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A Question of Balance

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Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on the use of weight scales and measurement by manufacturing engineers. Teams of students are posed with the challenge of developing a system to fill jars with a specific weight or count of products such as marbles or paperclips.
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Lesson Synopsis 
A Question of Balance explores how engineers use scales and measures when designing a manufacturing process to ensure that final products are uniform in weight or count. Students explore different types of scales, and are challenged to design and build a system to deliver a uniform count or weight of marbles or paperclips into a series of four boxes or jars. They test their systems and evaluate the systems of other student teams.

Age Levels:

  • Learn about manufacturing engineering.
  • Learn about manufacturing systems.
  • Learn about weight packaging and consistency.
  • Learn about teamwork and working in groups.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • manufacturing engineering
  • problem solving
  • teamwork

Lesson Activities

Students learn how manufacturing engineers develop systems for creating consistent products. They work in a team to create a system that delivers a consistent weight or count of marbles or paperclips to a series of jars. Teams plan their system, execute the system, evaluate their own results and that of other students, and present to the class.

  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Worksheets (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheets (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.

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