A Science Odyssey Title Technology Activity Title

Evolution or Revolution?

Overview: Analyze and research artifacts to identify technological changes over time
Learning Goal: Understand dynamics of technological evolution
Video Link: Radio, Computers

Show students "artifacts" embodying technological modifications in a field that has changed during the last century. For example, methods for distributing recorded music (78 rpm and 33 rpm records, reel-to-reel and 8-track tapes, cassettes, and CDs) make an interesting series -- and they're portable! Discuss with students how the technology changed over time. What was improved or what was lost? What developments prompted the changes? (For example, electric motors, vacuum tubes, magnetic tape, transistors, and lasers all helped change musical recordings.) Can students identify ways their own lives would be different if not for these changes?

Have students research the evolution of a twentieth-century product or technology of their choice. Ask them to use artifacts or images representing their selection at different time periods to present and explain the changes to the class. What future changes in the technology do students anticipate?

You may also want to show objects that have fallen out of common use in the U.S. (e.g., carbon paper, darning egg, vacuum tube, keypunch card). Have students try to figure out what the object was used for, why they think it is no longer used much, and what, if anything, has replaced it.

Technology Program Contents

Activities subtitle

Quality, Quantity, and Other Questions
Testing the Virtue of Virtual
In-Depth Investigation: Super Polymers!

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