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Technology At WorkTechnology-At-Work

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

Lesson Plan Sections

Objectives


Students will understand the following:
1. Technology is defined as "any invention, including tools, machines, materials, techniques, and sources of power, that makes people's work easier."
2. The history of technology really begins in prehistoric times.

Materials


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

Procedures


1. Ask your students what they think of when they hear the word technology . Ask them when they think technology began. Their answers are likely to center on modern technology, especially computer-related technology.
2. Let students know that technology is defined as "any invention, including tools, machines, materials, and sources of power, that makes people's work easier." Then ask them to reconsider their ideas about when technology began. They should realize that technology began the first time a human, or even a pre-human, used a stick or a rock as a tool or a weapon. Such advances as the ability to make fire, the development of agriculture, and the use of simple machines such as the lever or the inclined plane count as technology, as do electricity, nuclear power, and the computer.
3. Divide your class into groups, and have each group meet to brainstorm a list of at least 10 technological advances they think should be included on a time line of the most important technological advances in human history.
4. Next, have students do research to find the dates for the technological advances they plan to include on their time lines. (Prehistoric technology can be dated simply by the word "prehistoric.")
5. Students can make their time lines on long strips of paper they cut out and tape together or on brown paper that comes in rolls. Time lines should include illustrations of the technological advances students wish to highlight.
6. When all groups have completed their time lines, display them around the classroom. Invite students to compare the time lines to see which technological advances were included on most of them.

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Adaptations


Have students choose one of the six simple machines—inclined plane, lever, pulley, wedge, wheel and axle, or screw—and make a model or draw a picture of it.

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Discussion Questions


1. Debate the issue of computers that think on their own. What would be the advantages of this level of computer intelligence? What would be the disadvantages?
2. How would your school be different if there were no computers? Survey the different parts of your school (office, cafeteria, etc.) to find out where computers are used. Discuss how work would be done without computers to help us.
3. Describe how your class might use e-mail.
4. What information might your class want to share on a Web site? Remember this information could be text, photographs, drawings, sound, or video. Explain your design for a Web site.

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Evaluation


You can evaluate groups on their time lines using the following three-point rubric:
 
Three points: includes more than 10 items; dates accurate; illustrations included; time line carefully prepared
 
Two points: includes at least 10 items; most dates accurate; illustrations included; time line satisfactorily prepared
 
One point: includes less than 10 items; several inaccurate dates; few or no illustrations; time line carelessly prepared

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Extensions


Technology Election
Have the class hold a "nominating convention" for the single most important technological advance in human history. For each advance nominated, have students who would vote for it meet to prepare a "campaign speech" that will persuade classmates to agree with them. After speeches have been given, hold an "election" to see which technological advance the majority of students in the class think is most important.

Make a Model
Have interested students work together to make models of the technological advances they consider most important. If a group of students chooses something too complex for a model (e.g., a computer), the group members can produce a labeled diagram instead.

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Suggested Readings


"Principles of Science: Computers"
David Macaulay's The Way Things Work CD-ROM, Dorling Kindersley, 1995.
Read the section of this CD-ROM about computers and click on all the links to learn about connected topics.

The Online Classroom
Eileen Cotton, ERIC/EDINFO Press.
This book is designed to save teachers many hours of wandering in virtual space and offers a vast array of sample lessons of varying levels of sophistication. Each lesson provides goals, rationales, objectives, procedures, and evaluation guidelines.

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Links


Blacksburg Visitor's Center
Visit Blacksburg, Virginia the virtual way—on a computer! Check out the weather, transportation, maps, village mall, libraries, museums, and townspeople using the Internet.

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Vocabulary


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

speaker    abacus
Definition: A manual computing device consisting of a frame holding parallel rods strung with movable counters.
Context: This is an abacus. This counting machine was first used in China and the Middle East.

speaker    central processing unit
Definition: The part of a computer that interprets and executes instructions.
Context: The bits are sent to the computer's brain, the CPU, where they are translated back into words and pictures and symbols on the screen.

speaker    e-mail
Definition: Messages sent and received electronically via telecommunications links.
Context: You can send an e-mail message from the U.S. to almost anywhere in the world in just seconds.

speaker    modem
Definition: A device that converts information from your computer into signals that can travel through telephone lines.
Context: A modem takes information from your computer and turns it into a signal that can travel through the telephone lines.

speaker    Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
Definition: The address of a Web page, which allows people to find the page on the Internet.
Context: A Web page address is called a URL; that is an acronym that stands for uniform resource locator.

speaker    scanner
Definition: A device that allows one to convert pictures into images on the computer.
Context: You can also use a scanner to turn pictures into images on the computer that you can put on your Web site.

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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: K-2
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the nature of technological design.
Benchmarks:
Knows that some objects occur in nature, whereas others have been designed and made by people to solve human problems.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the nature of technological design.
Benchmarks:
Categorizes items into groups of natural objects and designed objects.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the nature of technological design.
Benchmarks:
Knows that designing a solution to a simple problem may have constraints, such as cost, materials, time, space and safety.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that tools help scientists make better observations, measurements and equipment for investigations.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that people have always had problems and invented tools and techniques (ways of doing something) to solve problems; trying to determine the effects of various solutions helps people avoid some new problems.

Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: science
Standard:
Understands the interactions of science, technology and society.
Benchmarks:
Knows that people continue inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems and getting work done; these new ideas and inventions often affect other people; sometimes the effects are good and sometimes they are bad.

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Credit


Summer Productions, Inc.

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