Lesson 2

Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier

Assembly Lines / Grade 5 / Andover, MA

The EIE Curriculum

EiE - Marvelous Machines: Making Work Easier, L2

Students think like industrial engineers as they compare the advantages and disadvantages of making a product independently to making a product in an assembly line. 

Reflection Questions

What behaviors do you see that indicate students are engaged in the folder-making activity as a hands-on example of industrial engineering?

Tim's students show their investment in the folder-making activity by jumping, yelling, laughing, and contributing to conversations.

  • When the timer goes off, Tim's students jump around, delighted with their progress. (5:18)
  • When Tim asks students about problems they encountered while making folders on their own, almost all students raise their hands and have ideas to contribute. (5:46)
  • Students enthusiastically count down to the last second before they stop the assembly lines. (8:16)


What do you see Tim doing to make sure that his students take away the key ideas from the folder-building activity?

Tim uses handouts and questioning to help students summarize general findings from the assembly line activity.

  • Tim's review of all the steps of making potato chips, followed by the steps of making engineering folders, reinforces students' understanding of processes. (1:04–2:02)
  • Tim gets his students thinking about the whole assembly line process by having students identify bottlenecks and propose solutions. (8:45)
  • Tim has students use the handout to help them summarize and articulate their ideas about the efficiency of the assembly line as a technology. (11:25)