• Activity
  • Walking

Risky behaviour

Learning areas:
  • Health & Physical Education
Year levels:
  • Year 5
  • Year 6

In a large space, draw a continuum line with a "1" down one end (Low Risk) and a "10" on the other end (Extremely Risky). Read each of the statements below one at a time. Invite students to position themselves along the continuum somewhere between "1" and "10", depending on where they view the level of riskiness to be for each statement.

Ask different students to explain why they positioned themselves as they did. Ask others to compare and contrast their position.

After hearing different responses, invite students to reposition themselves along the continuum. Ask those students who moved to explain the reasons for their repositioning.

Discuss what factors could increase or decrease the level of riskiness in each of the statements.


  • Crossing a railway line after a train has passed but before the warning bells and lights have stopped.
  • Crossing a road near, but not on a pedestrian crossing.
  • Crossing the road from between parked vehicles.
  • Crossing the road between vehicles that are queued up along the road waiting for traffic signals to change.
  • Walking home from school with friends.
  • Walking home with friends after a fun activity.
  • Crossing a multi-lane highway where there is no pedestrian crossing.
  • Crossing the road between vehicles that are stopped at railway tracks.
  • Standing in the middle of the road, waiting for a clear gap to finish crossing.

Discussion questions

Introducing the activity:

What is the meaning of ‘risk’ and ‘risky’?

What makes a behaviour risky?

For each statement:

Why did you choose this position?

If you changed your position, what were your reasons for changing?

What factors could increase or decrease the level of riskiness for this behaviour?

Information for teachers

Using slow speed roads is safer for children, as drivers have more time to observe and react, their braking distance is shorter, and their impact speed is lower.

Children’s crash involvement is more often an outcome of their inexperience in judging safe gaps between moving vehicles and in deciding if they have enough time to cross.


  • Roads are complex places and many different road safety skills need to be learned and used. Children are still developing these skills and safety is not instinctive or automatic.
  • Children may look for traffic but not actually see the approaching vehicle because their visual attention is not yet adequately trained.
  • Children are inconsistent road users in the sense that they use safe behaviour on some occasions and unsafe behaviour on other occasions. They are not predictable.
  • Children are not only vulnerable because of a lack of skill. They are also vulnerable because:
    • They are small and less likely to be seen by drivers and are not aware that they cannot be seen by others.
    • The road is comparatively much wider to cross for a child than it is for an adult. This places extra demand on visual timing skills and other perceptual and motor skills, such as distance perception, speed estimation and ability to judge acceleration.
    • They are easily distracted by friends or animals and do not prioritise safety.

Victorian curriculum

Health and PE

Level 5 & 6

Plan and practise strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (VCHPEP108)

Personal and social capability

Level 5 & 6

Describe the various causes of conflict and evaluate possible strategies to address conflict (VCPSCSO033)