search button

Excursion, Excursion
– the SmartRider version!

Lesson objectives

Students will:
  • Develop knowledge about some of the systems employed by Transperth, specifically the SmartRider system and the Excursion Planning assistance program. 
  • Explore the benefits of using Perth’s integrated public transport system to get to a school excursion (as opposed to a charter bus).
  • Explore the purpose and main criteria of persuasive letters and practise skills in using the text structure, content and language required for persuasive letters.
  • Learn how to develop an argument and create texts that persuade – specifically focusing on promoting the use of SmartRider as a cost-effective way to access sustainable transport options.


Before you start

  • Familiarize yourself with Transperth’s electronic ticketing system, SmartRider on the Transperth website. This can be done by viewing the Transperth SmartRider video or reading the SmartRider fact file page 
  • Read the Excursion Help page 
  • Select an excursion venue and ensure it can be accessed by public transport. The school and excursion venue both need to be within walking distance to stops or stations. Work out what time you need to arrive at and leave the excursion venue and then use the journey planner to check the overall timing. 
  • Print enough copies of the fact files for half of your class each: 
    Our System 
    Our Ticket SmartRider


For a SmartRider to be issued to each student, the following steps need to be taken:
  1. Ask students to complete sections 1, 2 and 3 of their application form, along with their persuasive letter to their parents.
  2. Supply each student with an envelope, or staple together their persuasive letter, the application form and a cover letter from the teacher (sample supplied). 
  3. Send the letters and application form home with the students and ask them to ensure that the forms are filled out within one week and returned to school. 
  4. Parents will be asked to check that the information on the form is correct, sign and make a verbal agreement with their child to load $5 onto the card once it arrives (there are several ways to add value, which will be outlined later).
  5. Once all completed forms are returned, send the completed forms to Monitor WA as one package. Send to: SmartRider, PO Box 10, Westminster, WA 6061
  6. The cards will arrive in the students’ letter box in 5-7 days. Ask students to let you know once their cards arrive so you can ‘check them off’ as having a SmartRider ready for the next excursion.  Ensure that parents know how to load money on the card, ready for the excursion.
  7. Alternatively, if you would like cards sent to school, please state this request on school letterhead and place with Application Forms. 
  8. Let Transperth Education team on 9326 3970 or know you have submitted the forms so that they can send you a free set of lanyards for your class for your efforts. 
  9. Ensure that your excursion information asks that the students bring their SmartRiders, with enough value on them (at least $1.20) to school the day before the excursion. 
  10. As part of your excursion planning, contact Transperth via the Excursion Planning page to arrange assistance with travelling on public transport.


Lesson Introduction - Option 1 (10 minutes)

Before you begin the lesson, give each student a letter (see sample persuasive letter) just before they head out for recess or lunch and ask them to read it. This persuasive letter asks students to wipe their feet once they come into the room. Write a suitable class reward on the board (eg a game or activity they like to play), so they can see it when they come back.

Once students return to the classroom, count the number of students who wipe their feet (you may wish to compare this to a previous tally).

When all students are seated, explain that you noticed there was a higher number of students wiped their feet after they read your ‘persuasive letter’. Have a brief discussion about which parts of the letter were the most effective in persuading the students. These elements can be referred to later when students write their letter.

Lesson Introduction - Option 2 (10 minutes)

Select an excursion venue that is suitable for your class, relevant to an upcoming classroom topic and on a train line. Tell your students they can go on an excursion but only if they persuade you to do so. 

Get students to work in pairs to think about some good arguments to persuade you and then after five minutes, tell them ‘persuade me’. As they call out, write their ideas on the board, with factual answers (we will learn new things, it will be a chance for parents to get involved) on one side and emotive arguments (we will have fun, we will behave) on the other. Once all the ideas are all on the board, point out some of the strongest arguments and explain why they were effective.

Introduction to SmartRiders (15 minutes)


Tell students that you have planned a school excursion. Explain that the best way of getting to the venue is to catch public transport, and the most cost-effective and convenient means of this is for everyone to have a SmartRider. Show students an actual SmartRider if you have one yourself or show them an image.


Explain that a SmartRider will enable them to travel to and from the excursion venue for 60c each way, which is a massive cost saving compared to a charter bus (perhaps have some cost examples from buses taken to previous excursions). Explain that SmartRiders cover all three modes of Perth’s public transport system.


Check student awareness and understanding by asking a few general questions. For example:


  • What are the three modes of transport with Transperth?
  • Which ones have you been on?
  • Can you think of the closest bus stop and/or train station to our school?
  • Can you describe the directions/terminating points of any of Perth’s train lines?

Explain to students that they are going to be writing a persuasive letter to their parents to ask for a SmartRider card that will enable them to go on a school excursion (or more than one). To do this, they will need to gather some facts. The facts need to cover both the benefits of SmartRider and the benefits of using public transport to get to an excursion.


Show students the video for SmartRider so they know how it works. Pass a sample SmartRider around if you have one.


Looking at benefits (20 minutes)


Split the class in half. Tell one half they will gather facts on the benefits of SmartRider for their excursion and the other half will gather facts on the benefits of using public transport for an excursion.


Ask students in the two ‘teams’ to pair up and hand each pair the relevant Fact File:


Fact File 1: Our System 

Fact File 2: Our Ticket SmartRider 


Give students time to read the fact files and brainstorm their ideas. Explain clearly that some benefits won’t be on the sheets. For example, get students to think about what they might learn and benefit as a class from using public transport.


Once students have completed their brainstorms, summarise the best responses on the board (making sure you have headings for which benefits are for SmartRider and which are for the use of public transport) Focus on responses that would work well for their letters and use plenty of prompts and hints if they need more help.


Possible responses may include:


Using SmartRider

  • Students will have a SmartRider for other personal uses
  • Students will receive free lanyards 
  • SmartRiders are cheaper than cash tickets
  • Using a SmartRiders is easier and safer than handling money in public
  • SmartRiders are more robust and less like to get lost than paper tickets
  • Students learn to be responsible for their own SmartRider
  • Give up to 25% discount on the cash fare equivalent on weekends and long summer break


Using Public Transport for excursions

  • Public transport saves money (cheaper than a charter bus)
  • Catching public transport with Transperth’s Excursion Assistance program may be easier for teacher than managing a charter bus
  • Public transport (especially trains and ferries) are not affected by traffic jams 
  • Public transport does not require finding parking or stopping space for a bus
  • As part of the excursion experience, students can learn life skills using public transport

NB: Whilst group tickets are available for train and ferry, they are not available on buses so students and teachers pay an additional charge to use Transperth buses. SmartRider is for all modes and for students it’s just 60c each way.

Planning a persuasive letter (20 minutes)

Tell students they will be using the benefits they discovered to write a persuasive letter to their parents to get them to agree to the SmartRider application, with the promise of loading $5 onto it for future travel including school excursions.


Ask students to stand up. Tell them that one side of the room represents “Stronger Argument” and the other side represents “Weaker Argument”. Ask students to think about which of the benefits would be most likely to persuade their parents to give them a SmartRider. Read each benefit aloud and get students to stand on the relevant side based on what they think their parents might be persuaded by.


Once this task is completed, ask students to sit down and write three to five reasons on their planning page. Tell them to keep this for the next lesson. Keep the other reasons on the board for future reference. 

Lesson Two

Planning a persuasive letter (10 minutes)

Talk about what a persuasive letter is and the elements in them by talking through the checklist provided. Using the sample foot-wiping letter, ask students to help you identify all the checklist elements in it.  


Draw students’ attention to the correct letter format, as shown in the sample letter.


Writing the draft letter (30 – 40 minutes)


Tell students to write the first draft of their letter, using their listed benefits from the last lesson.


As students write their letter, encourage them to use the checklist to guide them, and ensure they include at least three advantages as listed on the board. They may also add their own ideas if they wish.


Editing the letter (20 minutes)


Once students have completed the first draft of their letter, they can swap with a partner and read their letters aloud. If there are any parts that do not make sense to their partner, they can made edits to their own letters.


You may choose to edit the students’ first drafts or simply allow them to self-edit before they write their final copy in neat handwriting or word processing.


Writing the final copy (30 minutes)


Provide students with the means (clean blank paper or word processing facilities) of producing their final letter. Ensure attention to spelling, grammar and neat writing.


Filling out the form (15 minutes)

Post a completed copy of the Application for Student SmartRider form on the interactive whiteboard or hand out printed copies. Provide the students with a blank copy of the Application for Student SmartRider form and ask them to fill out the sections indicated.  Their parents will check the details on this form when they get home. Staple together or place the students’ letter in envelopes with a cover letter (sample supplied) and their form to complete.  

Extension Activities

Students could extend their learning in this unit by:

  • Selecting from the list of excursion venues (see below)  OR look at current topics to choose an excursion venue that is linked.
  • Using online maps to locate the excursion venue and the school.
  • Using Transperth’s JourneyPlanner to plan the trip to the excursion venue, keeping in mind the arrival time at the venue, time needed for the excursion and lunch breaks, etc.
  • Investigating free or low cost excursion venues to maximise the use of the SmartRider.
  • With teacher-supplied costs for the excursion with the bus, working out the cost per head of using a charter bus versus Transperth and calculate the savings.
  • On the excursion, recording the process of using Transperth using note taking/photography and or videos and creating a presentation for other classes at the school to demonstrate the benefits of using Transperth. 


Excursion Venues within walking distance of Train or Ferry

  1. State Library of Western Australia – Perth Station
  2. Art Gallery of Western Australia – Perth Station
  3. Perth Concert Hall – Perth Station
  4. Bell Tower – Elizabeth Quay Station
  5. Perth Zoo – Mends St Jetty Ferry Service
  6. Western Australian Maritime Museum – Fremantle Station
  7. Western Australian Shipwrecks Museum – Fremantle Station
  8. Fremantle Prison – Fremantle Station (CAT bus)
  9. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre  - Fremantle Station
  10. Scitech – City West Station
  11. Barking Gecko Theatre Company (State Theatre) – Perth Station
  12. Subiaco Arts Centre – Daglish Station (10 minutes walk)
  13. Constable Care Safety School – Maylands Station (8 minutes walk)



Use the assessment sheet provided to mark students’ letters. You may also wish to use criteria from the HASS (Skills) learning area to evaluate students’ participation in the research component of the unit. 

Australian curriculum

Year 5 and 6 English Curriculum Links

Strand -


Content Description Yr 5

Content Description Year 6


Language for interaction

Understand that patterns of language interaction vary across social contexts and types of texts and that they help to signal social roles and relationships (ACELA1501)

Understand the uses of objective and subjective language and bias (ACELA1517)

Text Structure and Organisation

Understand how texts vary in purpose, structure and topic as well as the degree of formality (ACELA1504)

Understand how authors often innovate on text structures and play with language features to achieve particular aesthetic, humorous and persuasive purposes and effects (ACELA1518)

Expressing and developing ideas

Understand the difference between main and subordinate clauses and that a complex sentence involves at least one subordinate clause (ACELA1507)

Understand the use of vocabulary to express greater precision of meaning, and know that words can have different meanings in different contexts (ACELA1512)

Investigate how complex sentences can be used in a variety of ways to elaborate, extend and explain ideas (ACELA1522)

Investigate how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of meaning, feeling and opinion (ACELA1525)

Identify and explain how analytical images like figures, tables, diagrams, maps and graphs contribute to our understanding of verbal information in factual and persuasive texts. ACELA1524


Interacting with others

Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)

Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)

Interpreting, analysing, evaluating

Identify and explain characteristic text structures and language features used in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts to meet the purpose of the text (ACELY1701)

Analyse how text structures and language features work together to meet the purpose of a text. ACELY1711

Creating texts

Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704)

Re-read and edit student’s own and others’ work using agreed criteria for text structures and language features (ACELY1705)

Develop a handwriting style that is becoming legible, fluent and automatic (ACELY1706)

Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements (ACELY1707)

Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience ACELY1714

Re-read and edit students’ own and others’ work using agreed criteria and explaining editing choices. ACELY1715

Develop a handwriting style that is legible, fluent and automatic and varies according to audience and purpose. ACELY1716

Use a range of software, including word processing programs, learning new functions as required to create texts. ACELY1717

 Year 5 and 6 HASS Curriculum Links



Content Description Year 5 and 6

Humanities and Social Sciences skills

Questioning and Researching

Identify current understandings, consider possible misconceptions and identify personal views on a topic (e.g. KWL chart,concept map)

Develop and refine a range of questions required to plan an inquiry

Locate and collect information and/or data from a range of appropriate primary sources and secondary sources (e.g. museums, media library catalogues, interviews, internet)


Interpret information and/or data collected (e.g. sequence events in chronological order, identify cause and effect, make connections with prior knowledge)

Identify different points of view/perspectives in information and/or data (e.g. analyse language, identify motives)


Use decision-making processes (e.g. share opinions and personal perspectives, consider different points of view, identify issues, develop possible solutions, plan for action, identify advantages and disadvantages of different options)

Communicating and Reflecting

Develop a variety of texts, including narratives, descriptions, biographies and persuasive texts, based on information collected from source materials

Reflect on learning, identify new understandings and act on findings in different ways (e.g. suggest additional questions to be investigated, propose a course of action on an issue that is significant to them)


This lesson is designed so each student can obtain a SmartRider and travel on excursions using public transport.

Students will learn the benefits of using public transport and SmartRider over a regular ticket or group ticket. They demonstrate their understandings by writing a persuasive letter which they take home along with an application form, to their parents to ask them for permission to set up a SmartRider and add value to allow it to be used for an excursion. This enables students to take an active role in the process of acquiring a SmartRider and facilitates their involvement in the school excursion planning.

Print* Email

*ensure the required content areas on the left are expanded when printing.