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Technology At Work 2Technology-At-Work-2

  • Subject: Technology
  • |
  • Grade(s): K-5
  • |
  • Duration: Two class periods

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will understand the following:
1. Modern technology has benefited human beings by increasing production of goods and services, reducing the amount of labor needed to produce these goods and services, and providing higher living standards.
2. Technology has also had negative effects on society—environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, unemployment, and the creation of ethical dilemmas, among others.

Materials


For this lesson, you will need:
Research materials on the history of modern technology
Computer with Internet access

Procedures


1. Ask your students to consider advances in technology over the past several hundred years, and discuss with them ways in which these advances have benefited human beings. Examples you might start out with are the printing press, electricity, the telephone, the automobile and airplane, and of course, the computer.
2. Before continuing the discussion, begin a chart on the chalkboard with three column headings: "Increasing Production of Goods and Services, "Reducing Amount of Labor Needed to Produce Goods and Services," and "Providing Higher Living Standards." Tell students that as they continue discussing the benefits of technology, they will be classifying the benefits under these headings. If necessary, go over the meaning of each heading with the class before you continue.
3. As students discuss the benefits of technology, list them on the chart. For example, if students say that the telephone has made it easier to talk to friends, list "telephone" under "Providing Higher Living Standards." If they say that the dishwasher has made it easier to wash dishes, list "dishwasher" under "Reducing Amount of Labor Needed to Produce Goods and Services." Students may decide to include some technologies under more than one heading.
4. Next, ask students if they can think of any technological advances that have had negative effects on society.
5. Before they continue the discussion of harmful side effects of technology, begin a second chart on the chalkboard with the column headings "Causing Environmental Pollution," "Depleting Natural Resources," "Causing Unemployment," and "Posing Ethical Dilemmas." Make sure students understand the meaning of each heading by giving examples of each. Especially, make sure they understand that the word ethical means "having to do with right and wrong" and that the word dilemma means "a difficult decision." An ethical dilemma, therefore, is a difficult decision someone has to make about whether something is right or wrong.
6. As students continue to discuss harmful side effects of technology, record their ideas on the chart. For example, if students mention the automobile, list it under "Causing Environmental Pollution" and "Depleting Natural Resources." If they mention the computer, list it under "Causing Unemployment" and "Posing Ethical Dilemmas." (You might make it clear that computers have posed privacy issues and freedom-of-speech issues.)
7. At this point, focus students' attention on the column headed "Posing Ethical Dilemmas." Discuss the dilemmas in further detail. If there are only a few entries in the column, brainstorm more entries with the class. For example, you might want to add cloning, DNA testing, nuclear power plants, and genetic engineering.
8. Divide the class into two groups, and have them choose one of the entries on the second chart as a subject for debate. Have the groups debate whether the particular technology under consideration is more helpful to society or more harmful.
9. After the debate, have the class discuss possible ways the uses of the technology could be controlled to minimize negative effects.

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Adaptations


Do not have younger students engage in debates. Simply fill in the two charts and talk about the pros and cons of technology with the class. For these students, you may want to omit the Posing Ethical Dilemmas column on the second chart.

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Discussion Questions


1. Today we can be educated, entertained and shop on our TVs. What do you envision as future uses of television in our everyday lives? Contrast the pros and cons of television organizing our daily schedules.
2. The effect of violence on television is a highly debated issue today. Discuss the effects (pros and cons) that violence on TV might have on the observer. Write to your local TV station with questions regarding its policy for televised programming and violence.
3. Do you believe that children should have completely free access to any TV program or Web site on the Internet, or do you think that parents, teachers, and/or librarians should be permitted to prevent children from accessing programs and sites adults think are inappropriate or harmful? Give reasons for your opinions.
4. Describe some of the many uses of satellites.
5. In general, would you say that modern technology developed over the past fifty years has made the world is a better or worse place in which to live? Are people's lives happier or unhappier as a result of modern technology?

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Evaluation


You can evaluate students on their participation in the debate using the following three-point rubric:
 
Three points: uses sound reasoning; does not interrupt other speakers; speaks audibly and clearly
 
Two points: uses mostly sound reasoning; occasionally interrupts others; at times, speaks inaudibly or unclearly
 
One point: often uses unsound reasoning; frequently interrupts others; speaks inaudibly or unclearly
 
You can ask your students to contribute to the assessment rubric by determining criteria for sound reasoning—for example, relying on objective reasons rather than on appeals to the emotions.

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Extensions


Technology Evaluation
Have each student choose one technological advance to study thoroughly. The student should report to the class on the benefit of the technology, the harmful side effects, and recommendations for the ethical future use of the technology.

Future Tech
Have students brainstorm in groups to come up with what they think may be the next technological advance. Will it be instant transportation ("beaming up," ? la Star Trek)? Time travel? Eternal youth? Encourage students to use their imaginations. Then hold a class discussion in which students talk about the ethical implications of their future technologies.

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Suggested Readings


Eureka! It's Television!
Jeanne Bendick and Robert Bendick, Millbrook Press, 1993.
This book describes and illustrates the scientific discoveries and principles that came before television was invented. Look at the glossary if you want to check the meaning of some topical words.

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Links

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Vocabulary


Click on any of the vocabulary words below to hear them pronounced and used in a sentence.

speaker    vacuum tube
Definition: An electron tube from which all or most of the gas has been removed, permitting electrons to move with low interaction with any remaining gas molecules.
Context: Television cameras used vacuum tubes to create video signals from images.

speaker    electrons
Definition: Elementary particles consisting of a negative electric charge.
Context: First, the cameras capture the images of the race cars and transform them into electrons.

speaker    microwave
Definition: A comparatively short electromagnetic wave; especially: one between about 1 millimeter and 1 meter in wavelength.
Context: Then the electrons are changed into microwaves which can travel more easily.

speaker    revolution
Definition: A sudden, radical, or complete change.
Context: Revolution of technology has changed the way we work, travel and communicate.

speaker    satellite
Definition: A manufactured object or vehicle intended to orbit the earth, the moon, or another celestial body.
Context: Satellites are manmade robots that are circling earth sending information to us.

speaker    GPS
Definition: Global Positioning System - a navigation system which utilizes a network of satellite signals for navigation.
Context: GPS, a space based radio navigation system consisting of 24 satellites.

speaker    living standards (audio not available)
Definition: Features of human life that measure the quality of our lives.
Context: The telephone has improved our living standards by helping us to keep in touch with our friends and family.

speaker    depleting
Definition: Using up.
Context: Depleting natural resources is one of the negative effects of modern technology.

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Standards


This lesson plan may be used to address the academic standards listed below. These standards are drawn from Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education: 2nd Edition and have been provided courtesy of theMid-continent Research for Education and Learningin Aurora, Colorado.
 
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the scientific enterprise.
Benchmarks:
Knows that women and men of all ages, backgrounds and groups participate in the various areas of science and technology as they have for many centuries.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the scientific enterprise.
Benchmarks:
Knows that although men and women doing scientific inquiry have learned much about the objects, events and phenomena in nature, there is still much more to be understood.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the scientific enterprise.
Benchmarks:
Knows that scientists and engineers work in many different settings including colleges and universities, business and industry, specific research institutes and government agencies.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the scientific enterprise.
Benchmarks:
Knows that tracing the history of science can show how difficult it was for scientific innovators to break through the preconceptions of their time to reach conclusions which today seem obvious.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that science and technology have improved transportation, health, sanitation and communication; however, the benefits of science and technology are not available to all people.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that science and technology have advanced through the contributions of many different people, in different cultures and at different times in history; science and technology have contributed to the economic growth and productivity of societies and this, in turn, results in social changes with different effects on societies and groups within societies.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that science helps drive technology, as it provides knowledge for better understanding, instruments and techniques.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that technology is essential to science because it enables observations of phenomena that are far beyond the capabilities of scientists due to factors such as distance, location, size and speed.

Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems and meet all human needs.

Grade level: K-2
Subject area: history
Standard:
Understands major discoveries in science and technology, some of their social and economic effects, and the major scientists and inventors responsible for them.
Benchmarks:
Understands the significance of the printing press, the computer, and electronic developments in communication and their impact on the spread of ideas.

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Credit


Francine Weinberg and Nancy White, educational consultants.

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