Friday, February 27, 2015

Packaging Crayons: Assembly Line vs. No Division of Labor

Help students understand the efficiency of an assembly line by having them package crayons! In this activity half of the class is part of an assembly line and the other half has no division of labor.

Assembly Line Instructions:
Separate crayons by color into different bins.
Lay the bins out in a line.
Put a package of Ziploc bags at one end of the line.
Put an empty bin on the other end of the line (used to "ship" crayons out to consumers).
Students sit in a line, pass the baggie down the line and add 1 crayon.
The last person zips up the bag and puts it in the bin to send off!

No Division of Labor:
Set out crayons in separate bins (separated by color exactly like the assembly line).
Put the bin for "shipping" crayons near the line.
Give each child 1 Ziploc bag to start out with.
Give each child a special ticket.
Ticket has their name on and the order in which they have to collect crayons in their bag.
Students work independently collecting crayons.
Make sure that you make out tickets so kids have to go to the same color crayon bin at the same time to provide them with a challenge!
Once students collect their crayons, they zip their bag and put it in the bin.
Then they have to grab another bag and follow the list of colors on their ticket again!

Have students package crayons for 2-3 minutes. Who will finish first?! When time is up check their crayon bags. Does each bag have 1 of each color crayon? If not the bag cannot be counted.

Students discover that they can package more crayons by making an assembly line.
Have kids talk about what way they found to be easier: assembly line or no division of labor.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seed Engineers

Students are challenged to construct a device to make a popcorn kernel disperse! They invented contraptions that helped a kernel burst (explode), travel by water or wind, attach to humans/animals or look tempting enough to get digested! Visit We Are Teachers to check out my post: Third Grade Seed Experimentation: Adapting a Popcorn Kernel!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Play Dough Economics

Snakes and Donuts: This fun economics activity comes from Raki's Rad Resources. Students are given 1 minute to create as many snakes and donuts as they can! There are 7 rounds. Students experiment with working independently, in a partnership (joint-venture) and in a group. One round challenges them to use only half of their play dough because resources are short! Another round has color change the value of their product. Students with a certain color earn more points because that particular color is high in demand. Students learn about "natural resources, human resources, trade policies, supply and demand and value." 

Above are the students in my class making their snakes and donuts. They really enjoyed this economics lesson and it helped reinforce their economics vocabulary. After they made their snakes and donuts for 7 rounds, they calculated their points for each round which integrated math in the lesson! Another important point we discussed prior to the lesson was the importance of craft. We discussed how their goal was to create as many snakes and donuts as they could for each round. However, their snakes and donuts should look nice because companies want consumers to keep buying their product. If they sent out a bad snake or donut they would loose consumers! Their snakes had to be the length of an unsharpened pencil. Once they had a good snake it could be transformed into a donut by connecting the "head" and the "tail." This aspect made their task of creating snakes and donuts even more challenging!

Visit Raki's Rad Resources for a pdf that includes detailed instructions.
Click here for a recording sheet I created to go along with this activity.