Integrating English Writing Standards in Program Safety Lessons (“The Possessed Brake Lathe”)

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Misc. Lesson Plans & Ideas

At a Glance

The “Possessed Brake Lathe” lesson incorporates multiple learning styles and embedded occupational and literacy skill development into a required automotive technology safety lesson.  


Prior to all new tasks being introduced in both the theory room and laboratory, necessary related safety aspects of the unit must be taught and completely understood by all students. For this lesson, students observe a brake lathe demonstration and are given a job safety analysis (JSA). Students are asked to compose a written, fictional, horror story that highlights all of the dangers of using the brake lathe. They are encouraged to be as creative as possible; however, every hazard listed in the JSA must be evident in the story for students to receive credit. 

This learning activity takes approximately three class sessions to complete. Most of the assignment is completed in class, with the instructor providing feedback on format and content. It is an integrated assignment that merges creative writing technique and student identification of safe equipment operation on a specific piece of equipment. It also provides a unique way to evaluate students’ understanding of the safe use of the equipment.

Origin / Implementation

It is common practice for students to be required to pass a safety test with zero errors for each piece of equipment before being permitted to use it. Given the subjectivity of the assignment and varying abilities of the students, they tend not to achieve a perfect score on the assignment. Because of this, students were required to pass an additional shop safety test and receive a score of 100% prior to using the equipment.

When developing the lesson, the automotive technology instructor’s objective was to integrate academic standards with technical program standards into a lesson that actively engages students in creative writing.  This assignment was designed and implemented in 2011 and has been used as part of the brake lathe equipment safety lesson every year since its origination.

Results / Impact

This assignment helps students recognize the relevance of, and correlations between, academic and technical classes. It reinforces the importance of reading and writing as well as literacy, which are evaluated as part of their automotive technology grade.

To date, there have been zero accidents with the brake lathe. Review of previous NOCTI pre and post testing indicate that the average participating student met higher than proficient ratings in the area of Disc Brake Service which includes the use of the Brake Lathe.  


Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center
Travis Payne, Automotive Technology Instructor

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