Grade: Elementary

#3372. Assembly Line Burgers

Social Studies, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Feb 15 11:51:09 PST 2005 by Carla Alexander (
Pickens Elementary School, Pickens, Pickens
Materials Required: Listed in lesson
Activity Time: 1 Hour
Concepts Taught: Mass production during the Industrial Revolution

Lesson Title: Assembly Line "Burgers"

1. Students will use their
background knowledge of the
Industrial Revolution to explore
how the advent of assembly lines
caused the mass-productions of
2.Students will understand the concept of an assembly line.
3.Students will actively participate as a member of an assembly line team member with a specific job.

Activating prior knowledge: Students will have already been introduced to many of the major changes associated with the Industrial Revolution in the United States. The following chart may be used. This information also lends itself to cause and effect relationships.

Industrial Revolution Fast Facts
Industry in the US grew after the Civil War because:
*There were many raw materials
*The US population grew, which meant more
consumers and more workers
*The railroad industry, which could
transport raw materials and goods, grew
*New inventions and machines made
production cheaper and quicker
*There were few government restrictions on

Because of the Industrial Revolution:
*More jobs and opportunities were created
*People moved to cities in huge numbers
*Millions of immigrants flocked to
*America for the jobs and a better life
*More machinery was used to produce
goods, leading to a greater division of
*Only a few people got wealthy, while
many others faced extreme poverty
*Living and working conditions in cities
were often dangerous and unhealthy

Preparation for lesson:
1.For each station on the assembly line, have an index card with the station's task.

Station 1: Put one vanilla wafer upside down on a paper plate.

Station 2: Squeeze yellow frosting on a vanilla wafer (to represent the mustard and bottom of bun)

Station 3: Top mustard with green-tinted coconut (lettuce)

Station 4: Top lettuce with thin mint cookie (burger)

Station 5: Squeeze red frosting on another vanilla water (ketchup and top of bun) add to top of hamburger.

2.Position several desks in a row at the top of the room. Attach an index card, with its specific task, to each desk.
3.Place the following materials on each desk:

Station 1: Vanilla wafer cookies (2 per student) and small paper plates (2 per student)

Station 2: Tube yellow cake frosting

Station 3: cup flaked coconut tinted green

Station 4: Thin chocolate mint cookies (2 per student)

Station 5: Tube of red cake frosting; vanilla wafers (2 per student)

Procedure: Remind students that the goal of assembly lines in to produce quality products in a shorter amount of time. Before assembly lines, products were made by hand by one worker. Using the materials listed above, set a timer and demonstrate how to make hamburger. Write the time it took for one person to make one burger. Ask students to make a prediction about how long they think it will take five students on an assembly line to make one burger. Record the predictions on the board and choose five students to go to the stations. Time the students as they make one burger following the instructions at each station. Record actual time it took and compare with prediction. Then, restart the timer and have the assembly line make 9 more burgers. Call up 5 more volunteers and time them as they complete 10 burgers. Record results. Continue until each student has participated in the assembly and congratulate team with the shortest time.

Students can enjoy their cookie burgers as you make a class list of the positive effects of this production method. For example:
*Can make more products at a quicker pace
and at a lower cost
*Does not require highly skilled workers
*Workers can learn jobs quickly
*Today some assembly line jobs can be done
by machinery

Also discuss the negative effects of this production method:
*Task can become boring to the worker
*Worker never learns a real skill
*Workers are not paid very well
*Boredom can result in carelessness
causing injuries