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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Transportation Systems Engineering

Teacher Resource Center

Lesson Overview
Lesson Title:
Transportation Problem Solving

Mrs. Sara Stewart (Primary)

Brief Description:
This lesson allows students to work through the 4 steps of problem solving. Using these 4 steps, students solve a problem that introduces them to how food is transported from the field to the factory.

Topics Introduced:
Transportation, farming

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Transportation Operations
Suggested Grade Levels:
7th Grade
8th Grade

Standards Taught:
8.6.2 Math 2006
8.2.2 Math 2006

Lesson Information
Learning Expectations:

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to solve real life problems using the four-step problem solving method.  This activity should be used in conjunction with teaching problem solving to junior high students to increase their awareness of how transportation in farming works and to practice the four steps of problem solving.

Plan Of Action:

Students should first be introduced to the four step method of problem solving.  They should spend 1-2 days practicing problems using this method.  At the end of the given time period, this activity can be used to bolster their use of the problem solving method.

Students will be given a real life situation where they need to transport grain to a grain elevator so it can be loaded on a train and sent to Downers Grove, IL (home of Sara Lee Bakery). They will calculate how much money they will make on the sale of the grain. Students will either use information that they gather from researching or may use information the teacher gives to them.

Data Set Used:


Materials Needed:

Students will need a calculator and scratch paper for the problem. They will also need a copy of the problem, the steps needed to be taken, and information given/or to research (all available in supporting materials).  If you like, a short PowerPoint presentation is also provided that goes over th process of the problem.

Preparation Period:

This lesson does not take much preparation.  You will need a handout with the problem and steps to give to the students.  You can also decide if you want your students to research information for the problem or give them the information yourself (both handouts are included in the handout section).

Implementation Period:

This lesson will take a full week.

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

Problem solving is an important concept in the mathematics field.  Students often feel uneasy about word problems because of all the information presented that they have to go through to find what is needed.  When students are given real-life situations, they are more often able to overcome their hesitations and really enjoy problem solving like the problem presented in this lesson.

Unexpected Results:


Considerations for Diversity in Education:

There are two different sets of instructions that can be given to students in this lesson.  Students who may have trouble locating information can be given the information they need to use in the problem.  Students who are more advanced can be given the links to find the information.  This allows all students in the classroom to be involved in the problem solving exercise no matter their ability level.

Lesson Files
Information to Research
This document contains hyperlinks to information students can use for the problem if you want your students to do research.
[size: 29696] [date uploaded: Jun 26, 2008, 2:42 pm ]

Written Problem
This document presents the problem to the students. The second sheet gives them the steps to follow in solving the problem.
[size: 28160] [date uploaded: Jul 13, 2008, 1:50 pm ]

Given Information
This is the information students will need to solve the problem. If you do not want students to research, this is their guide.
[size: 29696] [date uploaded: Jul 13, 2008, 1:52 pm ]

Answers for Problem
These answers are for the problem in which the information has been given. Answers are in blue italics. If you have the students reserach, the answers can change over time.
[size: 30208] [date uploaded: Jul 13, 2008, 2:07 pm ]

Power Point Presenation on Transporting Grain
This powerpoint presents the steps taken in the problem in a visual way.
[size: 1574400] [date uploaded: May 18, 2009, 10:16 pm ]

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