Commodity transportation

How do transportation and logistics affect our food supply?

Getting food from farms to markets is dependent on many forms of transportation, and involves careers related to logistics, infrastructure, commodity trading, and engineering. Students learn about the variety of careers and the challenges of moving soybeans from Ohio to international destinations.


# Learn

Students read an article to gain background information on the transportation of commodities from an industry expert and Ohio farmer.


# Explore

Students watch a career video exploring Ohio’s rail system and future needs for jobs in logistics and transportation. An additional news article presents a challenge about how U.S. flooding affects international trade.


# Share

Students research and share about one of 15+ careers in transportation and logistics needed to get food from farms to markets.


# Simulate logistics

Students complete a simulation to decide how to ship soybeans and corn.


Teacher background

More than 50% of Ohio’s soybeans are bound for international markets such as China and Mexico. Moving soybeans along the Mississippi to export terminals in New Orleans has many challenges including out-dated canals, barge traffic and flooding. Moving soybeans by rail requires more than train operators and is a growing area for careers related to logistics, engineering, and environmental experts.

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Next gen science standards

Science and engineering practices

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking

Crosscutting concepts

  • Scale, proportion, and quantity

Disciplinary core ideas/content

  • ESS3A Natural resources
  • ESS3C Human impacts on Earth systems
  • ETS1B Developing possible solutions
  • ETS1C Optimizing the design solution
  • ETS2B Influence of engineering, technology and science on society and the natural world