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Summer SAVY, Session 1 Day 2, Industrial Engineering (3rd – 4th)

Posted by on Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in blog, SAVY.

Industrial Engineers and their Families,  

I was so impressed with our simple machine predators! Students used the thinking strategy SCAMPER to promote creative thinking and make changes to design the best predators. An explanation about how each predator worked or why it is the best is included; you can support your learners in adding more details at home to grow writing fluency! We only wrote one or two sentences in class, but many students have more than a paragraph of ideas in their heads.  

This morning, we analyzed the origin of industrial engineering. We simulated assembly lines. First, students were tasked with making engineering folders individually; materials were limited to one stapler, one tape dispenser, six rulers, six markers, and paper in each factory. Our stats were dismal: the class could only make 6 folders in 10 minutes; 50% of our products were defective, and ultimately trashed, and many students were caught doing nothing for the first 8 minutes because they were waiting for materials. This led to some major frustration, but through the Engineering Design Process, we agreed to redistribute materials more efficiently. Students were “rehired” for a specialized role. Staplers, tapers, drawers, and writers united to create 18 folders in 10 minutes! We were thrilled by our 300% production increase. Less than 5% of our products were defective, and students were caught doing nothing for less than 2 minutes. We used these stats to make connections to the ideas of systems as technology from yesterday, and we added some new words to our vocabulary: efficiency, optimize, and assembly line. Our engineers later personalized the folders to hold some course materials, so you will see our assembly line products make their way into your homes later this week! We reflected on the Engineering Design Process and applied those SCAMPER thinking skills to brainstorm how we might improve if we were doing the simulation again. 

After lunch, we explored industrial engineering through the lens of a historian: Who invented the assembly line? How do these original (Whitney, Olds, and Ford) industrial engineers think? What is the relationship between the field of industrial engineering and the Industrial Revolution? We used the Double Fishbone thinking strategy to analyze the Industrial Revolution’s causes and effects.   

Finally, students combined their new ideas about efficiency and optimization to solve a Factory Design Problem. We had a crash course in leadership and communication skills; as industrial engineers managing the factory, students were expected to write a plan for their factories that was clear and concise and that was a compromise of the stakeholders in the factory.  When given a list of stats about a factory and new success criteria for the Industrial Engineering Solutions, students worked in teams to create a plan that optimized the factory and was clear, ethical, and employed good leadership and communication skills. This plan was presented on a poster in a mock business meeting requiring students to exercise and flex their communication skills to get others to understand their goals.  

Tonight you could ask your engineers:  

  • Review: Describe the emergence of industrial engineering and its relationship to the Industrial Revolution. Was the Industrial Revolution mostly good or mostly bad? What about the assembly line?  
  • Think Like an Industrial Engineer: After trying our new system for the mornings, what improvements need to be made? What data might prove our system is more efficient? 
  • Design: Explain your Industrial Engineering Solution to the Factory Design Problem. What was the biggest issue in the factory? How did you solve it? What subsystems does your system (solution) include? Outline the input, output, boundaries, and interactions of your system.  

I can’t wait to see you tomorrow for Day 3! Exciting things are coming; we will explore (and calculate!) the physics of work and deeply analyze types of simple machines.  

Ms. Whiting