Stop, Look, Listen

Investigate railroad crossing safety.

Big Idea: There are ways to behave to stay safe at a railroad crossings or near trains.


  • Masking tape
  • 3’ x 1’ piece of cardboard
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Bell
  • Pictures of train crossing sign, pedestrian crossing, train signal
Illinois Learning Standards:
1.A Apply word analysis and vocabulary skills to comprehend selections.
1.B Apply reading strategies to improve understanding and fluency.
1.C Comprehend a broad range of reading materials.
4.A Listen effectively in formal and informal situations.
4.B Speak effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience.
15.A Describe some people’s jobs and what is required to perform them.
22.A Identify dangerous situations and safety methods to reduce risks.
24.A Demonstrate procedures for communicating in positive ways, resolving differences and preventing conflict.
24.C Demonstrate skills essential for avoiding dangerous situations.
31.A Develop a positive self-concept.
Train Crossing: Area where cars and pedestrians can travel over railroad tracks, marked with signs and markings on the road.
Train Pedestrian Crossing: designated area for walkers to cross at rail road crossing.
Pedestrian: a person who goes or travels on foot; walker.
Train Signal: Metal post with red signal lights to alert people there is a train in the area.

Activity Directions:

Designate an area in the room for pretend play, mark floor with masking tape for railroad tracks and a section for pedestrian crossing.

  1. As a group, talk about things you might see by railroad tracks (train crossing sign, gate, train signal…)
  2. Once a list of items has been generated, show pictures and discuss the purpose of these items.
  3. With the 3’x1’ cardboard, demonstrate how the gate at a railroad crossing goes up and down when a train is coming.
  4. Have the children repeat the words, “STOP, LOOK, LISTEN”. Ask children to explain what they think it means.
  5. Review with children the purpose of Stop, Look, Listen. These are a few things to remember to help keep you safe.
    • Stop: when train signal is blinking, this is a sign to let you know a train is coming and that you need to stop for your safety.
    • Look: Not all railroad crossings have gates and signals. Some crossings have a special area for pedestrians, this is where people walking can cross. When you see railroad tracks always, stop (show distance 15’) before the tracks, look both ways down the tracks to see if you see a train. Only cross when your adult says it is okay to cross.
    • Listen: sometime you may not see a train, but train make sounds- they have horns to alert people that it is coming. If you hear a train but do not see it, you should stop 15’ before the tracks and wait for the train to pass.
  6. After review of Stop, Look, Listen have the children stand up and practice crossing at the designated area. Have one child hold the gate, instruct them to lower the gate when they hear the bell and raise the gate once the bell stops. Teacher will ring the bell. Allow children to cross at the pedestrian crossing.

Investigation Questions:

Q. What kinds of items have you seen at a train crossing?
Q. What does Stop, Look, Listen stand for?
Q. How can we keep ourselves safe at a train crossing?
Q. What should we look for at a train crossing?
Q. How do we know it is safe to cross train tracks?


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