Experiences with a hands-on activity to contrast craft production and mass production in the classroom

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19 Scopus citations


For many industrial engineering students, the basic principles of craft production and mass production are easy to grasp and understand; however, students less familiar with manufacturing often have a difficult time appreciating the subtle differences between the two. Explaining the differences between the two using examples and cases is relatively straightforward and easy, but many students have a difficult time comprehending the importance of the learning effect, why bottlenecks occur, or how quality can decrease during mass production. In this paper, the author's experiences with a paper airplane production activity to contrast craft and mass production are discussed. This activity provides a simple, yet dramatic, approach to demonstrate the benefits and drawbacks of craft and mass production in the classroom. After discussing the merits of hands-on activities and the paper airplane production activity itself, sample results are presented along with an evaluation of its impact on students' understanding of the two production methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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