Skip Navigation

Mid-America Transportation Center

Teacher Resource Center


Lesson Overview

Lesson Title:
Historical means of transporting commerce to the land of the Umonhon

Mrs. Michele Barcelona (Primary)

Brief Description:
The students will view a brief presentation on a historic method of commerce trading noting that roads, rails, cars, trucks, and airplanes did not exist at the time. Students will learn about Keelboats and how they were used to travel the Missouri river from one location to another carrying crew and goods. Students will then need to construct a way to transport goods on a river using various items in the classroom (teacher may decide on further parameters, however, craft sticks, hot glue, plastic wrap, tinfoil, and tape may be some basic items to have available).

Topics Introduced:
Trade, transportation, load, balance, buoyancy

Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics Curriculum Framework Components Addressed:
Logistics Planning and Management Services
Transportation Systems/ Infrastructure Planning, Management and Regulation
Sales and Service
Suggested Grade Levels:
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
9th Grade


Lesson Information

Learning Expectations:

Students will:
1. Explore types of transportation used in historic times and the forces that act upon them.
2. Explore the history of commerce transportation and compare the various types.
3. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of various types of transportation (boats).
4. Recognize factors to consider when designing a commerce transport.
5. Design, build, and test a floating commerce transportation vehicle working from the Design Challenge.

Plan Of Action:

Students will view the PowerPoint presentation and become familiar with how goods were transported in our area prior to Highways and tucks. They will then design and build a transportation device that will be able to float while carrying a load.

Data Set Used:

Students will use various resources provided to collect data during their research of the topic.
Students will be given rules and supplies for this activity.
IE: load size vs buoyancy.

Materials Needed:

You will need planning materials such as pencil and paper.

The following materials may be used, however, based on the challenge you may select alternate materials as available to your classroom setting.

1. Craft Sticks
2. Hot glue guns
3. Hot glue sticks
4. Various tape types (packaging, duct, masking, etc.)
5. Tin foil
6. Plastic wrap
7. Large container for testing buoyancy
8. Access to water for testing
9. Weights for testing (can use fishing weights, metal washers, river rocks, etc.)
10. Scale sensitive enough to measure by grams.
11. Items fo clean up

Preparation Period:

1. Download, preview, and become familiar with the attached PowerPoint.
Locate, preview, and save videos and images of historical means of transporting goods if you choose to add some for enrichment and comparison.
2. Locate and set up materials for the Buoyancy Test and for the Design Challenge.
3. Preview/Practice different ways to use available materials as floating transport for the demonstration.

Implementation Period:

PowerPoint 10-15 minutes, Design and Build 30-60 minutes, and Testing 15-30 minutes

Science, Math, Engineering and / or Technology Implications:

Students will experience the changes in available technology used for trade. They will view a set of problems and learn to design solutions using math, science, and engineering skills. This will build a stronger pool of students who become interested in these fields of study.

Lesson Files

Historic Transportation of Commerce PPT
Slide presentation of basic background information regarding the trade route and the Umonohon.
[size: 29158806] [date uploaded: Oct 26, 2020, 3:51 pm ]

Some video files may require Adobe Flash to open or view.
Download Adobe Flash Player