Let's get moving!
In this lesson, students explore supply chains through a mystery bag activity. This lesson is the first in a two-lesson unit. The lesson that follows is Turning back the wheel of time.
A lesson plan for grades 2–3 Social Studies
Provided by Kenan Fellows Program
It is a mystery to many people how stuff is moved around the world. In this lesson, students will work in cooperative groups to discuss items in mystery bags that relate to a simple supply chain. After interacting with a teacher-guided PowerPoint about economy, logistics, and supply chains, students will complete tasks to make connections with the components of a supply chain. In a guided class activity, a replica of a local item will be moved through the supply chain. Students will then solve the mystery of their bags by putting their components into their own supply chain.
- work in cooperative learning groups to discover the contents of a mystery bag.
- begin a dialogue and make connections to the items in the mystery bags.
- learn about the components of a supply chain and begin to connect items in a supply chain.
- demonstrate an understanding of a simple logistic supply chain and will be able to put the mystery items into their own supply chain.
Approximately four days (30–40 minutes per day)
- Mystery bag T-chart — one per student
- Logistics slideshow notes
- Slideshow task handout &mash; one per student
- Supply chain vocabulary cards — one set per group
- Logistics assessment handout — one per student
- Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Mystery bags containing the following items:
Mystery bag Items One cargo ship
piece of wooden doll
Four tractor trailer
- Logistics slideshow
- PowerPoint software
- Interactive white board
- Multimedia projector
- Document camera
- The students should be familiar with cooperative learning groups and roles.
- Student expectations for partner work and group work should be established prior to completing this lesson.
- Students should already understand the terms supply and demand.
The purpose of this activity is to get the students interested in and curious about the contents of the mystery bags. Also, the students will start to discuss the items in the bags and begin to make connections of how they may or may not relate. Students should be divided into five predetermined cooperative learning groups containing four to six students in each heterogeneous group. Each group of students should then be given a mystery bag.
- Disperse a mystery bag to each group, telling them that you need help solving several mysteries.
- Ask the group of students to open their mystery bags and explore each component of the bag.
- After the groups have a few minutes to explore their bags, have them begin a T-chart about the components of their mystery bag. You may have the students make their own T-chart or use the “Mystery Bag T-chart” handout.
- Remind the students of the purpose of a T-chart, and make sure the students understand how to complete it. After the students complete the I notice and I wonder parts of the chart in their cooperative groups, have the students display their items at the space they are working.
- Have the students then rotate around the room looking at the other mystery bags. Allow students some time to make connections about the items in the bags. Students will hopefully be driven by natural curiosity to begin discussing the contents.
- Make suggestions to students about comparing and contrasting their groups’ mystery bag items. Students should begin this dialogue naturally, but, if not, this may need to be suggested.
- When students finish reviewing and discussing the mystery bags, have them return to their groups. Ask the students to put their items back in the bag along with their T-charts. Let the students know that we will be using our detective skills to solve the mysteries of the bags over the next several days.
Days two and three
- Before beginning the interactive slideshow lesson, make sure students have pencils, markers, crayons, or color pencils, and a copy of the “Slideshow task handout.” Also make sure each student can be easily partnered with a student adjacent to him/her.
- Begin the interactive slideshow about logistics/supply chains. Use the notes (see Handouts/Resources above) to guide you through the slideshow. The students will complete four tasks during the slideshow:
- Task one begins with slide five. Put the students in pairs and make a list of all the ways packages, supplies, and products are moved around the city, state, country, and world. Give the pairs several minutes to discuss these questions and compose their list. The list can be made on plain paper or the task handout.
- Task two begins with slides seventeen and eighteen. During task two, have students explore the meanings of the words imports and exports with their partners. Give the students time to discuss both words and write their answers on their paper. Allow time for students to share their definitions.
- Task three begins on slides twenty-seven and twenty-eight. During this task, have your students work with their partners to draw a picture to illustrate what manufacturers and distributors are on their paper. Students may choose to write this down or simply just discuss the two words. Allow time for the partners to share with others their illustrations or written definitions. Make sure students understand each of the meanings. Take a few minutes for students to work with their partners to change, add to, or alter their definitions/illustrations.
- Task four begins on slides thirty-eight and thirty-nine. During this task, allow students time to make connections to the supply chain of products. Have the partners use the “Supply chain vocabulary cards” to create a diagram of how a product gets to a consumer/customer. Students may decide not to use all their pieces. After the students have created their own supply chain, have the students move around to the room to view other supply chains. Encourage students to compare and contrast each supply chain while evaluating their effectiveness. After returning to their supply chain, have the students reflect with their partner about other supply chain possibilities they could have created. Allow the students to alter their chains and make final placements. When the students finalize their location, have them attach their diagram to construction paper. At this time, let students know that, depending on the product, the supply chains will vary. There are hundreds of different supply chains, depending on manufacturers and distributors. Collect the supply chains.
- Take time to review the content learned during the slideshow. Using a document camera, share a supply chain. Walk through the steps of creating that supply chain. Discuss how logistics ties to the supply chain. Repeat with as many supply chains as you think is necessary.
Day four: Guided practice
- Have students return to their cooperative learning groups from the first day.
- Ask the students to take the contents out of the bag, along with their T-charts, and have them review their T-charts and the contents of the mystery bag.
- After several minutes of allowing students to discuss, ask the cooperative groups to construct a logistic supply chain with the items.
- Pass out to the students the “Supply chain vocabulary cards” for them to use with the items. As the students are completing this, the teacher should be roaming around the room giving feedback and making suggestions as needed
- Use this time to reteach any components the students may be struggling with during this activity.
- Allow time for the students to ask questions of the other groups. For instance, you may need to help guide the discussion by asking, “Why did you put a train carrying the wheat to manufacturer instead of the distributor?” Collect the mystery bag supplies after the students finish the question-and-answer session among the groups.
- The teacher may choose to use the assessment found in the Handouts/Resources section above.
- A formative assessment may be conducted by the teacher as the students work in cooperative learning groups. A general rubric for cooperative groups may be used.
- The teacher will also be able to determine students’ understanding during the lesson as students complete their charts, maps, keys, and create supply chains.
- The teacher will be able to determine if the concepts are understood by analyzing the dialogue among the students.
- The teacher will also be conducting formative assessments as the students complete each task verbally, on paper, or through drawings.
- The students will be using visual representations, lists, and collaborative activities throughout this lesson, the teacher will be able to effectively determine student understanding at this stage of the unit with these tools.
- Students working at a higher level may be encouraged to develop a more in-depth logistics/supply chain or to create two different logistics/supply chains for different items. The student could then compare and contrast the set of supply chains he or she creates.
- Modifications for students with learning disabilities or English Language Learners could include making sure the children are in cooperative learning groups that will promote success (and not with a group that will just do the work for them). Allow these learners to use word/picture cards to help with the supply chain.
- You could also allow them to orally answer questions instead of writing the answers on paper.
- Allowing students a separate time or location to share and explain the supply chain may be needed or wanted depending on the students’ needs.
- a person who uses goods or services
- the buyer of goods or services
- the amount of a given item that is wanted
- a business that distributes goods
- how materials are moved
- a business that makes something in a factory
- a person who uses resources to provide services or make goods
- the amount of a given item that is available
- supply chain
- a system of moving an item from a manufacturer to the consumer
Clip art, illustrations, and photographs provided by Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office, Old Dominion Freight Line, and North Carolina Center for Global Logistics, or were personally taken by Diane Ireland.
- Google Earth for Educators
- This site contains more information on how educators can use Google Earth effectively in their classrooms.
- Logistics World
- This site provides various definitions of logistics.
- What is a supply chain?
- This site provides more information on supply chains.
- Cooperative Learning
- This site provides more information on cooperative learning groups.
- North Carolina Center for Global Logistics
- The North Carolina Center for Global Logistics has valuable information that may be helpful in implementing the lessons and activities.
- North Carolina Ports
- The North Carolina Ports are part of our logistic chain.
- Norfolk Southern
- Norfolk Southern provides rail services throughout the United States.
- Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.
- Old Dominion is a national trucking company that transports products throughout the US and Canada.
- R & R Transportation
- R & R Transportation is a local trucking company that transports products in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee.
- Malt-O-Meal is a company in Asheboro that uses logistics to provide their products throughout the United States.
- FedEx is a global integrated logistics provider.
- UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 7: The learner will apply basic economic concepts and evaluate the use of economic resources within communities.
- Objective 7.01: Distinguish between producers and consumers and identify ways people are both producers and consumers.
- Goal 5: The learner will apply basic economic principles to the study of communities.
- Objective 5.05: Distinguish and analyze the economic resources within communities.
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
- 2.E.1 Understand basic economic concepts. 2.E.1.1 Give examples of ways in which businesses in the community meet the needs and wants of consumers. 2.E.1.2 Explain the roles and impact producers and consumers have on the economy. 2.E.1.3 Summarize the concept...
- 2.G.2 Understand the effects of humans interacting with their environment. 2.G.2.1 Give examples of ways in which people depend on the physical environment and natural resources to meet basic needs. 2.G.2.2 Explain how people positively and negatively affect...
- 3.E.1 Understand how the location of regions affects activity in a market economy. 3.E.1.1 Explain how location impacts supply and demand. 3.E.1.2 Explain how locations of regions and natural resources influence economic development (industries developed around...
- Social Studies (2010)