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Assembly Line: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

The assembly line was a method used by a man named Henry Ford in the early 1900s. In this lesson, learn how Henry Ford improved the idea of an assembly line, how it worked initially, and discover ways that the assembly line has changed the way products are made.

Assembly Line Definition

Pretend you are the owner of a business that produces video games. How could you make those video games quickly and inexpensively, while still making sure that they are produced with quality? The answer is something called an assembly line. This is a method of producing a large amount of items quickly and efficiently, and it's a pretty cool system. Let's find out how assembly lines were developed and how they have impacted businesses all over the world.

A Man Named Henry Ford

It's hard to imagine life before cars existed, but many years ago, people used horses and wagons for transportation. However, once the idea of the automobile was developed, suddenly people wanted these fancy cars that could get them from place to place much more quickly than the old-fashioned horse and wagon. So now there was a challenge - how could these cars be produced in a cheaper way so that everyone could afford them? In the early 1900s, a man named Henry Ford had an idea.

Henry Ford wanted to make a way for cars to be affordable to everyone.
assembly line

While Henry Ford didn't actually create the idea of an assembly line, he is credited with adapting it and using it in his automobile factories. Instead of one car being built by a single person, now there was a division of labor. Parts of the automobile would come down a line, and each person would be responsible for one part of the car's assembly.

Benefits of Assembly Lines

So what exactly made the assembly line a good idea? Think about what you would have to know to put together an entire car. You would need to understand how to assemble an engine, wiring, the interior, the exterior, lights, horns, and that's not all! But with the assembly line method, workers focused on one specific task. They could get better at it because they would do it all day long. This meant that fewer mistakes would be made, and the cars could be produced more quickly.

Auto workers on an assembly line in a Ford factory
auto production

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