Friday, June 15, 2012

Timber Transport in the 21st Century

Last Thursday on I-77 near Chesapeake, I passed a truck carrying a load of logs. The development of the modern truck for transport of large, cumbersome items changed the face of mass transport for the United States. Trucks are primarily utilized for commodity goods for end user consumption, but are also used for movement of raw materials such as coal or wood. Intricate supply systems are now in place for rapid fulfillment of orders as needed to lower overhead costs for companies.
According to a 2007 study from the University of Memphis, 4%, in tons, of freight moved by truck was a wood product. While this number is low, the flexibility of trucks creates opportunities that are much more difficult via railroad. The numbers change when examining revenues for truck versus rail transport. 27% of all revenue for railroads is generated by wood, paper, and associated products. That translates to $2.70 out of every $10 is directly impacted by timber or wood products.
Looking at this data, how does revenue show the impact of timber on railroads? Why would this information be relevant when maintaining rail lines or building new ones?

Report retrieved from:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Activities Updated

The links below lead to activities I have created for use with the Forest and Rail project for 6th grade. The lessons are challenge-based learning activities that encompass standards from each core content area. The students will be pushed to complete the activities within the allotted time frames reflecting authentic, real-world situations they will encounter in life. Working in small groups, the students will also be building 21st Century skills while manipulating the tools needed to succeed in the future.

Some questions that students will need to research and solve include:
  1. What types of trees grow in the BHMS forest?
  2. Why use GPS to mark tree locations? Why would that help others?
  3. How does tree height effect board feet? What other factors effect board feet output?
  4. How do I use a clinometer? Why use one?
  5. Why use Shay/Climax locomotives for transporting timber? 
  6. How does slope limit train movement? 
  7. How do I design a railroad to move timber to a sawmill? Why plot the route on the map?
  8. How does sharing my findings help others understand timber operations?
The activities are also housed in the left navigation pane.

Trees in the School Forest
Board Feet:Student Guide
Timber to Mill:Build a Railroad