Chocolate bar machine scheduling
Optimizing the production in a factory
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Classroom materials,
motivating pupils for math and science

World of Work

Becoming a(n)...
Production planner
World of Work Dimensions

The task is a scheduling problem from processing industry (known as the job-shop-scheduling-problem). The task is set in the context of a chocolate bar factory. The focus is on solving the problem already presented in the mathematical representation.

For the mathematical model of scheduling the machines, students take the role of mathematician/mathematics student. When they formulate or present their solutions in terms of the machines producing chocolate they take the role of production planner.

Students use a mathematical model (representation) to find the optimal scheduling for the machines. This is a simplified analogy of what production planners do, using specific computer tools.

The product is an optimal schedule for producing the five types of chocolate bars on the two machines.
In processing industry planning and scheduling the production process is an important task. The aim is to minimize the makespan value (total processing time). In this task, that is situated in a chocolate bar factory, students adopt the role of a production planner, who has to decide on the optimal sequence of processing five products on two machines. The processing time for each product on each machine is given. Students have to find a possible schedule first and then try to optimize it into the schedule with the minimal total processing time. The students present their solutions and describe their strategy.


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Mascil partner: AT  

Materials are published under the
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

Inquiry Learning

Inquiry Learning Dimensions

- Exploring situations
- Planning Investigations
- Experimenting systematically
- Interpreting and evaluating
- Communicating results

- Mathematics
- Biology
- Physics
- Chemistry
- Engineering

Target group
- Primary Education
- Lower Secondary Education
- Upper Secondary Education

Age range

100 min.