Chocolates in the classroom

Constants, rates, cost & profit through a hands-on approach

Why we did it

This summer, I was able to participate in a class through Delta College that had a purpose of giving secondary teachers an idea of how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is being used in modern manufacturing. Through this experience, I was placed at HSC (Hemlock Semi Conductor) and spent 2 weeks gleaning an understanding of what they do there and how I can provide relevant examples of real life in the classroom.

Each teacher that participated was then asked to create at least one fun and exciting activity that was influenced by our experience. I chose to talk to students about marketing and sales.

How it worked

Students were put into groups and each person within the group volunteered to bring in different materials. Some were asked to bring in electronic devices and download the app 123d Catch prior to class. Others brought in objects that captured the essence of Merrill during the holiday season. Still others were asked to bring in bowls, chocolate chips, spoons, brown sugar or baking pans.

Prior to completing the activity, I had Mesh Mixer downloaded in one of our school computer labs. We talked about how different costs affect final prices differently. We discussed the plan of action.

Day 1: Took pictures of 3D models.

Day 2: Worked with Mesh Mixer to create a printable 3D model

Wait time- I had to decide what to do because our models didn't turn out as we had planned and the model that had turned out was not formatted in a way that worked with the printer at Delta College

Day 3: Teacher demonstrated how molds are made using a crayon-based tractor and brown sugar. We talked about how to make the most of time and supplies.

Day 4: Students met in the lab, were given supplies and were able to create their own chocolate tractors.

Day 5: Students and teacher reviewed how the project relates to modern manufacturing and math. We talked about the chocolate as a variable, the brown sugar and pans as a constant. We discussed what choices companies have to make in certain circumstances such as a power-outage (tripped breaker!), down time, not enough machinery, not being able to meet demand, wasted material (Research and Development), benefits/disadvantages of different events.