How Products are Manufactured?


Subject Area

Engineering and Technology
Age or Grade

6th Grade
Estimated Length

45 Minutes
Prerequisite knowledge/skills

  • Intuition
  • Basic knowledge of what manufacturing is
  • Ability to solve word problems
Description of New Content

This activity is meant to be used as an ice breaker for a full on manufacturing unit. The lesson is supposed to give the students an overall view of what happens in a manufacturing process.
The students will learn almost every aspect related to manufacturing through 3 activities.


  • The students will understand the difference between mass production and custom manufacturing.
  • The students will have a basic understanding on how items go from a raw material to a manufactured finished product.
  • The students will have an understanding of the business side of manufacturing.
Materials Needed

  • Products that have been mass produced ( pencils, candy, compact discs, etc.)
  • Products that are custom manufactured (keys, keychains, pictures of houses, pictures of bridges, etc.)
  • Bags to hold products
  • Lamenated cards that each represent a step in the manufascturing process of a product (we used Hersheys kisses as our product)
      • each card has a picture of the process and the name of the process
  • Worksheets







To open the lesson, the teacher passes out the materials (products, lamenated cards, and the worksheets). He/She then will explain the directions for each of the activities. The students are then broken up into groups of three or four. Since the activity is inquiry based, the students will then work through the activity in their groups. The teacher will move through out the class to make sure the students are understanding the material.


Activity 1: In the first activity, the students will take the mass produced and the custom manufactured items out of the bag. The groups will break the items into two groups, mass produced items and custom manufactured items. The students will then write the products into the correct column on the worksheet (mass produced items go in the mass produced column and the custom manufactured items go in the custom manufactured column).

Activity 2: In the second activity, the students will take the lamenated cards out of the bag. Each lamenated card will represent a process step for manufacturing a Hersheys Kiss. The objective of this activity is for the students to put the process in sequential order using the cards. The students will move the cards around until they feel that they have the right process order. Finally the students will write the correct order on the worksheet.

Activity 3: The last activity has the groups work on a simple word problem. This word problem will ask the students a question based on the business side of manufacturing. The students will work the problem out, then write the answer on the work sheet.



The closure of the activity is very important. You have to make sure the students leave with a good grip on how products are manufactured. In order to do this, the teacher should take the final 10 minutes to go over the answers to each activity with the whole class. This way all the students will know the correct answers to each activity.



As students work through the 3 activities, they have to fill out a worksheet which will be graded after the activity is over.

The extension is a 2 week unit in which the students will manufacture keychains using the classroom milling machine. This unit will give the students an insight into how a real manufacturing plant works.
References Worksheets