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Intro Our Town, 1900 Living without Technology




Prep --

Materials: A blank or plain journal to be distributed to each child or have students print out the table included in the Organizers for Students. Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, cardboard, colored paper, construction paper, general art supplies.

Computer Resources: You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

-- Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
-- Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
-- Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MBs of RAM.
-- IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 95 or higher.

For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

Software Resources:
- Any Word Processing Program (i.e., MS Word, Corel WordPerfect, AppleWorks, etc.)
- MS PowerPoint or HyperStudio can be used by students to add a multimedia presentation to their final project. For more information on how to use these programs, see wNetSchool's HyperStudio or PowerPoint Tutorials.


Bookmarks: There is more sites available focusing on 20th century technologies. A simple search on the Internet will yield many results. The sites below represent good sources from which a student can begin his or her research. The following sites can be booked marked, downloaded as a page, or put into a web page for future student research.

20th century Industry

The 20th Century - CNN

The 20th Century - Time

The People's Century

Web-and-Flow WebQuest - The 20th Century millennium/webquest.htm

20th Century America

Greatest Engineering Achievements of the Twentieth Century

20th Century Issues

20th Century Inventions

Notable Inventions and Discoveries of the 20th Century 20th-Century.htm

A Century of Inventions 1900 to 1999 - Inventors aa121599a.htm

Encyclopedia Britannica 0,5716,115400+1,00.html

Top 10 Technologies of the 20th Century, part I - 20th weekly/aa112898.htm

Lemelson Center Invention Features: Women Inventors womeninventors.html


Steps --

Time allotment: 2 to 4 weeks, including preparation

Communicating with families:
  1. Write a letter to parents explaining the project.

  2. Discuss with families that the students will need to give up as much technology as possible. Encourage parents and families to actively support and participate with in the exercise. Examples of technologies to give up: television, radios, telephones, microwaves, alarm clocks, cell phones, beepers, hot water, etc

Prepare students:
  1. Discuss the following: what are technological advance and what is technology. What are modern conveniences?

  2. Brainstorm and list all the different types of technology available in our daily lives. Example: street lights, microwaves, radio, television, hair dryers, washing machines, automobiles, etc.

  3. Distribute Page 1 - Technology Chart in the Student Organizer or create your own.

  4. Have student research the inventions of the 20th century. They are responsible for finding the names of the inventors and the dates in which it took place.

    - Be prepared to spend time with students exploring and discussing the information they have gathered about 20th century inventions.
    - Help students to see how technology has a logical progression and is continually evolving.
    - Help student to see the evolution of products they use every day.
    - Brainstorm with students on how technology makes our lives more convenient, efficient, productive, and very different from the 1900's.
Assignment: After a class discussion, pick a weekend day and have your students give up technology and modern conveniences for 24-hours. The idea is to have your feel what it was like to live in 1900. On this special day, have students keep a paper and pencil journal, use page 2 - journal for students as the model.

- Have students make an entry every two hours.
- Have students begin the journal as soon as they wake up and begin each entry with the time they are writing.
- Be sure to have your students include how they are feeling about using modern conveniences today, how they are spending their time, and what life must have been like for children their age who lived in 1900.
- Students could also be encouraged to write why they were or weren't able to give up the technology.

Discussion and conclusion:
  1. Have students bring their findings back to class.
    - Be prepared to have 2 or 3 discussions, over a period of a week
    - Have students read excerpts from their journals

  2. Have students make notes after class discussions

  3. Turn in journals for a grade.


Tips --

Teachers using computers: Teachers need to access at least one computer either in their classroom or in a lab.

Computer in the Classroom: If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your class into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, encyclopedias, and other materials from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (Always have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer, in order to show them examples of what to look for.) When the groups have finished working have them switch places.

If you have big monitor or projection facilities: you can do Internet research together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen, go to the relevant Web site(s), and review the information presented there. You can also select a search engine page and allow your students to suggest the search criteria. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

Several Computers in the Classroom: Divide your class into small groups. Groups can do Internet research using pages you have bookmarked. Group members should take turns navigating the bookmarked sites. You can also set the class up so that each computer is dedicated to certain sites. Students will then move around the classroom, getting different information from each station.

Using a Computer Lab: A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time.

Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

Extended Activities:
Note: Activities and challenges are intended for all grades, Kindergarten through 12th. Activities and challenges can be completely documented in students' journals and turned in at the end of the lesson. Activities and challenges can also be presented as a research paper, web site, hypermedia stack or oral presentation. Encourage students to keep a journal to document every aspect of their research. This will give them the opportunity to see how their perceptions of technology have changed over the course of the unit.

  1. Write a paragraph describing one thing (technology) you couldnąt live without today.

  2. Write a friendly letter to an imaginary friend who lived in 1900 telling him/her how life has changed since then.

    - Prepare students by reviewing the elements of the friendly letter

  3. Prepare a six-page illustrated booklet entitled Changes. Divide each page into thirds and head each column with 1900, 2000, 2100. Title each page with the following topics:

    - Transportation
    - Communication
    - Health care
    - Food
    - Education
    - Entertainment

    In each column draw (or download from the Internet) and label a picture that best illustrates the topic for that century.

  4. Interview two people: One should be about the students' age, and the other about their grandparentsą age. Ask them about the technological changes that have taken place in their lifetime and how these changes have made their lives easier and/or harder. This activity can be presented as an oral.

    - Review with students the interview processes.


  5. In one page, choose two technological advancements and tell how each one is similar and/or different: Ex: the invention of airplanes and transcontinental travel vs. the Internet.

    - Brainstorm and discuss with students how technologies are global and make changes throughout the world.

  6. Write an essay to share with your class that addresses the following question: What technological changes of the 20th century have best helped to create a global community?

    - Discuss with students what is the "global village".

  7. If you could go back in history and reinvent one technology, which one would it be? Prepare to explain how you would make it different and why to your classmates.

  8. Make a twelve-inch tombstone out of a piece of cardboard. At the top, write R.I.P. (Rest in Piece). List all of the things in our world today that you would like to see disappear by the year 2100.

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