California Association for Safety Education

IPDE - A Picture is worth a thousand words

by Shannon Woods, River City High School

Purpose: To assist students in gaining understanding through application of IPDE process.


    • At least 1 4x6 photograph of traffic situations mounted onto stiff paper like cardstock and placed in a protective cover.  It is best if you can take pictures of the school neighborhood including residential, multi lane, highway, parking lots, etc...

      • Same copy of pictures of traffic situations in a PowerPoint presentation (if you have the technology, otherwise use overhead transparencies).

      • Paper and pencil for each student


    1. Break students into groups of 3 to 4. Have students take out paper and pencil.

      2. Have students look at a picture. Then in writing describe what they see. Have them Identify all potential hazards, real hazards, etc... Then Predict what will happen with the other driver, their car and themselves... Then Decide what actions they will need to take... then Execute that decision, describing in detail the procedures they would use to put decision into action.

      3. Repeat until students have viewed all pictures handed to group.

      4. Have students discuss their IPDE process with group, and as a group prepare the best IPDE process for each picture.

      5. Show pictures on overhead or PowerPoint.  Have group leader share picture and their IPDE process with entire class. Continue with as many students sharing as possible.

My Comments:

This activity can get rather loud if you like a quiet classroom. I really enjoy giving the students a variety of traffic situations from very safe and easy, like single stop sign with no traffic, to very complex situations, like multi-lane street with drawbridge, railroad crossing and 4-way traffic signal at rush hour. Different students see different hazards in each picture so the ability to discuss what they see is important. Biggest thing I learned in this activity: Don’t answer for them. Allow them to voice their own answers.  I get a lot of positive student feedback from this activity.

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