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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Streetfilms' Moving Beyond the Automobile

Lesson Description:
The films that accompany this curriculum are freely available online at

The Moving Beyond the Automobile film series and the accompanying guide can open up conversations about transportation planning and policy in your classroom to help your students feel enabled to participate in political and design processes that improve their city. It can be used to introduce a number of interdisciplinary topics to your students. courses that could integrate this series into the classroom include government, history, environmental science, english, economics, and geography.

This guide has the potential to serve a broad audience. The guide's target is high school classrooms, but the activities can be reworked to suit a college-level audience or middle-school viewers. It can also be adapted to after-school education and a range of non-traditional academic settings.

The films are organized according to the following four themes: sustainable transportation, designing for safety, changing the landscape, engaging in policy

These four themes are organized sequentially, but you can rearrange their order for your needs, or if you have time constraints choose to focus on certain themes. each of the four sets of activities includes the following sections:

  • Key Concepts: "Big Ideas" that introduce the general issues that will be illustrated by the films. educators can choose to share these concepts with students or pose them to their classes as essential questions.
  • Pre-screening activities: Ice-breakers intended to pique interest that do not require previous knowledge of the topics in the film to participate.
  • Film synopses and discussion questions: A short description of each film followed by questions that are intended to help students clarify the material in the content in the films, and others to help them critically examine the material in the films. concluding question sets tie the films in each theme together. students are encouraged to think independently and propose their own strategies for transportation reform.
  • Post-screening Activities: Encourage students to reflect upon what they have learned from watching the films, conduct further research, and develop a creative advocacy project.
  • Further Resources: Documents in various media formats (films, websites, books, reports, etc.) that can be helpful for more in-depth research on the subjects presented in the films.

The goals of this curriculum are to:
  • Encourage students to think critically about issues related to transportation planning and policy;
  • Make connections between the content in the films and their daily lives;
  • Engage in a public conversation about the built environment, sharing the changes they would like to see with their community, local officials, and a broader public.

Lesson Type:
  • Audio - Video

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy
  • Waste Reduction
  • Other

Time Needed:
Lesson plans are modular rather than time-based, so you can select pre- and post-screening activities based on the time you can devote to this subject, or those that you feel are most useful to your class.
Standards Addressed:
College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards
Reading: 1;4;7
  • Writing: 1;4;7;8
  • Speaking and listening: 2;4;5
  • Language: 4;5;6

Grades 9-12 ELA
  • Reading Informational Text: 1;2;3;4;7;8
  • Writing: 1;4;7;8
  • Speaking and Listening: 1;2;3;4;5;6
  • Language: 4;5;6

Grades 9-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science & Technical Subjects
  • History/Social Studies 1;2;4;5;7;8;9
  • Science & Technical Subjects: 1;2;4;5;8;9

Materials Needed:
The films that accompany this curriculum are freely available online at
School or Group:
Contact Email:
Streetfilms is a Non-profit That Produces Short Films About How Smart Transportation Design and Policy Results in Better Places to Live, Work and Play
Located in: Social Studies

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Center for Green Schools