Axle Annie and the Speed Grump: A Read4Health Lesson Plan

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Content Area(s):  
Grade Level(s):  
Grade Level Expectations:  
Comprehensive Health and Physical Education › Third Grade › Identify ways to prevent injuries at home, in school, and in the community
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Third Grade › Successful group activities need the cooperation of everyone
Reading, Writing, and Communicating › Third Grade › Oral communication is used both informally and formally
Lesson Plan Details
4 Read Aloud Sessions - 15 minutes each
Essential Question: 

How can you pre-plan for safety in your lives?

Why is wearing your seatbelt an important plan for safety?

Can you get in an accident if only traveling a few blocks or a few miles from your home?

Learning Objectives/Student Outcomes: 

Students will understand:

  • they are responsible for their safety - in their home, on a bike, in a car, etc.
  • wearing a seatbelt saves lives and prevents serious injuries.
  • successful group activities involve the cooperation of all members on a team.

Students will know:

  • the correct way to wear a seatbelt and the age rule of riding in the front seat of a car.
  • the difference between formal and informal communication.

Students will be able to:

  • define what type of injuries can occur from not wearing a seatbelt or riding in the front seat with an air bag.
  • work cooperatively in a group to accomplish a team goal/assignment.
Key Topics: 
  • Seatbelt safety
  • Safety/safety plans 
  • Peer pressure

Capability to view Colorado's Child Restraint Laws and view You Tube video on seatbelt safety 


Prior to instruction, the teacher needs to...

Learning Experiences and Activities: 

In this lesson, the teacher will...

Day 1:  Ask essential questions about safety.  Introduce book "Axle Annie and the Speed Grump".  Pre-reading questions:

Do you know what it means to be a reckless driver or a menace on the road?

What behaviors might you see someone do who is not a safe driver?

How can wearing a seatbelt protect you from reckless drivers?

Can kids ever be reckless with their bikes?

Read book (6-8 minutes)

Rally Robin (Kagan Strategy) with shoulder partner - compare Axle Annie's driving to Rush Hotfoot (about 1 minute)

Ask for 1 or 2 people to share with class

Day 2:  Choose a student to summarize the book

Questions to consider:

  1. Why do kids like Axle Annie so much?
  2. Describe Great Gulping Gulch Bridge.
  3. What does “bearing down fast” mean? Can you give an example?
  4. Do you ever notice people doing silly (even reckless) things while driving?
  5. Why did Annie visit the Grump Club? Did it help?
  6. Explain how Rush ends up with a ticket.
  7. What happens to Rush on the Great Gulping Gulch Bridge?
  8. Do you think it was safe for Annie to help? Should people help others even if it puts them in danger?  What can someone always do in an emergency that is helpful?
  9. What consequence does Rush face for his actions? What did he learn?


Show Colorado's Child Restraint Laws and go over rules for ages 8-16

View You Tube Video - Minutes for Kids - Seatbelt Safety

Think/Pair/Share - 1 rule for seatbelts for children (each person shares)

Day 3:  

Have each brainstorm 4 or 5  important rules in the following areas: seatbelt safety, bicycle safety, and playground safety. Then, write the rules in the simplest words and illustrate them.

Day 4:  Each group share 1 or 2 rules for either seatbelt safety, bicycle safety, or playground safety.


Students will be able to work in their group to come up with safety rules.

Students will be able to tell how to wear a seatbelt correctly and the appropriate age for riding in the front seat.

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Colorado 21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking and Reasoning: 
A. Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation
D. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems
A. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 
A. Apply logical reasoning and analytical skills
Creativity and Innovation: 
C. Develop new connections where none previously existed
Work Ethic: 
F. Act with maturity, civility, and politeness
Personal Responsibility: 
D. Take responsibility for actions
G. Attend to personal health and wellness
A. Read, write, listen and speak effectively
A. Work effectively with others
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