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What is Technology?

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Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science +2 Age Level Elementary (9 to 12 years old)
  • Generative Topic: Technology
  • Essential Questions: How do we define technology?
  • Understanding moves:  Make Connections
  • Thinking routines:  Chalk Talk, Parts, Purposes Complexity, I Used Think...Now I Think


A common misconception among elementary age students is that technology only refers to things powered by electricity.  This experience will guide them to better understanding of technology  and that engineers create technology.  During a Chalk Talk, students explore the question "What is Technology?  Students then use the Parts Purposes Complexity routine to look closely at everyday objects such as a glue stick, scissors, and a stapler.   Teachers can provide the objects for students to observe in the classroom or use the images in this collection.  Students discuss the parts, the materials the object is made of, and the problem it solves as they discover that technology is everywhere around us and engineers are people who create technologies.  Students complete a sort as they decide whether the things in this collection are examples of technology.   After, completing the sort, guide students to define technology as the human use of scientific knowledge to solve problems and that it includes systems and processes.  To assess understanding, students will use "I used to think, now I think " thinking routine .  A Circle of Viewpoints routine could also be used to have students think about the Cotton Gin from the viewpoint of a slave.

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Chalk Talk

Gary Galuska

Parts, Purposes, Complexities: Project Zero Agency by Design Thinking Routine

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

scissors

National Museum of American History

glue stick

Gary Galuska

paper clip

Gary Galuska

Scotch Magic Transparent Tape with Dispenser

National Museum of American History

spoon

National Museum of American History

Sort.jpg

Gary Galuska

Sorting Activity

Sorting Activity

Circle of Viewpoints

Gary Galuska

Model of the Whitney's Cotton Gin

Smithsonian Archives - History Div