Magazine article Technology and Children

Line Them Up and Move Them On!

Magazine article Technology and Children

Line Them Up and Move Them On!

Article excerpt


Technological advancements, from better transportation systems to mass production, have vastly changed the way items are produced around the world. In fact, few advancements in history have affected this change as much as the assembly line and mass production. Before factories as we know them today, people made products in their homes from resources endemic to their area. Each household specialized in a different product or craft, usually making one item at a time. This process is called custom manufacturing.

As craftspeople began to work in groups, the first factories and manufacturing processes were created. Assembly-line production allowed a more efficient way to manufacture items in large quantities. Mass production makes it possible to produce more items in a short time. It also makes products less expensive to make and therefore less expensive to buy. In this activity, you and your students will decide on a product to make and then set up an assembly line to mass-produce the items. If you have a school, community, or global cause to support, this is an excellent way for your students to become involved.

For this activity, the students will produce a fish or frog window reflector (see photograph above), but you could be mass producing cookies or candy, school stationery, put-together kits of Legos or K'NEX, small packages of school materials, etc. You can even do all in-class art activity where the students produce art masks, bats, or paper airplanes in a mass production assembly line. The object is to see how quickly mass production produces items and also to recognize that there is still a need for custom manufacturing for that one-of-a kind item.

Design Activity

Design and mass-produce a product.


* Old compact disks (CDs) or you
can buy them inexpensively (less
than a quarter)

* Clothespins

* Fishing line

* Fishing swivels or small safety

* Art foam core (color to be
determined by what shape you are

* Fish body and fin template (you
and your students can design
them or you can select ones to

* Glue guns

* Glue

* Glue-on eyes (available at craft

* Scissors

* Hand drill (or you can pre-drill
the holes if you don't have the
equipment to use at school)

* Inexpensive rubber gloves

* Safety glasses if available


1. Discuss the difference between
mass production and custom
manufacturing with your students. … 
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