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K-12 STEM Activities (REMS): Activities

Contemporary Manufacturing

Skateboard Assembly – Cycle Time

This activity demonstrates the concept of 'cycle time' within a basic assembly line, which is the time it takes to assemble a part or product.  Work that is done to build skateboards is simulated through videos and animations, allowing students to experience the basic steps of the manufacturing, or assembly, process. Students can calculate the time it takes to assemble various parts of the skateboards well as the entire skateboard.   Students can also gain an appreciation for how changing, or redesigning, the work can impact the cycle time.

Curricular Subjects:
Comparing Rational Numbers, Calculating Averages, Determining Percent Change and Cumulative Percent Change, Modeling (using Cost Analysis), Solving Linear Equations and Systems of Linear Equations
Skateboard Assembly – Line Balance

This activity demonstrates the process of balancing an assembly line, which is designing the same amount of work content, or time, at each workstation.  Work that is done to build skateboards is simulated through video and animation, allowing students to experience the basic steps of the manufacturing, or assembly process. Students will learn how changing the work being done at each workstation, or changing the number of people working, can impact the flow of the assembly line and the utilization of each operator.


Curricular Subjects:
Rounding, using formulas, percent change, slope, linear equations, modeling
Skateboard Assembly-Performance Testing

This activity allows students to analyze data from performance testing on skateboards.  The purpose of wheel bearings reducing friction and its effect on the performance of the skateboard are discussed.  Students make predictions, interpolate, and extrapolate based on given data.  The transfer of energy is demonstrated and discussed as it relates to the skateboard performance testing.

Curricular Subjects:
Mechanical, Potential, and Kinetic Energy, Conservation of Energy, Friction, Interpolating, Extrapolating, Calculating Percent Error, Calculating Averages, Graphing, Line of Best Fit, Writing Equations

Distribution and Logistics

Meal Picking

This activity introduces systems for meal picking at distribution centers for patient cafeterias in hospitals, airline meal services, etc.

Curricular Subjects:
Dependent and Independent Variables, Calculating Averages, Analyzing Data, Modeling (using Cost Analysis), Linear Equations
Ergonomic Design

The term “ergonomics” refers to the practice of designing products and systems that accommodate the physical limitations of the human body.  Engineers consider these limitations and how to apply this information to the design of products so that people can use them safely, comfortably, and easily.  Ergonomically designed products reduce the chance that people who use them will experience discomfort or injury.  In this activity students will measure the dimensions of the human body to evaluate the design of a classroom chair.

Curricular Subjects:
Collecting Data, Ordering Rational Numbers, Calculating and Comparing Measures of Central Tendency (Range, Mean, Median, Mode, Lower and Upper Quartiles), Box-and-Whiskers Plots, Standard Deviation, Normal Distribution
Household Container Recycling

This activity allows students to analyze design systems for recycling household containers using single stream processes at Materials Recovery Facilities, as done by industrial engineers.  The process of recycling is introduced, advantages and disadvantages of recycling are discussed, and cost analyses are calculated using mathematical strategies.

Curricular Subjects:
Rounding, Multiplying Decimals, Converting Units of Weight, Comparing Density, Magnetism, Bar Graphs, Percent Change, Comparing Data, Making Predictions, Modeling (using Cost Analysis)


Patient Flow

Smoothing the flow of patients in and out of hospitals and other health care settings can help to reduce overcrowding, prevent poor handoffs, and avoid delays.  A number of hospitals and health systems are calling on industrial engineers to analyze current systems and design new ones to improve patient flow.  In this lesson, students will simulate a walk-in healthcare clinic, collect and analyze data, and then make suggestions for an improved design.

Curricular Subjects:
Comparing Values, Creating and Reading Histograms, Using Formulas, Calculating Percents, Collecting and Analyzing Data, Making Predictions
Ergonomic Picking

Ergonomics is the practice of designing products and systems that accommodate the physical limitations of the human body.  Ergonomically designed systems are easier and more comfortable to use, reducing the chance people will experience discomfort or injury while using the system.  Ergonomically designed systems also enable people to be more productive.  In this activity students will evaluate the layout of a medical supply cabinet, collect and analyze data, and determine whether a new layout has a better ergonomic design and is more efficient.

Curricular Subjects:
Collecting, Analyzing, and Comparing Data, Multiplying Whole Numbers, Rounding Decimals, Converting Units of Time, Using Formulas, Calculating Averages, Determining Percent Change
Hazmat Disposal

Medical wastes can be generated from routine exams in doctors’ offices, from surgical procedures at hospitals, or from research done in labs.  They may include sharps, wastes that can be treated on-site, normal wastes, medical wastes, or hazardous wastes.  In this lesson, students will analyze methods used for sorting these waste, discuss the disadvantages of incorrect disposal including cost of errors, and brainstorm methods to make sorting easier and more efficient.


Curricular Subjects:
Collecting Data, Adding, Subtracting and Multiplying Integers, Comparing Numerical Values, Calculating Percent Change, Rounding, Reading Tables
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