AMPED Equipment Needs: Describing the CTE Side

Algebra 1 in Manufacturing Processes, Entrepreneurship, and Design (AMPED) is a course that provides a different approach to Algebra 1.  It is driven by showing how the algebra is used in the world.  Describing the CTE side of the course is not as clear cut as saying it ties to manufacturing.  The bullets below will attempt to clarify the “MPED” of AMPED.  A list of the equipment we use is included at the end of each section.

  1. “MP” stands for Manufacturing Processes: Manufacturing Processes can be interpreted a variety of ways by teachers. Our working definition for manufacturing processes is “transforming raw materials into finished goods on a large scale”. It does not matter what you manufacture as long as you can repeat the process enough times so students can use an engineering design cycle to improve the process.  Manufacturing topics includes business ethics, material selection, quality control, prototyping, efficiency, and use of assets (labor and capital). We manufacture our main products to examine and improve the process. However, we also manufacture other items that are not part of the mass production, a.k.a. one-off production.  Equipment that we use include:  a wood shop, laser engraver, 3D printers, CNC router, etc.  Having students physically active in creation of the products is vitally important. However, you could slant your manufacturing towards metals, robotics, electronics, etc.  Some of the products we produce include Christmas gifts, composite long boards, trajectory launchers, corn hole boards, 3D printed cars, etc.  Other schools adapted and produce what fits their facilities and community.
  2. “E” stands for Entrepreneurship: Every CTE program has a strand of business. This piece of the course is a must because this is how Algebra 1 is tied to the CTE. We highly recommend students are involved in producing products that can be sold in a real business they run.  We have elected to produce t-shirts.  For us, custom apparel was an easy place to start because there is a large volume of t-shirts purchased by a variety of sports teams and clubs within our school.  It was an open market for us.  We are able to mass produce them (as mentioned in #1 above) and it fulfills our need to be financially self- supporting. If we need more than 30 t-shirts, our heat transfers are printed by a company outside of school.   If we have a small order of shirts (less than 30) we will print those transfers on the vinyl printer to be cost competitive.  Equipment that we use include:  heat presses, spreadsheet software, and vinyl printer (optional).
  3. “D” stands for Design: Design has many aspects in the AMPED program. First, design is an important element in the Engineering Design Cycle used in the Manufacturing Process.  In addition, we use design software (Adobe Illustrator) to help drive the laser engraver, the 3D printers, and the CNC router in the shop area as well as the art work for the t-shirt transfers. Equipment that we use:  computers (one per pair), design software such as Adobe Illustrator (or similar software).

As AMPED is adopted across the US, schools modify the curriculum and the equipment list to fit their needs.  Some schools pair Algebra 1 with Business (instead of manufacturing) emphasizing the Entrepreneurship and Design portion while other schools use their metal shop creating metal signage with a plasma cutter.  There are many possibilities for teachers and schools to adapt the AMPED curriculum to their individual needs.  During our workshops, we work with teachers on how to modify to fit their situations.