accessibility & help

Winter journey

As the temperature dips and winter approaches, it’s a good time to consider how prepared you are for the cold weather. This activity focuses on a journey being disrupted by severe winter weather and introduces the idea of who might need the most help and what items you could ensure you have so that you are prepared.

Suggested age range: 11–19

Curriculum links: PSHE

Ask the class to imagine they’re on a long journey. It could be by car, coach or train. Then imagine taking the journey in winter, in cold weather.

As a group, consider:

  • How would cold weather change your preparation for the journey? What would you take with you?

Invite the group to make fast suggestions. Record them on the board. Suggestions could include:

  • A blanket, snacks, water, first aid kit, torch and batteries, fully charged mobile phone.

You checked for weather updates before you left, and there were no extreme weather warnings for your area. However, during the journey the weather changes suddenly and you are now affected by a combination of a very heavy snowstorm, heavy traffic, high winds and freezing temperatures.

Delays mean that the journey takes much longer and includes an overnight in the unheated vehicle in the dark. Add to the list of suggestions on the board (e.g. hat, scarf and gloves, a flask of hot drink, warm clothes). Mention the importance of staying in the vehicle rather than go looking for help, as they could get lost or risk falling ill in the cold.

Imagine that you have travelling with you one of the following:

  • A toddler who is restless and doesn’t sleep well.
  • An older relative with poor circulation and poor health.
  • A teenager with type one diabetes. (This means they need regular injections of insulin.)
  • A child who has asthma.
  • An adult who is anxious about their cat left at home by itself.
  • A woman who is pregnant, very close to her expected delivery date.

Working in pairs or threes, consider:

  1. How might they be feeling in this situation?
  2. What could you bring with you that might make the journey better for them?
  3. What could you do or say that could help them feel better?

Come together and share the groups’ thoughts. Do they feel confident that they can cope with the long, cold delay? If they were preparing to go on a long journey in winter, agree on three things they should take with them.

Finish by discussing the option of not going on the journey. What if your journey included more than one of the above individuals? When is it sensible to cancel a trip?

Highlight the need to consider whether you really need to travel or should wait until conditions improve, especially if weather is severe. Mention that they should especially bear this in mind when travelling with people who may need more help, and the importance of checking travel updates and planning alternative routes.


This resource was written by P. J. White of Alt62 and published in November 2017.


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