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A Student-Run Manufacturing Company

Students in Northbrook Middle School's industrial arts class form companies and produce products such as wine racks, cabinets, or folding wooden stools for sale. Students elect company officials and divide into work teams to enact the various operations of a company.

Many of the team activities are supported by technology. For example, the Finance team uses computer spreadsheets to find the lowest-cost materials and to create financial statements for the company. The Research team uses drafting software in drawing up their design plans. The Marketing team uses the word processor in creating advertisements and product descriptions. A videocamera is used in creating commercials for the product; the commercials are then aired over the school's broadcast system. Most products require use of a computer-controlled lathe or mill. Final production is conducted assembly-line fashion, with the parts laid out in specific locations and some students acting out the parts of robotic arms to place the parts on the line.

Products are sold within the school community. Students buy and sell stock in the company and after the product is sold, stockholders get their share of the profits.

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