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This lesson is on Henry Ford and the historical importance of the assembly line


Social Studies  



Title – Henry Ford
By – Alicia Durham
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 3


    By the end of this lesson, students should be able to answer eight questions on basic dates of Henry’s car manufacturing, and some basic ideas about the assembly line and how it changed society with 100% accuracy. Each student should also be able to put all the dates on the timeline with 100% accuracy.


  • Student: pencil, pen
  • Teacher: quiz, timeline on a poster board, small pieces of paper with the dates on them with sticky tac on the back, a paper picture of a car with small pictures of parts to glue on.


    What do you think of when you hear the name Henry Ford? Do you automatically think of a Ford car? I bet you do. We see Ford cars all over the place. You maybe even ride in one that your family owns. Did you ever wonder about Henry Ford, what he looked like, and how he came up with his great ideas about car making?


    Well, today we are going to learn all about the life and inventions of Henry Ford.

Sequence of Activities:

      “In 1896, Henry Ford built his first car. It was called the quadricycle because it had four bicycle wheels. It was very simple as we saw from the picture (in the PowerPoint introduction, see note below). Today there are cars everywhere. Streets are packed with old cars and new cars, fancy cars and ordinary cars, expensive cars and cheaper cars, but at this time, there were very few cars on the road and only really rich people could afford them. People mostly got around by horse and buggy. Henry Ford wanted to make a car that anyone could afford. His first Model T was made in his company in 1908 and cost $825. Now if we could buy a car for that today, we would be very happy, but back then that was still quite a bit of money. So Henry Ford invented a system called the assembly line in 1913. The way an assembly line works is: a car frame is put on a conveyer belt and each person puts one piece on every car that comes down the line. This way of making cars caused the price to go down. Now each person only needed to do one little job and each person was good at his job because he did it a lot. Also, because the cars were made so much faster, more were made a day, and Henry Ford could charge less. Eventually the Model T cost $290. This was a good price that almost any family could afford. Henry Ford’s assembly line was probably his greatest contribution in the invention of the car. Also his gasoline engine was a great invention. Gasoline engines were more efficient and practical than the steam engines which were being used at that time. So even though he did not actually invent the car, he made a great contribution in making an affordable sensible family car.”
      “Henry Ford was definitely a great inventor and made a huge effect on our world. Just imagine what our world would be like without cars that everyone could drive! Henry Ford also made an effect on our lives by creating the assembly line. His assembly line helped bring down prices which helped people because cars were cheaper. His idea was also used latter in other factories and helped the prices of other items come down too.”
      “Another great thing he did for society was create jobs for people. It took lots of people to create a car and they were well paid, which helped their families live better lives.”
      Next, I will teach them some dates by presenting a timeline with dates that can be taken off. I will teach them when Henry made his first car, his Model T, and when he invented his assembly line. Then I will take the dates off and have the kids come put them on the timeline. Next I will use a small picture of the start of a car and demonstrate how to put the different parts of a car on like they would in an assembly line. Then I will divide the kids into two groups. In each group I will assign each child a job of putting a certain part on and show them where it goes. Then I will give them their parts and have them assemble about five cars per group. I will have the groups race to see which group can make five nice cars the fastest.
    “And now, you have experienced how an assembly line works. Isn’t it neat how each person doing one little thing makes the work go so fast. Henry Ford had a great idea didn’t he? I think this is a great example for us to use every day. Sometimes we have big jobs that we don’t think we can get done. Well if we all work together and do what we can, things will get done really fast. So let’s do our best to work together and get things done quicker!”


      What did Henry Ford make in 1896?

His first car


      What did he make in 1908?

His first Model T


      What did he develop 1913?

The assembly line


      How does an assembly line work?

Each person puts one part on till the car is done


      Why did he use the assembly line?

Because cars could be made more quickly and less expensively


      What are some things Henry did that helped society?

He invented the assembly line which helped prices come down, he created jobs, he made cars a more common thing


      How can we use Henry Ford’s idea in our lives?

We can work together to get jobs done more quickly



    I will have a quiz with the major events like the first car, the Model T, and the assembly line. The students should have no trouble making a 100% on this quiz. I will also quiz some other ideas that we learned about Henry Ford from the discussion. Then they will each take a turn putting the dates on the timeline. They should be able to do this with 100% accuracy.

Henry Ford Quiz:

      1. When did Henry Ford make his first car, the quadricycle?
      2 What kind of wheels did Henry Ford’s first car have?
      3. When did Henry Ford make his first Model T?
      4. When did Henry Ford start the assembly line?
      5. How does an assembly line work?
      6. Why did Henry Ford invent the assembly line?
      7. What is one other way that Henry Ford helped the way people live?
      8. What can we learn in our own lives from the assembly line?

E-Mail Alicia Durham !

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