What is technology? Much more than computers, cell phones, and
space ships. Maybe it is every tool that extends our abilities.
Our first activity gives a simple, memorable example in the lever.
Other answers are possible: systems or
information. Some say
"applied science," but our
book gives reasons not to.
If we were trying to identify a new technology, what kinds of questions
would be the most powerful? Our second activity hides a familiar
technology to let us practice asking those kinds of questions.
Pole vault over the moon
Hawaiian bobtail squid & diarrhea
computers with stone tools.
shows that something as simple as a strong board and a block can extend
our abilities by conferring mechanical advantage
(Archimedes: "Give me a lever long enough and someplace to stand, and I
will move the earth.")
is like a game show in which groups of students try to guess a hidden
technology. A student volunteers to view it and answer only
yes-or-no questions. The winning group sends the next volunteer.
Recognizing which questions are the most powerful can be applied
to more complex problems.
Standards (click for details)
Grade 5 Reading 1.4
Grade 7 Reading 1.2
History - Social Science
Grade 6 World History & Geography: Ancient Civilizations 6.1.1
Grade 7 World History & Geography:
Medieval & Early Modern Times 7.3.5
Grade 11 US History & Geography:
Continuity & Change in the 20th Century 11.5.7
Grade 8 Geometry 1.0
Grades 5 - 7 Mathematical Reasoning
Grade 5 Investigation &
Grade 7 Life Science 6i