Note to teachers on timing.


In groups you will make a product that gives a real feeling for what it is like to work in a manufacturing company. This might be an illustrated article, a poster, a presentation, a webpage, an acted scene, an animation, an audio or video recording - anything in fact that your group decides will tell the story well.


Whatever you choose to design and make, its purpose is to show what people actually do in a particular company, what their workplace is like, what problems they solve and challenges they meet, and why they find working for this company satisfying, rewarding and enjoyable.


Throughout this assignment you’re going to use an approach known as cooperative learning. This is based on the principle that people learn best when they work in a group, with each person learning and, at the same time, helping others to do so.


This is a useful approach in the classroom in any subject because it is a good way to learn. It is especially useful if the subject is manufacturing industry, because the ability to work as part of a team is a key skill for most jobs in manufacturing.


Each member of your group has a specific role, which your teacher will have assigned to you. These roles are facilitator, recorder, reporter and materials manager/timekeeper.


You should have a card telling you what your role is, and what sort of things it means you’re expected to do for the group. While these cards tell you what your main duties are, and you can learn a little more here, you should feel free to contribute in other ways.


Someone in the group, for example, might be particularly good at art and could produce attractive designs or images for your marketing product. Someone else might be skilled at thinking of words and putting them together. Another person might be able to find information quickly on the Internet, or be good at sound recording, or taking photographs and uploading them to a computer.


Cooperative learning is about finding the strengths of every group member - sometimes strengths they didn’t know they had - and using them together to help get the job done.


The first tasks for your group are to choose a name for your company and to decide what it makes. Some information and resources have been prepared to get you thinking about manufacturing and manufacturing companies.

Initial web browse

Time for this activity: 7 minutes (single period lesson) or 12 minutes (double period).


As a group take a look at these webpages



Take a look too at some of the manufacturing companies that operate in Scotland.


Follow some of the links. Watch a short video or two. Get a feel for the different types of manufacturing, the variety of jobs it offers and the kinds of people who perform them.


You should see right away that the timekeeper in your group has a critical role in this whole assignment. There is too much in these webpages to be able to study it all right now.


You will have to browse, dip into a few things, get a feel for what it’s all about, generate some ideas of your own. Then you will have to come back soon to the assignment itself.


Later, if your teacher decides to run a more in-depth project - or if you just want to find out more about manufacturing - you can visit these webpages again. For the moment your timekeeper has to be quite firm or you won’t get the assignment done.


Your company

Time for this activity: 5 or 10 minutes.


Now your group has to choose a name for your company and decide on the kind of products it manufactures. These can be real products or you can dream up new ones that have not yet been invented.


Just to remind you, here are the different sectors of manufacturing industry. And here are a few of the manufacturing companies that operate in Scotland.


In the single period lesson you should skip the next two paragraphs and go straight here. In the double period lesson read on.


Start with the sectors. Each member of your group should choose a sector and think of a reason for doing so. Then in turns around the table, group members should state which sector appeals to them most, and explain briefly why.


Two or more group members might initially choose the same sector, but this does not necessarily mean the group itself has to go with that sector. This is cooperative learning not majority rule. So think about what your colleagues have said, discuss it with each other, and try to reach a consensus - a decision that all of you can agree with, even if it wasn’t your first choice.


During discussions the timekeeper should keep a close eye on the time. The facilitator should make a note of who agrees to change their first choice and make sure, during the whole assignment, that one or two people are not giving way on every decision.


Many decisions will have to be made during this assignment, and few will be obviously right or wrong. It is important for all members of the group to make a contribution.


Next you’ll want to choose a product or set of products and a name for your company.


You’ll use a technique for generating ideas called roundtable. You need one large sheet of paper and one pencil. Each member of your group should write down something your company might make, read it aloud, and pass the paper to the person to the left. Your teacher will tell you which person should begin.


Continue round the table until no one has any more good ideas or until the timekeeper tells you to move on.


Now stop generating ideas and look at what you’ve written down. As before, discuss them as a group and decide on one product or a few products that your company will manufacture.


Now looking at the products you’re going to make and the manufacturing sector you’re in, repeat the roundtable on a new sheet of paper, this time thinking up names for your company. As a group, decide on one.

The people

Time for this activity: 7 or 14 minutes.


To tell a good story you need to know your characters and settings well. So your job now is to get right inside your company and the minds of the people who work there.


You will use roundtable again here. Each person in your group will provide a piece of information, either something they’ve thought up themselves or something that follows from what another group member has said.


You will go round the table again and again. This time it’s unlikely you’ll run out of ideas once you get started, because there’s so much to think about and each person can build on what other people have said. So again the timekeeper needs to be firm with the timing.


Here are some of the things you might want to think about:


  1. Where does your company sell its manufactured goods?
  2. Does it have a ready market for these goods or are you always looking for new customers?
  3. How big is the company?
  4. Is it expanding or just holding its own?
  5. Does it have an established reputation or is it just starting out?
  6. What makes it better or at least different from other companies?
  7. Where are its factories and offices - are they only in Scotland or around the world?
  8. What do these places look and sound like, both inside and outside?
  9. Imagine yourself working there in as much detail as you can. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? What do you do next?
  10. Are you under pressure right away or have you time for a relaxed coffee and a quiet think about the day ahead?
  11. How often during the day do you talk to people about the work, and about what needs to be done and how?
  12. Where do you go for lunch? Do you have to work right through if you’re busy?
  13. What are the afternoons like? Can you see the sun setting from your desk in winter?
  14. Do you have a desk; do you work on the factory floor; do you move between the two?
  15. Who do you talk to outside the company and why ?
  16. How do you feel on Sunday night and when you wake up on a weekday morning?
  17. What are your career prospects and your plans for the future?
  18. If you could have any job in the company which would it be?


The hardest part of this task will be getting the ideas down on paper as quickly as they are generated. If everyone in your group can write very fast, that’s fine. If not the recorder in your group should be a good writer - that’s one of the reasons he or she got that job.


So that person could do all the writing for the group. Or the two fastest writers could work together, writing alternate suggestions in each of two columns of one big sheet of paper.


Note to experienced cooperative learning teachers.

The marketing product

Time for this activity: 25 or 50 minutes


Now you’re going to start work on your marketing product, if your teacher has told you what type it’s going to be. Or if the teacher has given you a choice, your group will decide what form your marketing product will take - whether an illustrated article, a poster, a presentation, a webpage, an acted scene, an animation, an audio or video recording. You decide.


You should use the same method to do so as you did for choosing a manufacturing sector: Each person states a first choice and a reason and, once everyone has spoken, the group discusses the various possibilities and reaches a consensus - a decision everyone is fairly happy with, even if it might not have been their first choice.


Your teacher will have the resources for preparing presentations, posters, animations, video or audio recordings, etc. Take the decision and allow your materials manager to collect all the materials you will need.


Now working as a group go ahead and make your marketing product. When time is called take a minute to write down the group’s ideas for developing the product further, if you were given more time.


The presentation

Time for this activity: 5 or 10 minutes.


[Note to teacher: Presentation of each group’s product to the entire class by the group reporters is possible, and maybe even desirable to pull everyone together at the end of the assignment. But given the time constraints, another cooperative learning structure can be used here to bring closure to the project and allow students to report on their efforts and achievements.


The precise form of this structure depends on the nature of the marketing products. The following description assumes these are posters - which for the purpose of this activity will be mounted on the classroom walls, with sufficient space between to allow four people at a time to study each of them.


Other marketing products will require different methods of display - webpages, video or audio on the computer, for instance - but the basic choreography of the activity will be unchanged.]


Here are the instructions for all the groups in the class:


  • Number yourselves from 1 to 4 (your teacher will tell you which member to start with).
  • Number 1s stand up and move one table in a clockwise direction.
  • Number 2s stand up and move two tables in a clockwise direction.
  • Number 3s stand up and move three tables in a clockwise direction.
  • Number 4s remain where you are.


Number 1s now take your new group to the marketing product that your home group has just made and tell them all about it. Then number 2s take your new group to the marketing product your home group has just made and tell them all about it. Then numbers 3 and 4 do the same. At the end of it all return to your home group.


Finally tell your teacher what you would like to do next for Make it in Scotland.
















Being there

Notes to teachers

Activity timings

Two sets of timings are provided. These are for


a) a single period lesson of 50 minutes

b) a double period lesson of 100 minutes.


Given the depth and breadth of material and activities, the double period version is recommended but not essential. Back



Jigsaw would work well here, with specialist groups looking into a) markets and business conditions, b) locations and working environment, c) people and their interactions d) careers, prospects and company structures. Back



Double period lesson


Timing (mins)

Web browse          


The company


The people


The marketing product


The presentation




Single period lesson


Timing (mins)

Web browse          


The company


The people


The marketing product


The presentation