May 2005 - International Technology and Engineering Educators ...

May 2005 - International Technology and Engineering Educators ...

T&C Field Editor Retires

Terry Thode, Field Editor of Technology and Children,

will be retiring at the end of this school year. It has

been a true joy to work with her on T&C for the last

four years, and she will be truly missed, both by the

ITEA staff and by her colleagues—not to mention by

her students. Below are just a few testimonials to her

contributions to the field of technology education.

Terry Thode is perhaps the most incredible teacher I

have ever met. As a college professor of Technology

Education with a PhD in Teaching and Learning, it

has been the highlight of my year for the past five

years to not only take my students to her lab, but to

sit at her feet, cross-legged with her students, and

learn from such a master teacher. The contribution

Terry has made to teaching technology education in

the elementary school is the greatest that has been

made by anyone—bar none. Thank you Terry, for

your example, dedication, devotion, and love for your

profession and most importantly for your students.

Jared Berrett

Associate Professor

Brigham Young University

Terry Thode has been an inspiration to me because

she is able to motivate elementary school teachers to

teach technology in fun ways. Few others are able to

do that. Thanks, Terry.

Vincent Childress

Associate Professor of Technology

North Carolina A&T State University

What a wonderful experience it has been to work

with Terry on T&C. Her materials are always on time,

complete, and ready to use (what a great example

for her students—and the rest of us, as well). Her

enthusiasm and professionalism are second to none.

Thank you, Terry—we will miss you!

Kathie Cluff

ITEA Editor

It has been my good fortune and pleasure to work

with Terry on T&C over the last few years. She is

knowledgeable, hard working, and FUN! Terry makes

110% effort look easy, while always maintaining

her positive sense of adventure. I have appreciated

having her as a “go to” person for elementary

technology education. She always has the answer, or

else—she’ll figure it out! Thank you Terry!

Katie de la Paz

ITEA Editor-in-Chief

In 1996, Jim Kirkwood and

I spent a week observing

Terry teaching in Hailey.

In that short period, it

was clear that that the

philosophy she championed

at conferences and in

articles was what she lived

and breathed every day as a teacher. I think it bears

repeating: To thousands of ITEA members, Terry, along

with her husband Brad, has been an inspiration; but

to thousands more children, she has been their first

technology teacher.

Pat Foster

Associate Professor of Technology Education

Central Connecticut State University

Terry’s amazing energy and happy spirit is infectious!

She always finds a way to infuse fun in everything

she does, and we love it! Her knowledge and

passion for teaching technology education has

inspired so many, and we have all been lucky to have

her as an outstanding model in our profession.

Krista Jones

Technology Education Teacher

Bellevue Elementary School, ID

Terry Thode has provided a viewpoint to us all that

is centered on children. How else could it be? She

works with children daily and knows what they need

and how to deliver it. She has always been willing to

share her knowledge with everyone. So many people

have benefited from visiting her classrooms in Idaho,

from attending her workshops and presentations,

and from her ability to regularly create a world-class

publication that encourages and teaches us all why

and how to teach technology to children. We are all

indebted to her for her cheerful coaching, guiding, and

leading teachers to create their own technological

worlds for children.

Jim Kirkwood

Professor (Retired)

Ball State University

Terry and Brad Thode at the recent ITEA conference in

Kansas City

When Terry took on the editorship of Technology and

Children, she brought with her the same enthusiasm

and fun that she showed at the ITEA conference in

Kansas City—when she won the Teacher Excellence

Award she yelled “Yah Hoo!” as she was coming off

the stage. That’s the kind of spirit she brought to the

T&C journal, as well as to the technology teaching


Chuck Linnell

Associate Professor

Clemson University

I don’t think I have ever met or worked with anyone

as dedicated to technology education as Terry Thode.

We would not have an outstanding Tech Ed program

without the leadership of Terry and her husband,

Brad. It takes great resolve and persistence to start

and maintain a Tech Ed program for so many years.

I’d like to bottle her enthusiasm and keep it next to

the bottle containing student energy. I love working

with Terry and hope to stay in touch.

Chris Nelson

Elementary Technology Education Teacher

Hailey Elementary School, ID

Terry—Always ready to make newcomers to the T&C

Editorial Board feel welcome, supportive of ideas for

articles, and understanding about the time it takes to

field-test activities. Her gentle guidance and can-do

attitude will be missed.

Ginger Whiting

Consultant/Former Classroom Teacher

Children’s Engineering Educators, VA

MAY 2005

Vol. 9 No. 4


Publisher, Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE

Editor-in-Chief, Kathleen B. de la Paz

Field Editor, Terry Thode

Editor/Layout, Kathie F. Cluff

ITEA Board of Directors

Ethan Lipton, DTE, President

Anna Sumner, DTE, Past President

Ken Starkman, President-Elect

Paul Jacobs, Director, Region 1

Chris Merrill, Director, Region 2

Julie Moore, Director, Region 3

Doug Walrath, Director, Region 4

Ed Denton, DTE, Director, ITEA-CS

Rodney Custer, DTE, Director, CTTE

Joe Busby, DTE, Director, TECA

Patrick N. Foster, Director, TECC

Kendall N. Starkweather, DTE, Executive Director

Editorial Board

Terry Thode, Chair, Hemingway Elementary School

Jared Berrett, Brigham Young University

Sharon A. Brusic, Millersville University

Vincent Childress, North Carolina A&T State Univ.

Janis Detamore, McGaheysville Elementary School

Patrick N. Foster, Central Connecticut State University

Krista Jones, Bellevue Elementary School

James J. Kirkwood, DTE, Ball State University

Charles C. Linnell, Clemson University

Ginger Whiting, Virginia Children’s Engineering Council

TECC Officers

Vincent Childress, President

Sharon Brusic, Vice President-Program

Melissa Szmajlo, Vice President-Communication

Wendy Ku, Treasurer

Karen Reim, Secretary


Produced by the

International Technology

Education Association

in conjunction with its

Technology Education for

Children Council

2 From the Editor

3 Message From the President of TECC


7 Tech Techniques

Creating an Elementary Classroom Toolbox

Charles C. Linnell

8 Resources

Jump Start GPS

Jared Berrett

11 Web Links

Web Sites: Integrating Social Studies and Technology

Christine Nelson

12 Books to Briefs

Bridge Builders

Jeff Blanchetti

The Flying Machine

Josh Pennington

16 Quick Activities

Things Change Fast!

Terry Thode

Line Them Up and Move Them On!

Terry Thode

19 TECHNO-Tips

Ideas for Integrating Technology Education

Into Everyday Learning

Krista Jones

21 The Space Place

Catching Comet Dust With Aerogel

Diane K. Fisher


4 Article

Social Studies and Technology: The Cause and Effect

Relationship of Society and Technology Over Time

Jared Bitting, Vincent Childress, and Craig Rhodes

9 Activity

Time Flies!

Scott Slonim



15 Article

Ninth Annual Virginia Children’s Engineering Convention

Linda Harpine


Just Wait a Minute and It Will Change!

Technology and Children is published four times

a year (September, December, March, and May)

by the International Technology Education

Association. Subscriptions are included in all

group membership dues. Student members

may choose Technology and Children as part of

their membership. Other ITEA members may

subscribe to the journal for $25.00 per year;

$35.00 outside the U.S. Library and nonmember

subscriptions are $35.00 per year; $45.00

outside the U.S. Single copies of back issues are

available for $6.50 ($9.00 for nonmembers) plus

shipping and handling.

Advertising Sales

Maureen Wiley


Subscription Claims

All subscription claims must be made within 60

days of the first day of the month appearing on

the cover of the journal. Because of repeated delivery

problems outside the contintental United States,

journals will be shipped only at the customer’s risk.

ITEA will ship the subscription copy, but assumes no

responsibility thereafter.

Address Changes

Send address changes to:

Technology and Children, Address Change

ITEA, 1914 Association Drive, Suite 201

Reston, VA 20191-1539

All contributions for review should be sent to:

Terry Thode, Field Editor

Technology and Children

P.O. Box 1450

Hailey, ID 83333-1450

Telephone: 208-788-4958

Fax: 208-788-3998


Submission guidelines can be found at

© 2005 by the International Technology Education


There’s an old saying about the weather, something to the effect that if you

wait just a few minutes, it will change. I feel that same way about technology.

We live in times of tremendous change,

caused in part by the development of

new technologies that can trigger a

change in our needs, and in part by

our needs dictating a new innovation.

Technologies come and go, replaced by

the latest, newest version. I’ve learned

that if I find a pair of tennis shoes that

really fit, I’d better buy two pair right

now because I won’t be able to find the

same model again next year. Obviously

my cell phone purchased five years ago

can’t match the ones our students use

today that have text messaging, push-totalk

capabilities, e-mail, and photos all in

one small device.

Terry Thode

What does the rapid change in

technology mean to the world’s social

systems? This Technology and Children

issue focuses on how technology and

society interact. Technology is about

change fostered by human invention and

innovation, and it parallels the changes

in societies throughout history to today.

Whether we’re talking about subsistence

living in a third world country or about

western societies with the latest,

greatest innovations, technology

touches all of us every day in many ways.

The effect a technology might have on

the society we live in depends a lot on

how we want to use it and whether

we find it useful or not. As we become

more of a global community, we need

to learn more about each other to fully

appreciate others’ needs and wants.

Our students have a challenge unlike

any generation before us. They not

only need to learn about their mother

country’s history and their heritage but

also extend their learning in a more

international direction. Assessing how

an existing or new technology impacts

the Earth environment, space, world

natural resources, and our neighbors

around the globe is a crucial task for

all of us and one that needs to be done

with a high-tech, high-touch approach.

We hope this last issue for 2004-2005

gives you some new ideas and

information to share with your students

on how social studies and technology

are linked. A special thanks goes to

our regular columnists, Krista Jones,

Christine Nelson, Sharon Brusic, Vincent

Childress, Diane Fisher, and Jared Barrett

for a job well done all year. In addition,

we want to thank our new authors and

contributing writers for their efforts

to share information about elementary

technology education.

As for me, this is my last issue as

field editor, and I could never have

done it without Katie de la Paz and

Kathie Cluff of ITEA. Thank you both!

Congratulations to our new field

editor, Charlie McLaughlin, whom I’m

certain shares my passion for the role

technology education plays in the

elementary school. It’s been a joy to

work on this journal, and I hope I’ve

been successful in keeping you excited

about technology and children!

Summer is fast approaching. If you’re

anything like me, you’re trying to figure

out where the school year went and how

you’re ever going to get all the learning

in before school ends. Good luck! Have

a relaxing, fun-filled break and join us

again in September!

Terry Thode is field editor for Technology

and Children. She teaches at

Hemingway School, Ketchum, ID. She can be

reached via e-mail at

Thank you, Terry! (Eds.)

2 Technology and Children


Message From the President of TECC

It is my pleasure to report on a successful ITEA annual conference. The TECC

Special Interest Session presenters were very informative and well received.

TECC Leadership Award

The TECC Leadership Award is presented

to educators who provide meaningful

and sustained leadership to the Council.

This year the TECC Leadership Award

was presented to Dr. Sharon Brusic from

Millersville University in Millersville,

Pennsylvania. Dr. Brusic has been a

guiding influence in bolstering the

health and influence of TECC. She was a

co-author for the Mission 21 materials,

NASA-sponsored instructional materials

that help teachers integrate technology

education with elementary school

instruction. She has been a professor at

Virginia Tech and Millersville, where she

established courses to teach technology

education to elementary school majors.

She has served in various positions

on the Council on Technology Teacher

Education (CTTE) while simultaneously

serving as a vice president for TECC.

CTTE recently recognized her as its

Outstanding Teacher Educator. In her

second term as TECC Vice President for

Programs, Dr. Brusic was once again

instrumental in developing a wonderful

program for TECC at ITEA’s annual

conference. Finally, Dr. Brusic has served

on the Technology and Children editorial

review board, is a contributing author

to T&C on a sustained basis, and has

worked tirelessly to help elementary

school teachers integrate technology

education into their instruction. Thank

you, Dr. Brusic.

TECC Mary Margaret Scobey


TECC presents the Mary Margaret

Scobey Award to a person who has made

tireless contributions to elementary

school technology education in general.

This year TECC presented the Mary

Margaret Scobey Award to Dr. Ron Todd,

a professor of Technology Education

at The College of New Jersey. Over the

years, Dr. Todd has led several National

Science Foundation efforts at developing

instructional materials for teaching

technology education at the elementary

school level, and he has always worked

to disseminate his findings to the

profession through publications and

workshop presentations. Dr. Todd

is publisher and has been a long

contributing member of the TIES

Magazine staff, and he has studied

in detail how to teach engineering

and technological problem solving to

elementary school students.

If you have nominations for the TECC

Mary Margaret Scobey Award and the

TECC Leadership Award, please e-mail

them to To see a list

of past recipients of both awards visit:


Vincent Childress

TECC Officer Nominations

The current slate of officers will end

its term after the 2006 ITEA Annual

Conference. Therefore, it is time to

nominate yourself or others for officer

positions in TECC. Open positions

include: President, VP for Programs,

VP for Communication, Secretary, and

Treasurer. Please send nominations for

TECC officers to

Children’s Engineering


I had the pleasure of presenting and

recruiting at the Children’s Engineering

Convention in Richmond, Virginia. The

conference had about 150 teachers in

attendance from as far away as Florida.

Virginia’s Secretary of Education was

one of the main speakers and Gary

Benenson was another. The teachers in

attendance learned firsthand through

hands-on workshops how to integrate

May 2005 Technology and Children

technology education instruction into

the elementary school curriculum.

Many of the teachers in attendance

were concerned about their students’

achievement on standardized tests and

were very interested in technology and

engineering as a motivating context

in which to interest their students in



TECC Membership increased by 40

members over last year. The Paxton-

Patterson effort to offer reduced

professional membership dues for new

members may be one of the causes.

However, I recruited last year and this

year at the Children’s Engineering

Convention in Richmond, and this year

I recruited at the National Association

for Elementary School Principals (NAESP)

annual conference in Baltimore as well.

Hopefully, that contact will increase

the number of elementary school


Innovation Station

ITEA has started a very important

listserv community for the elementary

school level. Already teachers, teacher

educators, and administrators are

learning more about what works in the

classroom. We have had some good

communication sequences and resource

exchanges on Innovation Station already.

I hope that you will join and contribute

to the listserv. To enroll, visit: www.


See you next year in Baltimore.

Vincent Childress is an associate

professor of Technology Education at North

Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro,

North Carolina. He can be reached via

e-mail at



Social Studies and Technology:

The Cause and Effect Relationship of Society and Technology Over Time


Imagine a world with no telephones,

no television, no cars, or electricity.

Many children, and even a large majority

of adults, wonder how life would be

possible without these items.

History is full of moments when

technology has changed the course of

civilizations and society. Often we, as

well as our students, take for granted

the technology that makes our lives

easier. For that reason, it is essential that

teachers challenge students to evaluate

the similarities and differences of our

modern world and the civilizations

that have existed throughout recorded

time. The study of the ways in which

inventions and inventors have influenced

our world provides students with

the opportunity to utilize research

and critical-thinking skills in order to

improve their understanding of both the

positive and negative effects innovative

technologies have caused over the


A lesson to compare the similarities and

differences of the earliest civilizations

and life today is a great way to help

students realize just how far the

human race has advanced because of



Native American cultures utilized a

variety of techniques to solve problems,

such as how to construct shelter using

the raw materials provided from the

environment in which they lived. The

means of transporting raw materials

from where they were gathered to where

the structure was to be constructed

meant that the shelters built by Native

American cultures differed depending

on the environment. For instance,

the Lenape Indians of Pennsylvania

lived in wigwams, which were small

round buildings constructed of bent

sapling trees covered by sheets of bark;

whereas the Sioux Indians built tepees

constructed of long straight poles of

wood and covered in buffalo skins.

Jared Bitting

Vincent Childress

Craig Rhodes

Today, modern transportation made

possible by Americans such as John

Lambert, the Duryea Brothers, and

Henry Ford makes it possible to

transport raw materials from any point

in the world to wherever the structure

is to be constructed. No longer do

people need to construct homes out

of only the natural resources that are

in close proximity to a community,

but people can utilize steel made in

Pittsburgh or lumber processed in

California. This was made possible

not only by transportation technology

but also by our ability to process

materials into rough pieces that make

their storage and handling easier. Two

classic examples of how improvements

influenced society are the rise of

modern land transportation and

advancements in shipping, and these

are excellent examples that elementary

school teachers can use to illustrate the

interaction of technology and society

over time.

Early Trails and Animal Power,

Railroads, and the Interstate

Highway System

When settlers first arrived in North

America, they utilized preexisting animal

and Native American trails to transport

their goods as well as travel throughout

the colonies. At this time, animal power

was the only means of transportation

available to transport people and

products by land. Tramways allowed

horse drawn carts to be pulled along

rails with greater ease over the dirt

roads. During the 1800s, settlers used

these trails to access local waterways,

which were also major travel routes at

the time.

With the advent of steam-powered

engines, the American railroad system

began to take shape during the

nineteenth century. The railroad offered

a faster and more effective means of

transporting people and products from

one place to another.

Though the Pennsylvania Interstate

Highway System began in 1911,

legislation by Dwight D. Eisenhower

helped to form what many refer to as

the Interstate Highway System. Virtually

all goods and services today travel via

interstate highways at some point. The

modern railroad system still plays a

role in the transportation of goods and

materials, but the interstate

highway system allows

these goods to move to

destinations that are not

near modern railway hubs

and waterways.

The Erie Canal,

The Steamboat,

and Containerized


Canals were often

constructed to allow access

to locations that would

otherwise be inaccessible.

4 Technology and Children

Early canals, such as the Union Canal

that connected Reading and Middletown

Pennsylvania, often utilized animals to

pull barges through the canals. The Erie

Canal used steam or diesel-powered

tugboats to push or pull barges along,

while the locks were operated by


The creation of a reliable steamboat

in 1807 by Robert Fulton reduced the

need for tugboats to push or pull the

barges. Fulton’s “Clermont” steamed

upriver from New York to Albany, and

within five years his steamboats would

service six major rivers in addition to

the Chesapeake Bay. This and other

steamboat operations were instrumental

to the Industrial Revolution in America,

helping manufacturers transport raw

materials and finished goods and

opening the American continent to

exploration and settlement.

Malcolm McLean developed the idea of

containerized shipping in the mid 1950s.

He realized that placing a

fully loaded container from

an 18-wheeler directly onto

a train, vessel, or aircraft

would reduce the cost,

time, and labor involved

in shipping. According to

Tech Tidbit Web site (Teich,

2004), one hundred million

container loads crisscross the

world’s oceans each year in

over 5,000 container ships.

In addition, there are enough

containers in the world today

to build an eight-foot wall

around the equator twice.

Teaching About

the Interaction of

Technology and Society

In teaching about the

influences between

technology and society, it is

important to help students

understand that technology

has an impact on society, but

society also has an impact

on technology (Pannebecker,

1991). For example, it was

the steamboat that helped improve

the wealth of society by improving the

speed and increasing the tonnage of

trade on the Mississippi River. However,

it was the need of society to deliver

more goods to and from the interior

of the United States that served as a

motivation for Fulton to invent the

steamboat in the first place.

Clearly explain to the students that the

objectives of the lesson and its activities

are to:

• Understand how technology

changes society.

• Understand how society changes


• Read research about technology and


• Write about technology and society.

• Build a model illustrating an old

technology that was changed by

society or that changed society.

• Give a presentation explaining the

results of the research.

May 2005 Technology and Children


The teacher should develop a list of

technologies that have changed society

or that were changed by society, and

allow students to conduct research

on a topic of their choosing. Provide a

detailed example of how technology

and society have influenced each other.

Students should proceed with their

research using a guide for note taking

that will help them understand the

technological and societal changes.

To provide assessment in reading

comprehension, students should

write succinctly about the relationship

between the technology and society of

interest. Have students build a simple

model of the old technology and

bring in a photograph of the modern

version. Finally, have students present

their findings to the class. In all of

these activities, the student should

be providing evidence that he or she

understands the objectives listed above.

Assessing Students

In the preceding section, the acceptable

evidence has been identified as (1)

written research item, (2) the building

of a model, and (3) a presentation.

The rubric on the following page was

developed to help assess the articles of




Objectives Below Standard At Standard Above Standard

Research and write about the

influence of technology on or

by society based on a chosen


Build a model that illustrates

the impact of an old technology

on or by society

Presentation explaining results

of research


International Technology Education

Association (2000/2002). Standards

for technological literacy: Content for

the study of technology. Reston, VA:


Pannabecker, J. (1991). Technological

impacts and determinism in

technology education: Alternate

metaphors from social

constructivism. Journal of Technology

Education, 3(1), retrieved February

14, 2005, from: http://scholar.lib.


Pennsylvania Department of Education

(2004). Pennsylvania Content

Standards Grade Level Benchmarks:

History 8.4. Retrieved February

15, 2005, from: www.wasd.k12.


A fragmentary account of facts/

ideas about the influence of

technology on or by society

The model does not adequately

illustrate an old technology

that has influenced or was

influenced by society

The presentation does not

accurately explain the results of

the research or illustrate that

the student understands how

technology has influenced or

been influenced by society

An atypical and revealing

account, well supported by

argument and evidence of

technology’s influence on or by


The model does illustrate

an old technology that has

influenced or was influenced by


The presentation illustrates

that the student understands

how technology influences or

is influenced by society and is

directly related to the research

Teich, A. (2004). Containerized Shipping:

Thinking Inside the Box. Retrieved

February 22, 2005, from: www.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (1998).

Understanding by design. Alexandria,

VA: Association for Supervision and

Curriculum Development.

Web Site Resources

Bellis, M. (2005). The history of railroad

innovations. About, Inc. Retrieved

March 5, 2005 from: http://


Bellis, M. (2005). The history of

steamboats. About, Inc. Retrieved

March 5, 2005 from: http://


Costantini, P. Containerized shipping [slide

show]. Retrieved March 5, 2005

Compare the related Pennsylvania state history standard

at the third grade level to the related STL technology

content standard. “Compare similarities and differences

between earliest civilizations and life today.” (Pennsylvania

Department of Education, 2004, n.p.). The related standard

and benchmark for technology education state, “Standard 7:

Students will develop an understanding of the influence of

technology on history…Benchmark A: The way people live and

work has changed throughout history because of technology”

(ITEA, 2000/2002, pp. 79-80).

An unusually thorough account,

fully supported and verified

by evidence of technology’s

influence on or by society

The model offers profound

detail that thoroughly

illustrates an old technology

that has influenced or was

influenced by society

The presentation is based

on the research and offers a

thorough and critical view of

how technology influences or is

influenced by society




Department of History. History of the

Erie Canal. University of Rochester.

Retrieved March 5, 2005 from:

Old Plank Road Trail Management

Commission. Old Plank Road Trail.

Joliet, IL: Author. Retrieved March 5,

2005 from:

two.html [Early Explorer and Settler


Wikipedia. (2005). Interstate highway

system. Wikimedia Foundation,

Inc. Retrieved March 5, 2005



Jared Bitting is a teacher and graduate

student in technology education at

Millersville University in Millersville,

Pennsylvania. He can be reached at

Vincent Childress is an associate

professor of technology education at North

Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro,

North Carolina. He can be reached at

Craig Rhodes is an assistant professor

of technology education at North Carolina

A&T State University in Greensboro,

North Carolina. He can be reached at

6 Technology and Children



Creating an Elementary

Classroom Toolbox

Every now and then elementary teachers wish they had the right tool for the right job. Sometimes having a

well-organized toolbox with that “right” tool would help them to make learning more active and fun. This Tech

Techniques is designed to help teachers organize and begin to assemble a useful toolbox that they can keep in

their classrooms.

There are all sorts of learn-by-doing

activities that would help children see

that they can modify their environment

by using different processes and simple

hand tools. Taking things apart and

putting them back together again is

fun and requires using tools. Usually

these tools can be the everyday tools

that they see their parents use at home.

Tools can be bought separately or in a

set. Teachers can add to their toolbox

as they find a specific need for a certain

tool. They don’t have to be expensive.

Local hardware and building supply

stores would be glad to advise and assist

an elementary teacher who wanted to

put together an elementary classroom

toolbox for his/her class. The teacher

will add creativity and problem solving

to his/her lessons by correctly and safely

using the right tool for the right job.

The picture shows an example of a

toolbox with the described tools laid

out in order. Teachers can find different

toolboxes in different sizes, shapes,

colors, and materials (metal and plastic).

Here is a basic list of the fundamental

hand tools for the elementary classroom

toolbox that will enhance technological

learning for children:

• First, always model correct safety

procedures with all tools by wearing

safety glasses. They are inexpensive

and now come in designer colors.

• Screwdrivers – There are two basic

kinds: Philips head and Standard.

They come in different sizes. Start

off with one of each about 7” or 8”


• Hammer – This will be used a lot. A

basic 16 oz. or 14 oz. claw hammer

Charles C. Linnell

will help the teacher drive brads

and nails, as well as act as a lever.

Nail sets – These are used to “set”

small brads/nails into wood.

Pliers – There are many different

kinds of pliers, but there are some

important ones that need to be

included in every good toolbox:

needle-nose pliers, electricians’

pliers, vise grip pliers, and channellock


Tape rule – An 8’ or 10’ measuring

tape rule is good to have.

Sometimes a 25’ tape rule can be

really useful when laying out large

projects inside the classroom and


Tin snips – These are useful for

cutting thin hard material.

Wrenches – There are many

different kinds of

wrenches, but the best

one to start out with is

a combination box-end

and open-end wrench.

When using wrenches,

care needs to be taken

that the end of the

wrench fits snugly on the

nut. Also, wrench sets

are fairly inexpensive;

again, ask the hardware

store person.

Pipe wrench – A pipe

wrench may come in

handy when demonstrating how

pipes and different connections fit


Adjustable wrench – Comes in

May 2005 Technology and Children

handy when you can’t find the right


Socket set – A small socket set with

a ratchet tool and an extension will

sometimes work when and where

wrenches cannot.

Allen wrench set – There are many

types of fasteners: allen screws,

nuts and bolts, wood screws, etc.

Many machines and devices are

assembled using allen screws.

There are many different tools for

different uses that can be collected over

time as needs arise. The elementary

classroom toolbox suggested here will

be useful for demonstrating different

tool processes and their uses to

children. The elementary classroom

toolbox will assist teachers and their

students to become more confident

selecting and using the right tool for the

right job.

Charles C. Linnell is an associate

professor in the School of Education at Clemson

University in Clemson, SC. He can be

reached via e-mail at



Jump Start GPS


Teaching about Global Positioning

Systems (GPS) can be a great way to

introduce students to technology and

social impact and change. For instance,

if you go to buy any automobile or

recreational vehicle today, like an

ATV or boat, GPS systems will be

available from the factory on many

of them. Transportation companies

track the speed and location of

their large trucks and can tell their

clients exactly when a product will

be delivered. Farmers are using GPS

to trace numerous things like the

amount of water, insects, fertilizers,

etc. as they relate to the productivity

of a given section of land. They can

then use this GPS data and place it in

a Global Information System (GIS) to

make important long-term decisions

about what to plant where to increase

their crops. Besides connecting with

social studies, there are plenty of

opportunities to make connections

with science and math (i.e. satellite

orbits, planets, space travel, etc.).

Jared Berrett

Lets Go!

As with any technology, the teacher

should strive to get a personal GPS

system into the students’ hands as

soon as possible. A geocaching activity

around the school grounds can be a

perfect activity. In order to do one,

you must have at least one WAAS

enabled GPS hand-held unit. I have run

successful activities with small groups

of two, where a class only had access

to one GPS unit, and I have taught this

in a classroom where we had 20 handheld


Hand-Held GPS

The GPS we used most recently in

our teaching was the Garmin Geko

201. This unit is very simple and easy

to navigate with. There are only five

screen options, which can be toggled

through using the “page” button.

Submenu selections are made using

the up and down arrows and the “OK”

button. Regardless of the model and

make of the GPS unit you obtain, it

will have to perform key common

functions that you need to understand

and teach your students about.

Key Functions

Acquiring Satellites – When first

powered up, the GPS unit will want to

locate itself. You must be outside for it

to acquire satellites overhead.

Setting Waypoints – Waypoints are

typically set in two ways. First, if

you were going to start a hike in the

mountains, you might set a waypoint

at your car so you can safely find it

again. Secondly, you might also need

to enter coordinates for a location that

you are seeking (such as a lake that

you are planning to camp at one night)

where you know the coordinates. With

the Geko 201, setting a waypoint at

your given location (like your car) is

as simple as holding down the “OK”

button for two seconds. You then

enter a name for this location. From

the Menu

screen you

can also select

“Mark” and

follow the same


You give your

waypoint a

name and can

then enter in

the specific


8 Technology and Children


Time Flies!


What would our lives be like if we

didn’t have the measurement of time?

What problems would arise? Would

there be any benefits?

The measurement of time is used

throughout the world. Think about

your life and how often you rely on

clocks for everything that you do.

Without knowing the time, how

would you know when to get up in the

morning for school or when to watch

your favorite TV show? How would

you know when to go to your soccer

game or when to be home for dinner?

Almost everything you do relies on

knowing the time.

Thousands of years ago, people didn’t

know how to tell time. Not only that,

they didn’t even know time existed.

The first people to think about time

were farmers, who only thought about

it in terms of seasons, not days or

weeks or months and certainly not

hours or minutes. They needed to

know when to plant their crops and

when to harvest them. As civilizations

developed, the need for more accurate

and detailed timekeeping came into

existence. People wanted and needed

to know the time for certain activities,

like when to pray or how long a lawyer

was allowed to speak at a trial. Other

uses for time hadn’t been thought of

yet. The first clocks used the sun by

way of a sundial. The problem with

the sundials was that they made man

dependent on sunshine. Later, people

tried water clocks and then clocks

that told time using sand. Due to the

problems related to these types of

clocks and the difficulty with accuracy,

mechanical clocks were developed. As

people came to further understand the

basic elements of the universe, clocks

based on crystals and atoms were


Scott Slonim

Elements necessary for an accurate

method of timekeeping are:

• A constant, repetitive action that

you can measure and that does

not change. An example of this

is a clock ticking in one-second


• A method to measure and display

the result. An example of this is a

clock’s hands.

Imagine that you are back in time,

thousands of years. The only way to

tell the time is to use a sundial. You

are tired of using this method to tell

time because there are just too many

cloudy days. On cloudy days, you have

no way of knowing the time. The king

of the land, also tired of sundials,

has offered a substantial reward for

anyone who can tell time using water.

To earn the reward, you may use only

four plastic cups, one glass jar, and a

piece of tape for your time instrument.

It must be accurate up to five minutes.

May 2005 Technology and Children

Design Problem

Design a water clock that can

accurately tell time in one-minute

intervals, up to five minutes.


Four plastic cups, one glass jar, one

long piece of masking tape, four

thumbtacks, four foot high strips of

cardboard that are one foot wide,

water, timers, pencil or pen, building

materials for the stand such as K’NEX

or wood supports.



Discuss the introduction with the

students. Show them how to make

a water clock using one cup and a

glass jar. Use masking tape to tape

the cardboard to the wall. Use the

end of a large paper clip to make

a small hole in the bottom of a




cup. Use tape to place the cup on

the cardboard strip. Put the glass

jar under the cup. Place a piece of

masking tape vertically on the jar.

Fill the cup with water and time

it as it flows through the hole

and into the jar. Mark the tape

where the water level is for every

one-minute interval. Stop at three

minutes and do it again, seeing if

your water level marks for each

minute are accurate.

Show students the materials they

will be allowed to use for the

project, emphasizing the four

cups. Challenge them to make

their own water clock using any

or all the pieces available to them.

Before the students start, remind


coordinates of any given known

location on earth.

Navigation –

Once you have set some waypoints,

you will need to navigate to them.

Again, with the Geko 201, this is

easy. You select the “waypoints”

option from the

menu, identify

a waypoint that

you have named

by highlighting

it, and then click

“goto.” There are

two screens you

can use to get to

your destination.

The map screen

(displayed on





them about the two elements of

a clock.

Have the students get into groups

of four. Using paper, have the

students design what their water

clock will look like. They need to

explain what their reasoning is for

the design.

Once the design is complete,

students will make their water


Students will use their clocks to

tell time at one-minute intervals,

up to five minutes, by marking

on the tape at the end of each


Students will test the clock for

accuracy up to five minutes by

checking one-minute intervals.

the image of the Geko 201) shows

you your location relative to your

other waypoints and gives you a thick

black bearing line that you follow. The

compass screen (left) uses an arrow

to point you in the right direction and

displays the distance to the point and

the speed that you are traveling.


On the higher-end expensive units,

you can download maps of cities,

topography, etc. These units also

come with numerous other features

like barometer, altimeter, and color

screens. These features may be

important to you, but there are really

only three that you need to know to

have a successful experience with your

students. For some curriculum ideas


• Students will have designed

water clocks that are accurate in

one-minute intervals, up to five


• Students should be able to discuss

the problems and limitations

associated with using a water

clock to measure time.

• Students will discuss why other

devices for time measurement are


Scott Slonim teaches at Hailey

Elementary School, Hailey, ID. He can be

reached via e-mail at

and images of what we have done with

one local school, check out our Web

site at

Jared Berrett teaches in the Technology

Teacher Education Department at

Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

He can be reached via e-mail at

10 Technology and Children


Web Sites: Integrating Social Studies

and Technology

I’m thinking to myself about what technology is involved in the study of my being a “social being.” Palm pilots, cell

phones, and answering machines come to mind. Jobs like social secretaries and wedding planners help us stay on top

of important things we have to do each day, too.

A calendar would be an example of

a simple technology that helps us

keep track of daily and special events.

Databases and timelines allow us to

locate information about history or

social trends throughout time. Is a

library an example of a technology

that has a structure built to include

a system for filing and organizing

huge amounts of information on

every possible topic? This month’s

technology and social studies topic

was another ever-expanding task.



Access this Web site to find out how

the Smithsonian Museum advises

interviewers to collect stories and

folklore as a way to study how

people lived in the past. They suggest

questions and types of technology to

collect family stories, traditions, and

cultural events.

This page will take you to a collection

of music that shows the cultural

diversity of many people through

music. Would musical instruments be

examples of technology?


It’s a time machine. Click on this

link and you can travel to pages with

maps and short histories of each

geographical region of the world. You

could click on as little as 40 years ago

or as long as 10,000 years ago.


Looking for geological history? Go to

this site. From here you can link to

geologic time periods and find great

pictures of the plants and animals that

lived in that time period. I found some

great dinosaur pictures here.

Christine Nelson

PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)—I

didn’t know what the letters

represented until I looked these up.

Along with PDAs, cell phones have

made a great impact on today’s

society. Is this a good thing? Check

out the following Web sites: How

Stuff Works – http://electronics. and

Cell Phones – http://electronics.

How do we discover how other

people lived? We dig up the tools, or

technology, they used and we try to

determine how people lived. http://

is a great site to let your students

investigate pictures of artifacts found

in an early American settlement.

They can also investigate what future

archeologists would say about the way

we lived. I started on this page – www. – sponsored

by Cobblestone Publishing, and clicked

on links.

Timelines give us an idea of the

important events in relation to time.

Using this page will give you several

May 2005 Technology and Children

timelines for inventions and inventors.

How have these inventions changed

the way people live or work? How

have they changed the way we earn

money and gather information? Give

this Web site a try: http://inventors. Make sure

you scroll the whole page because

there are lots of links and information

to relate to any social studies topic.

NPR has a program called Science

Friday, with a link for kids called Kids

Connection at

kids/. From this page you can choose

from Science Friday topics to research

many topics. You can listen to previous

broadcasts with interesting scientists

and people who are working in these

fields. While listening to or reading

about breaking news discoveries in

science, you will be learning about the

technology needed.

Be sure to check the Web sites the

other authors have suggested as well

as the ITEA site at

for ideas and activities with Web links.

In addition, use your search engines,

type in “social studies” as the search

word, and let the searching begin.

Let me know how you like or dislike

these sites and ones from past issues.

It would help to know what kind of

sites you need, and I can do some of

the work for you.

Christine Nelson is an elementary

technology education teacher at

Hailey Elementary School in Hailey,

ID. She can be reached via e-mail at


BOOKS Bridge Builders to



McCully, E. A. (1994). Crossing the new bridge.

New York: G.P. Putnam & Sons. [32 Pages]

Summary of the Book

After the town’s bridge crumbles into the water, the mayor hires the Jubilatti family to build a new one. However,

the mayor soon learns of an ancient curse stating that the happiest person in town must be the first to cross the

bridge, or disaster will strike. Thus, the mayor and his scribe are determined to find the happiest person to make

the first trek across the bridge. But, it seems as if all the townspeople have something in their lives that makes them

slightly unhappy. In the end, they find that the excitement of the new bridge makes the Jubilatti family and all the

townspeople experience happiness for a few brief moments. This fictional story is a great way to introduce children to

the importance of certain structures in a community and the ways in which these technological innovations can meet

community needs and wants.

Student Introduction

Bridges have been around for

centuries. Historically, they were built

of stone and wood. Today they are

often made of metal and concrete.

Early settlers used bridges to travel

across rivers. Today, we continue to

use bridges to meet our everyday

wants and needs. There are lots of

ways to build bridges that allow safe

travel. This activity causes you to think

about bridges and their importance in

communities. It also challenges you to

think about people’s happiness in your

community—and the world.

Design Brief: Bridge Builders

Suggested Grade Level: 1-3

Design Challenge

Design and make a model bridge

that will allow people and vehicles

to safely travel across it. Make sure

the bridge is large enough and strong

enough for model cars to travel in

opposite directions at the same time.

Think about ways that the bridge

might make people happy. Develop a

group presentation on the structure

of your bridge, materials used, and

ways bridges can help people in your


Jeff Blanchetti

Teacher Hints

1. Start the activity by having

students share experiences

about the many different types

of bridges they have seen

throughout their lives. During

discussion, point out how most

of the products that they use on a

daily basis had to be transported

to them and may likely have

involved the crossing of bridges.

2. Get students thinking about

methods and materials that allow

safe and reliable construction

of bridges. If time allows, have

students look through books to

locate pictures of different types

of bridges and make note of the

materials used and the designs

employed. Explain some of the

basic concepts about bridge

building such as consideration of

compression and tension forces.

3. Give students a selection of

modeling materials for this

task. It is especially helpful

to have flexible things such

as connector or construction

sets (e.g., Lego®, K’NEX, etc.).

However, building blocks, wooden

dowels, cardboard, thin wire,

pipe cleaners, craft sticks, glue,

yarn, etc. may also be used. Large

sketching paper and pencils

will be necessary for the design

aspect, too. Make correlations to

the materials students will use

in developing their models to

the real materials that would be

used (e.g., string is like cables,

cardboard is like wood or metal).

Small weights and a ruler can be

used for testing the durability

of the bridges and for applying

proper measurement techniques.

Use various model vehicles (of

varying size) to test the bridges.

This story and design problem

presents a good opportunity to

talk to the children about many

ways that bridges benefit a

community (cultural, social, and

economic effects of technology).

Engage students in using the

design process to solve this

problem and have them document

their steps in some form of log. Be

sure they evaluate the structure

12 Technology and Children




The Flying Machine


Busby, P. (2002). First to fly: How Wilbur & Orville Wright invented the airplane.

Toronto: Madison Press Books (Scholastic Press).

[32 pages; ISBN 1-895892-27-9].

May 2005 Technology and Children


Summary of the Book

Do you know who invented the first airplane? First to Fly tells the story of the historic lives of Orville and Wilbur

Wright. Throughout the story, readers learn of the perseverance and “unfailing intellect” of two men who had a

passion for all things mechanical. The Wright brothers were entrepreneurs in the truest sense of the word. In addition

to their printing business and bicycle shop, for example, their aviation interests were fueled at The Wright Company

of Dayton, Ohio. This is a very emotional story of two men who continuously had to overcome seemingly impossible

odds to achieve the dream that was inspired by their father when they were young boys. Working against bouts of

typhoid fever, bone jarring collisions from unsuccessful designs, and skepticism from many, the Wright Brothers time

and again beat the odds to eventually become the first in flight.

Student Introduction

Have you ever flown in an airplane?

Were you amazed how quickly you

traveled from one place to another?

Before the invention of airplanes,

there were very few ways to travel

great distances quickly. Automobiles

were brand new and very few people

had them. Travel was limited to train,

boat, horse and buggy, or the bicycle.

People needed a way to move over

great distances at a more convenient

speed. The Wright brothers were able

to solve this problem, but it was not

an easy task.

One of the most important parts of

being an inventor is coming up with

a great idea. If Bishop Wright, Orville

and Wilbur’s father, had not given

them a flying helicopter toy as young

children, would the Wright Brothers

still have invented the airplane? It’s

also important to love your idea

enough to keep working on it. In First

to Fly, we saw the long, hard road that

Orville and Wilbur took to become

famous innovators in the field of


Orville and Wilbur Wright discovered

their first flying machine when they

Josh Pennington

were young boys. The Wright brothers

grew up and made many innovative

discoveries that would impact the

world of flight and transportation

forever. Today, you will make some of

the same discoveries as the Wright

brothers did when they were just

children. Are you ready to try your

inventing skills just like Orville and


Design Brief: The Flying


Suggested Grade Level: 4-5

Design Challenge

Design and construct a flying machine

toy of your own. Your flying machine

can be like a helicopter, airplane, or

glider. Think about the same basic

concepts that the Wright brothers

used in their designs. Come up with a

unique flying machine toy of your own!

Teacher Hints

1. Start the activity by having

students share experiences that

they have had in airplanes or

watching flying machines (i.e.,



air shows, airport visits, hot air

balloons). Engage students in

discussion about the history of

airplanes and flight. Get students

interested in innovation and

invention, thinking about what

it would be like to be Orville or

Wilbur Wright. Consider letting

students bring in some of their

flying machine toys to share.

Provide the students with a

selection of building materials

so that they have the ability to

feel like inventors instead of

just putting pieces together. In

addition to typical modeling

supplies (e.g., cardboard, variety

of papers, glue, paper clips), it is

important to have many different

rubber bands. Rubber bandpowered

vehicles are exciting

to make and fly, and it will be

interesting to see the differences

when various types of rubber

band tensions are used. By

providing items of different sizes

and weights, students will learn

how many factors can affect the

outcome of their designs.

Create a few flying machines

on your own. If you don’t have

design ideas, search the Internet


BO0KS to BRIEFS, cont.



for ideas. Check out some library

books about flying machines.

Many illustrate simple flying

machines and will provide great

building blocks for your unique


Take a “field trip” outside to

give students the opportunity to

demonstrate their flying machine

toys in “real life” conditions.

Encourage good observation skills

so students can analyze their

flying machines and determine

how they might be re-designed to

improve performance.

The Wright brothers were worried

about people stealing their ideas.

Many times they were forced to

leave their work just to insure

that they had patents on their

aircraft designs. Use this as a

springboard for teaching the

children about the process of


in regard to cost, safety, and how

their community may benefit.

Extensions: If appropriate, introduce

the idea that bridges must be

constructed using funding from local,

state, and federal government. This

may open up some opportunities to

discuss political effects of technology.

There are lots of ways to enhance

concepts and skills in core subjects.


obtaining patents. Visit the U.S.

Patent and Trademark Office Web

site at to gather

useful information that will help

you discuss the topic with your

students. Have students create a

patent for their invention. This

will require that the students

make drawings with multiple

views and write up descriptions of

their inventions.

There are many social studies

connections in this book and

design challenges, especially

when you consider the

historical information and social

implications of the Wright

brothers’ inventions. But, there

are also numerous technology

standards to be emphasized in

this problem-solving activity.

Choose one or two technology

benchmarks to make the focus of

Give students a pricing list for all the

modeling materials. Have students

record all materials used in their

model bridge and develop a total

cost for their design. Ask students

to take some basic measurements

of their bridge and include that on

their drawings. Enhance students’

written and oral communication skills

by having them write and tell a short

story about how the lives of relatives,

There are numerous technology content standards (ITEA,

2000/2002) that can be enhanced through this activity,

depending on the way you approach the activity, guide the

classroom discussions, and define the expectations. As one

example, you could focus on Grades K-3 Standard 6 (Benchmark

A) that addresses products being made to meet individual

needs and wants. Standard 4 is also applicable, as

students will develop an understanding of the cultural, social,

economic, and political effects of technology.

this activity. Refer to benchmarks

associated with STL (ITEA,

2000/2002) Standards #7 (History

of Technology) and #10 (Other

Problem Solving Approaches) for



International Technology Education

Association (2000/2002). Standards for

technological literacy: Content for the

study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Josh Pennington is currently a

senior at California University of PA,

studying to be a technology educator. He

can be reached via e-mail at

friends, and professionals within their

community find happiness resulting

from the bridge.


International Technology Education

Association (2000/2002). Standards for

technological literacy: Content for the

study of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Jeff Blanchetti is an undergraduate

student at California University of

Pennsylvania studying to be a technology

education teacher. He can be reached via

e-mail at

14 Technology and Children


Ninth Annual Virginia

Children’s Engineering Convention

The Virginia Children’s Engineering Convention is an annual event that focuses on technological awareness for

students in Grades K-5 and features hands-on teacher activities, best practice discussions, displays of student

work, idea swaps, and vendor displays.

The goals of the convention are

to provide the opportunity for

elementary school educators to share

experiences related to their success in

providing classroom activities that:

Explore how people create, use,

and control technology.

Apply knowledge of mathematics,

science, English, history, and

social science in solving problems

associated with technology.

Use tools and materials to explore


The Virginia Technology Education

Association (VTEA) has sponsored

the convention since its inception in

1997. In recent years, the National

Aeronautics and Space Administration

(NASA) Center for Distance Learning

at Langley Research Center has cosponsored

the event.

The 2005 convention’s opening

general session featured Dr. Gary

Benenson, Professor of Mechanical

Engineering at the City College of New

York and co-author of Stuff That Works!

Dr. Benenson’s address emphasized

the importance of using artifacts

and problems from children’s own

environments as sources for analysis

and design technology.

Linda Harpine

The three-day convention combines

elementary school teachers and

administrators participating in a

variety of concurrent special interest

sessions. These sessions focus on

curriculum strategies that build

upon state standards of learning,

with emphasis on design, problem

solving, and technology experiences.

A popular convention session in 2005,

“Administrators and Instructional

Leaders Panel,” addressed the

“hows and whys” of implementing

a successful elementary design and

technology program. Moderated

by George Willcox, the panel was

comprised of three elementary

principals who discussed the keys to

organizing an elementary children’s

engineering program and then fielded

questions from the audience. While

the majority of presenters are Virginia

The convention emerged as a grass-roots project of educators

at Cooper Elementary School in Hampton, Virginia; state participants

in the National Science Foundation’s Project Update; George

Willcox, Technology Specialist, Virginia Department of Education;

and VTEA. Currently, the Virginia Children’s Engineering Council,

under the auspices of VTEA, coordinates the convention. Additional

support has come from various engineering groups, including the

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) as well as the

International Technology Education Association (ITEA).

May 2005 Technology and Children

The Virginia State Department

of Education’s “Children’s Engineering:

A Teacher Resource

Guide for Design and Technology

in Grades K–5” provides

24 ready-to-use classroom

activities that incorporate the

Virginia Standards of Learning

along with the STL technological

literacy standards (ITEA,


classroom teachers, other educators

from New Jersey, New York, North

Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the

United Kingdom have led convention


The convention concluded with

door prizes donated by supporters

of children’s engineering. Closing

remarks by George Willcox, State

Technology Specialist, Virginia

Department of Education and

Past President of the International

Technology Education Association,

emphasized the importance of every

child studying technology.

Linda Harpine is a Gifted Resource

Teacher at Elkton Middle School in the

Rockingham County Public School District

in Virginia. She is also an Education Consultant

for Children’s Engineering Educators,

LLC. She can be reached via e-mail at



Things Change Fast!


Do your students know what a vinyl

record is? How about a bottle opener?

Some of your younger students might

not know what a VCR is or a floppy

disk. Many of the objects you grew up

with aren’t used much any more, and

your students may have no clue what

you’re talking about or what these

objects are. Try making a time capsule

for your students with photos and

actual objects from your childhood

or the generation before yours. Let

them guess what the objects are

and see how close they come to the

real reason the object was invented.

You can get great ideas from the

Internet, and there are many books

with pictures that you can photocopy.

You can also do a time capsule for the

future that you start with a first grade

class and then open with them at the

end of their last year at your school.

You’ll be amazed at how fast things


Design Activity

Open a time capsule and figure out

what the objects in it are.


• Box with outdated objects or

photos that are numbered

• Paper/pencil

• Large chart

• Markers

Terry Thode



Before introducing the activity,

make the time capsule. You could

divide your class in two groups

and let one group make the time

capsule and the other try to

decipher what the objects are.

You can make the time capsule

yourself and divide the class into

smaller groups to work as a team

to figure out what the objects are.

Hold up each object or photo and

walk among the groups, making

sure all team members can see the

object. Remind student teams to

share only within their groups at


Each group has a recorder who

records (by the appropriate

number) what the group thinks an

object is. Teams may have several

suggestions for an item.

After all items have been seen

and ideas recorded, have a team

spokesperson for each team tell

what different ideas they had for

each object. Record the ideas on

the large chart.

Then identify what each object is

and what its use is. Discuss any

changes made in objects that are

still in use today and talk about

why an item might not be in use



Students can make their own time

capsule for the future. Consider what

items you think will tell about today’s

culture. Put the capsule in a place

in the school that the students can

remember in 5-10 years!

Terry Thode is field editor for Technology

and Children. She teaches at

Hemingway School, Ketchum, ID. She can

be reached via e-mail at

16 Technology and Children





Terry Thode

The development of processes like vacuum forming helped

us mass produce products with consistency.

May 2005 Technology and Children


Line Them Up and Move Them On!


Technological advancements, from

better transportation systems to mass

production, have vastly changed the

way items are produced around the

world. In fact, few advancements in

history have affected this change

as much as the assembly line and

mass production. Before factories

as we know them today, people

made products in their homes from

resources endemic to their area. Each

household specialized in a different

product or craft, usually making one

item at a time. This process is called

custom manufacturing.

As craftspeople began to work

in groups, the first factories and

manufacturing processes were created.

Assembly-line production allowed a

more efficient way to manufacture

items in large

quantities. Mass

production makes it

possible to produce

more items in a

short time. It also

makes products less

expensive to make

and therefore less

expensive to buy.

In this activity, you

and your students

will decide on a

product to make

and then set up an assembly line to

mass-produce the items. If you have

a school, community, or global cause

to support, this is an excellent way for

your students to become involved.

For this activity, the students will

produce a fish or frog window

reflector (see photograph above), but

you could be mass producing cookies

or candy, school stationery, puttogether

kits of Legos or K’NEX, small

packages of school materials, etc. You

can even do an in-class art activity

where the students produce art masks,

hats, or paper airplanes in a mass

production assembly line. The object

is to see how quickly mass production

produces items and also to recognize

that there is still a need for custom

manufacturing for that one-of-a kind


Design Activity

Design and mass-produce a product.


• Old compact disks (CDs) or you

can buy them inexpensively (less

than a quarter)

• Clothespins

Fishing line



Fishing swivels or small safety


Art foam core (color to be

determined by what shape you are


Fish body and fin template (you

and your students can design

them or you can select ones to


Glue guns


Glue-on eyes (available at craft



Hand drill (or you can pre-drill

the holes if you don’t have the

equipment to use at school)

Inexpensive rubber gloves

Safety glasses if available


1. Discuss the difference between

mass production and custom

manufacturing with your students.

Explain what efficiency means in

production and how factories are

usually built where the resources

(raw materials, people, energy,

etc.) are the easiest to get and

most inexpensive. Have students

speculate on what items around

the classroom and that they are

wearing most likely were massproduced.

What might be custom


2. Then talk about the mass

production activity and how an

assembly line works. List the

jobs needed at each step of the

manufacture of your product. For

the fish reflector, for instance, you

might need the following stations:

Body shape cutters (2 people)

Eye backing/eye Gluers (2


Many of the things we use are manufactured in other parts of the world.

Eye backing and mouth cutter

(2 people)

Mouth Gluer (1 person)

Fin cutter (1 person)

Fin Stuffer (1 person)

Hole Driller (1 person) if not


Quality Control (1 person)

CD gluers (2 people)

Clothespin/fish line connector

(2 people)

3. The next step is to figure out

where each person should be

placed in the assembly line so that

the product can be completed in

the proper way and easily moved.

Discuss possible assembly line

orders. Select one to try the first

time. You might consider having

some pre-cut body shapes to get


4. Run the assembly line for five

minutes. Assess any changes in

the assembly line order. Then set

the number of completed projects

you want and start the line

running. Keep track of time for

each completed project from start

to completion.


As a large group, assess the assemblyline

system and how it worked for

the production of your product.

Evaluate the finished product for

quality, consistency, and efficient use

of materials. Ask what parts of the

project could be improved and how

the students would make the changes.

If you were going to sell your product,

how much would it cost in order for

you to make a profit?

If time and materials allow, let each

student make his/her own reflector

using whatever materials and design

they wish. Time them for five minutes

and compare to see if they take more

time for a custom-made product than

through mass production. Discuss

what happened.

Terry Thode is field editor for Technology

and Children. She teaches at

Hemingway School, Ketchum, ID. She can

be reached via e-mail at TThode@svstech.


18 Technology and Children


Ideas for Integrating Technology

Education Into Everyday Learning

Technology transforms the way we interact with everything on our planet…and beyond. Help your students carry

out their responsibilities as global citizens. Try the activities below to engage them in understanding and assessing

the outcomes of our actions on the environment and society.

Language Arts:

• Take an historical journey through

world exploration. Highlight

some of the famous explorers and

discuss what kinds of technology

they used on their expeditions.

How has the technology

of exploration changed—

ships, navigation, mapping,

communication, information

about foreign destinations? How

has our perception of exploration

Krista Jones

changed with the invention of

space travel?

Compare and contrast Columbus’s

New World expedition to a space


What part do robots play in

modern exploration of space,

oceans, or areas too dangerous

for humans?

Producing a weather broadcast using satellite information.

May 2005 Technology and Children


• Research and calculate the

population of your school, city,

state, nation, or world. Chart

growth trends. Check out these

Web sites: http://quickfacts. (local/state);

popclock.html (U.S./world).


• As a class, design a make-believe

location. Decide the type of land

formations, the kind of flora and

fauna that will be indigenous to

your area, and what the human

population will be. Build a model

of the area. Include homes,

businesses, trees, lakes, rivers,

and toy animals. Then design a

large structure complex, like

a bridge or shopping mall,

for your make-believe area.

Discuss what kind of impact

your structure will have on the

environment. How many trees

will have to be cut down or

animal habitats destroyed? Would

people be relocated? How about

noise, pollution, traffic? Do an



environmental impact statement.

Is your structure worth it?

Optional—have teams build their

own and modify their model to

show the impact. http://water.

html (U.S. Environmental Laws)

Discover your individual impact

with the Personal Environmental

Impact Calculator! http://ans.engr.

Observe human impact on the

earth. Take a tech walk through

your neighborhood. Keep notes

about the kinds of human impact

that you see. Discuss the positive

and negatives of each.

Contrast before and after

historical photos of your local

area—try your local courthouse

for photos.

Check out a satellite map of our

earth at night—can you tell where

most of the world’s population


apod/ap020810.html (map)

Social Studies:

• It is crucial for your students to

understand cultural diversity and

have good interpersonal skills if

they are to successfully function

in today’s global society. Give

them some real-world practice

by involving them in a local or

international community service

project. Use a current event as

your guide for choosing the

cause. The project could entail

Every satellite has a footprint area on the earth where its signal is usable.

fundraising or services. In either

case, the focus should be on

using technology to help others,

teamwork, cultural awareness,

and embracing their own

individual responsibility as part

of a larger global community. An

example might be to have a class

or school-wide manufacturing

project where all proceeds

are donated to disaster relief.

Make sure that your students

work through every stage of

the project. Some example

stages: brainstorming, design,

manufacturing, packaging,

delivery, data collecting,

record keeping, accounting,

advertisement, and customer


Our view of the world has been

forever changed by the Global

Positioning System. Find out

how GPS works, and how it has

revolutionized navigation and


Invite a local surveyor or civil

engineer into your classroom—

make sure they bring their cool


Map your own classroom. Divide

the room into measured grids

to determine the scale. Make up

symbols for the furniture and

equipment. Draw in doors and


Krista Jones teaches technology education,

Grades K-2, at Bellevue Elementary

School, Bellevue, ID. She can be reached

via e-mail at

20 Technology and Children

The Space Place

Catching Comet Dust With Aerogel

Watching Scientists a Volcano are from very Space curious. They are fascinated even by specks of dust, especially when the dust is

By Diane Fisher

blasting out of a comet. In the case of comet Wild 2 (pronounced “vilt 2”), scientists went a long

This September, way to Mt. get St. some Helens of that dust. Now they are waiting for it to come back home so they can study it.

erupted. Of course, This mountain they didn’t is an chase active down the comet themselves. In 1999, they sent Stardust, a small unmanned

volcano. spacecraft, When Mt. to do St. the Helens job. speaks,

people listen! Mt. St. Helens is in

Washington Comets are State. icy, Back dirty in objects 1980, Mt. left over from the formation of our solar system. Comets usually orbit the

St. Helens exploded suddenly and

Sun way out beyond the orbits of the nine planets. Sometimes, though, one gets flung into the inner

violently, blowing its whole top off.

The solar ashes system from the as eruption it passes rose Saturn. 11 Saturn’s gravity is so strong that it pulls comets into our solar system so

miles we into can the see air. them. In only As three it approaches days the Sun, dust and gas start to boil off as the comet warms up. As the

they comet reached moves the East towards Coast the of the Sun, the solar wind pushes the dust and gas behind the comet, creating the

United comet’s States—some tail. 3000 miles away!

The current eruption has been much

Stardust’s scientists had to figure out how to capture some of that dust and keep it safe for a trip back

smaller and gentler—at least so far.

Hot to lava Earth. from They deep found inside Earth a strange is material called aerogel that seemed perfect for the job. Aerogel looks

oozing like up smoke, inside except the volcano’s it is a solid. crater. It can be made in different sizes and shapes. It is made of one part silica

Small dioxide earthquakes (the same occur stuff around sand is made of) and 99.9 parts air (or, in space, holes filled with nothing).

the mountain every day due to the

movement When Stardust of lava beneath passed the close surface. by comet Wild 2 in January 2004, dust from the comet was boiling out at

Sometimes gas and ash explode

the speed of a bullet. Aerogel, which was carried in a tennis racket-like grid, would be able to stop the

through to the surface sending small

ash-steam speeding plumes dust several particles thousand without hurting them. The dust particles would bury themselves in the aerogel,

feet leaving high. Even cone-shaped though the tracks volcano leading is right to the particle’s final stopping point. When the Stardust sample

not capsule likely to returns explode to as Earth it did in 1980, January 2006, the cone tracks in the aerogel will lead the scientists right to

people their living prized near pieces the volcano of comet want particles.

scientists to keep a close eye on it.

Read and listen to a rhyming story

All this activity gives scientists a

chance about to learn aerogel more and about the volcanoes. little Stardust

A good, spacecraft safe place at The to do Space this is Place, from


Especially useful would be a

telescope stardust/aerogel.shtml.

that could somehow look

down and see hot spots. ASTER is just

such an instrument.

ASTER (short for Advanced Spaceborne

Thermal Emission and Reflection

Radiometer) flies on an Earth-orbiting


This article






by Diane


images using infrared light. Infrared

K. Fisher. It was provided by the

light is invisible to humans. Although

we Jet cannot Propulsion see this Laboratory, light, ASTER’s California

special Institute telescope of Technology, can. The under hotter a

something contract is, with the the brighter National it Aeronautics appears

in infrared and Space light. Administration. So ASTER can “see”

where the magma (hot, molten rock)

Aerogel is so wispy it looks like smoke. The Stardust spacecraft

is using aerogel to capture and carry comet dust home to Earth.

Image courtesy of NASA / JPL

Hands-on Simple Machines

Activities for your classroom

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