How to Get Students to Own Their Manufacturing Process In the Algebra 1 in Manufacturing Processes, Entrepreneurship and Design (AMPED)

Getting students to take pride in their workmanship is hard to do but critical to the success of the AMPED program. I am sure as a teacher, you have had a similar concern. We will share some quick bullet points of our experience in hopes that one or two of the ideas will be of use in your classroom.

At the start of the year teachers shared the purpose of the manufacturing done in the class. It is to support (fund) projects that directly benefit the students themselves and to benefit various non-profits that they will be helping.

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    Long Boards and Personal Products

    Teachers discussed and had a guest speaker discuss business ethics and how it applies to the AMPED manufacturing business.

  • Early in the class, teachers did numerous team builders and cooperative group activities to get students to begin to build relationships and trust with each other.
  • Teachers reward good behavior both in the math classroom and in the manufacturing area. They do this through the use of stamps (similar to what we do in Geometry in Construction). Teachers want to acknowledge and reward good behavior such as note taking, self starting, being a risk taker in answering class questions, working together well on the warm-ups or homework activities, etc.
  • The teachers did a toolkit manufacturing activity within the first week of class. Toolkits are note pages that students can use through out the year for their personal use on tests. Once the activity was done, extensive processing was done about how to streamline the production process.
  • Teachers tell students the specifics of what the class has to manufactu

    Plaques are a popular product

    re and the constraints. For example, 60 t-shirts of various sizes need to be produced in 45 minutes by 8 groups/heat presses. Teachers include other things such as the cost of each t-shirt and print and what is the selling price.

  • The teachers always demo the process of what will be manufactured in front of the students, showing all the necessary steps in producing an item. For example, they bring a heat press into the class and model how to apply a heat transfer to a t-shirt. ┬áStudents then create a critical path for producing the item.
  • Teachers give ideas of what the jobs/tasks have been missed, if any. Sometimes the teachers will show photos of some the tasks that the other classes have identified. If needed, students do any modifications to the production process, ultimately developing their own procedure.
  • Give the ownership to the class of the production process. The class develops the goals for each group and what is the production process (we call it the order of operation) for the whole class to follow. Each student must be assigned a defined job.

    Students design the manufacturing process

  • Students record their production amount, their defects, their time for completion of the whole process, and any adjustments they made on the fly. It is completely ok to have students stop production in mid process and have a quick meeting to discuss how to improve.
  • After the first production run (and several throughout the first semester), teachers facilitated a class discussion evaluating the production process. What worked well? Were there idle students? Were there any bottlenecks? How many defects? Did you make a profit.

Letting go of the control of the specifics of the production process is tough. However, the teachers have been successful in trusting the kids to drive the production process. It has worked well with lots of student buy-in.

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