today's families are multicultural. Take your students through a journey with one of these families using this book written and illustrated by Allen Say. Lesson includes discussion questions and story extension activities.
- The Counties of the UK (Grades 1-6) - Enforce geography skills with this lesson plan that requires students to look at maps and use compass points to describe positions in England.
- Celebrate Culture: Germany (Grades 1-2) - Introduce students to German geography and culture with this hands-on lesson plan.
- Christmas in France (Elementary) - Learn about Christmas traditions in this lesson plan designed for the World Language, ESL or traditional classroom setting.
- On the Road Again (Grades 3-5) - Students learn and identify different modes of transportation and communication using geography, math and language arts skills in this lesson from National Geographic.
- African Markets (Early Elementary) - Most American students have no idea what shopping at an open air market is like. This lesson will help them identify advantages and disadvantages of this type of shopping.
- Transportation Lesson Plan (K) - Learn the different modes of transportation, build a cardboard car and create a real-life car wash.
- How Do We Travel to School? (3-5) - This lesson plan from the Census Bureau discusses different ways children travel to school around the world.
- Let's Travel to Mexico (Grades 1-2) - Take young children on an imaginary trip to Mexico to learn about geography and culture.
- Bicycle Education Lesson Plans (Grade 3) - This five-lesson unit teaches children about safe cycling practices.
- Transport (Elementary) - With an ESL focus, this lesson plan helps students learn vocabulary connected with public transport, including taxis and trains. Includes downloadable worksheets and audio exercises.
- A Child's Daily Life in South Africa (Lower Elementary) - Give students a glimpse at what life is like for a kid their age in South Africa. This lesson plan is based on the book Not So Fast Songololo.
Middle and High School
- Spain: A Cultural Profile (Grades 11-12) - This lesson touches on the main geographic features of Spain. It will also discuss the cultural features of the country and its people. This lesson works best for an advanced Spanish language class.
- Destination: England (Grades 6 and above) - This ESL lesson plan uses guided visualization to teach students about the sights and icons of England, with a focus on London.
- German Food and Eating Customs (Grades 6 and above) - What is the food like in Germany? Find out in this hands-on lesson plans for upper and middle school grades from the Alabama Learning Exchange.
- Travel Brochures: Highlighting the Setting of a Story (Grades 6-8) - Students will create travel brochures to highlight the setting of a story they are reading. The lesson plan uses Al Capone Does My Shirts but can be adapted for any story with a well-defined setting.
- Budgeting for a Trip (Grades 6-8) - Travel is expensive. Students will learn to plan and budget for a round-trip vacation trip several international destinations.
- Four Days in Paris (Grades 6-8) - This activity encourages children to create a travel journal about a hypothetical four day trip to Paris, discussing important landmarks and cultural activities.
- Global Trek (Grades 4-8) - Use technology to tour foreign countries and learn more about cultures and people around the world.
- The Next Top Travel Agent (Grade 12) - Students use available resources to play the role of travel agent to get clients to designations within budget.
- Bicycle Education Lesson Plans (Grade 6) - Aimed at middle school students, this five-lesson unit discusses all things cycling, including safety and health benefits.
- Transportation Systems (Grades 8-12) - This unit from the Henry Ford Museum looks at the past, present and future of all modes of transportation.
- Amazing Race (Grades 9-12) - Students use maps of a city to create an Amazing Race game in the classroom for their classmates to play.
- Where Shall We Go? (Grades 8-12) - A collection of activities centered around international travel that gets kids involved in the geographic side of travel.
- High School Road Trip (Grades 9-12) - Students will plan a virtual road trip using commuter or long-distance passenger rail service as the main transportation option.
- Vacation Time (Grades 11-12) - Students will create travel brochures for their hometown while discussing and identifying careers connected to the travel and hospitality industries.
- Spanish Travel Brochures (Grades 9-12) - Students will use online resources to create travel brochures for a chosen Spanish-speaking country.
- World Travel Trip (All ESL Grades) - Improve listening skills among ESL students with this listening travel-themed activity.
- Back-in-Time Travel Brochure (All Grades) - Have students embrace history and travel by creating a travel brochure for a specified location at a date in prior history. Adapt the rubric to make the activity grade-level appropriate for your students.
- Tourism Lessons (Grades 4 and Above) - Discuss career paths and occupations in the tourism industry and produce travel documents and itinerary with the help of technology.
- Lesson Plan: Let's Take a Trip (ESL Students, All Grades) - Students plan for travel and work on English vocabulary at the same time in this interactive, hands-on lesson.
- What Is Public Transport? (All Grades) - Using charts and graphs, this lesson will discuss what public transportation is, why it is needed and how it has evolved over the years.
- Travel and Tourism (All Grades, ESL Focus) - An extensive unit on international travel and tourism focused on discussion and vocabulary skills.
- How Big Is Africa? (All Grades) - Take a closer look with your students at what the continent of Africa has to offer in this group of lessons.
- Traveling the Silk Road: Animals and Ecosystems (Elementary and Middle Grades) - This lesson plan from the Virginia museum of Fine Art uses East Asian Art to discuss the culture, animals and ecosystems of the Silk Road.
- A Collection of French Lesson Plans (All Ages) - A huge collection of lesson plans about France and French culture divided by age group.
- Spanish Culture Lesson Plans (All Ages) - A set of four lesson plans that delve into the culture of Spain and can be adapted for all ages. Topics covered include El Carnaval, Sanfermines, Las Fallas and La Tomatina.
- A Tour of London (All Ages, ESL Focus) - Take students on a tour of London and discuss vocabulary common to the city and travel in general.
- Life in the UK (All Ages) - Learn what culture is like in the United Kingdom in this comprehensive lesson plan collection.
- German Youth Culture (Middle and Upper Grades) - This lesson plan takes a look at the cultural differences between young people in Germany and young people in America. It uses comparing and contrasting to show similarities and differences.
- Exploring Africa! (All Grades) - A comprehensive curriculum to help kids explore the geography, biodiversity and cultures of the continent of Africa. Take a walk on the wild side with this unit!
- Make a Transportation Museum (Elementary and Middle Grades) - This lesson gives students the chance to create a transportation museum in their own classroom.
- Transportation and Public Transit (All Grades) - This online lesson teaches children about the history and current status of public transportation. It includes multiple interactive chapters and chapter quizzes.
- Africa Lessons (All Grades) - A collection of lessons on the art, culture, geography and ecology of Africa from PBS.