Lesson 3: Cause and effect

Students explore an interactive scenario and make deductions about how a car incident could have been caused.

Learning objectives

For students to:

  • understand how some attitudes and behaviour can cause incidents
  • understand and explore the wide-ranging impacts of incidents on pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and their family and friends.



Links to PSHE - 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 3g, 4c, 4d


60 minutes

In this lesson, students use the interactive activity Incident scene: 11–14 (Josh) to examine the scene of a car incident. It shows an urban street in which paramedics are attending a boy who has been involved in a traffic incident. A car has hit the boy who is injured but survives.

Students gather information about the incident and examine a timeline to see events that led up to the incident and the impact on everyone involved.

Introduction - 15 minutes

  • As a class, look at the main image of the incident, perhaps on the interactive whiteboard. Before exploring any further, ask students to think about what might have happened.
  • Ask students to discuss in groups and note their suggestions down. Then invite feedback from the groups as a class. They may suggest:
    • The driver was speeding, drunk or distracted
    • The vehicle had some sort of fault, such as poor brakes or bald tyres
    • The pedestrian did not look, was distracted or messing about
    • He got off the bus and stepped into the road
    • He was crossing the road to get on the bus.

Alternative starter: You could print out the main incident scene and hand out copies to students as they are coming in to class. Write 'Who? Where? Why? How? When?' on the board and ask students to work on their own to make predictions about what might have happened.

Incident scene: Josh - 35 minutes

  • Write the following headings on the board:
    • Causes
    • Effects on people
    • What could have been done differently
    • Timeline.

Ask students to copy into their books and complete as they explore the incident scene.

  • At individual computers, ask students to explore the evidence in the scene by clicking on the various hotspots. Students will not be able to 'rewind' to explore the cause of the incident or 'fast forward' to explore the consequences until they have examined all the evidence on the first screen. Then ask them to explore the timeline of events leading up to the incident, using the 'rewind' buttons on the left of the screen. This allows students to work out what has happened. The evidence suggests:
    • the driver was very slightly distracted but he was not speeding or drunk
    • the pedestrian was in a hurry to get to a games shop
    • he saw a bus coming and ran out into the road to get to the bus stop
    • the driver did not have time to stop.
  • Ask the students to list the possible causes of the incident and to think about how it could have been prevented. Ask them to include information on the attitudes and behaviours of those involved: what actions could each have taken to help to prevent the incident? Ask them to include Josh, his friends and the driver of the car and to think not only about things that each person did wrong, but about ways in which they could have taken positive actions to keep themselves and others safer.
  • Now ask the students to explore the timeline of events after the incident, using the 'fast forward' buttons on the right of the screen. Ask them to consider and list the consequences of the incident for Josh and the Josh's family.
  • Can they imagine what the consequences are from the view point of the driver? How could it affect him? For example, a loss of confidence and reluctance to drive (along with all the implications that has), loss of use of the car while it was repaired, lost no claims discount so more expensive insurance.

Reflection - 10 minutes

  • Ask students how they think the incident could have been prevented? Was any one person to blame? Establish that although the responsibility was shared, the one person who could have prevented the incident from happening was Josh. If he had behaved differently, the incident could have been avoided. Recap and ask students what Josh could have done differently to have been safer.

Extension activity

See Lesson 1: Cause and effect - lasting consequences in the English and Drama teachers' area for writing and drama extension ideas. Supporting role cards (PDF 500KB) - new window are provided.