March 2005 - Vol 9, No. 3 - International Technology and ...

March 2005 - Vol 9, No. 3 - International Technology and ...

A Special Offer for Technology and Children Subscribers

Teaching technology at the elementary level is always a challenge. To show its

support, ITEA is offering two elementary resources at half the already-reduced

member price for the month of March. That’s $12.25 for the CD version of

each publication!

Technology Starters: A Standards-Based Guide provides standards-based

content, activities, and resources for introducing

technology content in selected units of instruction at the elementary

level. The information contained in this guide will assist

teachers in beginning to implement STL. In addition, it can be

used by state, provincial, and local curriculum developers in

creating standards-based curriculum.

Regular member price: $24.50

Half-price CD sale: $12.50!

Models for Introducing Technology: A Standards-Based Guide

provides strategic directions for developing contemporary,

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compatible with Standards for Technological Literacy: Content

for the Study of Technology. Content includes curriculum goals

and objectives, instructional strategies and sequences, content

connections, and sample student assessment strategies.

Regular member price: $24.50

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To order today, call 703-860-2100 and mention code “TC03”!

These prices expire on March 31, 2005!

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MARCH 2005

Vol. 9 No. 3



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

Anna Sumner, President

George Willcox, Past President

Ethan Lipton, DTE, President-Elect

Tom Shown, Director, Region 1

Chris Merrill, Director, Region 2

Dale Hanson, Director, Region 3

Doug Walrath, Director, Region 4

Doug Wagner, Director, ITEA-CS

Rodney Custer, DTE, Director, CTTE

Michael DeMiranda, 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



2 From the Editor

Produced by the

International Technology

Education Association

in conjunction with its

Technology Education for

Children Council

3 Message From the President of TECC


8 Tech Techniques

Switches Come to Life When Alarming Your Door

Jeff LeBaron and Jared Berrett

10 Books to Briefs

Fly It!

Matthew Betler

A Nest to Test

John Testa

12 Resources

Interactive Science and Design:

A Review of Interactive Physics

Kurt Twining and Jared Berrett

13 Web Links

Web Sites: Connecting Technology Education

and Science

Christine Nelson

15 Quick Activities

Forces are Everywhere—Take Your Pick!

Terry Thode

19 TECHNO-Tips

Ideas for Integrating Technology Education

Into Everyday Learning

Krista Jones

21 The Space Place

Watching a Volcano From Space

Diane K. Fisher


4 Article

Science and Technology Working Together

Steve Shumway

6 Activity

Alerts and Warnings!

Ginger Whiting

17 Article

Announcing Three New Addenda to Standards for

Technological Literacy

Shelli Meade and William E. Dugger, Jr., DTE


Technology Education—Putting Science to Work!

There are some of us Tech Ed types who spend a lot of time trying

to explain to others the difference between science and technology

education. I’m not going to try that here! Let’s leave it that technology

education puts science to work for us in ways we can relate to.

Technology and Children is published four times

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© 2005 by the International Technology Education


Here’s an example. I can remember

countless times in science classes,

both in primary and secondary school,

when I rolled marbles or similar

objects on an inclined plane to study

momentum and how forces affected

that object. It was certainly more

fun than reading about momentum

and gravity, but once I left the class I

didn’t think too much more about it.

I definitely didn’t relate it to riding

my bicycle “lickety-split” down the

sidewalk, nor later when I could drive,

think of the car as that marble picking

up speed and in need of a sure way to


Terry Thode

So what can you do to make science

more real to your elementary

students? The answer is easy. Add

the technology education component

to your curriculum and show your

students how we use science to

help us design and build safer and

progressively better devices to help us

and the environment.

is to make that happen! The neat thing

about technology education is that it

integrates with every subject. So what

you need to do as a teacher is take

what you already teach in science and

ask yourself how it is used in today’s

world or how an existing technology

uses the science. If you can’t figure

out a way to make it real for your

students, then it’s just information

passing through and not worth your

time or theirs!

A popular example of a science activity

is to make rockets from kits and

launch them. It’s definitely a blast,

but how does it relate to real rockets?

Here’s the technology education part.

Talk about the method used to launch

rockets and discuss why a rocket

is different from an airplane or jet.

Design a new way to launch rockets

more safely, or because rockets are

expensive, figure out how to reduce

the cost of building them. Another

example is to take a unit on geology

and earthquakes. After studying what

causes earthquakes, have students

research and build structures that

would be more earthquake-resistant.

Students who love studying about

animals can research how technology

is used to track an animal via radio

collars and satellites. Rather than my

earlier example of rolling marbles

on a track, design and test vehicles

with safety features to handle impact

forces and momentum. The list goes

So next we need to get our elementary

teachers excited about adding another

aspect to their busy days—not an

easy task at all. Many school districts

have put science on the “back burner”

while trying to get students to read

better and perform math with some

sense of accomplishment. Technology

education might not even be part of

their vocabulary yet, but our intention CONTINUED ON PAGE 3, COL. 1

2 Technology and Children


Message From the President of TECC

In my last column, I mentioned that elementary teachers tend to be scienceshy.

I also highlighted teacher concerns regarding the inclusion of hands-on

activities. Luckily, this issue of Technology and Children is dedicated to helping

you deliver science instruction to your students in a way that integrates it with


Technology education is activity-rich.

Share this issue with your colleagues

who may need more ideas about

how to teach science through fun

and relevant activities. Terry Thode,

Ginger Whiting, Jared Barrett, and

Sharon Brusic, among others, have

a lot of firsthand experience when it

comes to motivating students to learn

about technology and science at the

elementary school level, and they have

put a lot of work into this issue.

There are a variety of other resources

that would make good companions to

this issue of Technology and Children.

Kids Inventing Technology Series

(KITS) is one example of excellent

support materials for teaching

a variety of science concepts

through technology. You can see

what is available from KITS at the

International Technology Education

Association’s publications Web site

located at


Vincent Childress

Another excellent source of support

for teaching science is the National

Science Teachers Association’s

(NSTA) Web site,

elementaryschool. NSTA has a lot

of activity-related resources. Its

elementary school journal, Science

and Children, is an ongoing means of

support for helping you teach science

to your children.

Do not forget to make your plans

to attend the Technology Education

for Children Council (TECC) sessions

at the annual ITEA conference in

Kansas City. TECC will present the

Mary Margaret Scobey Award and the

TECC Leadership Award at the closing

awards luncheon. You can find out

more information at:

See you in Kansas City.

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


on and on. For me, it’s difficult to

find any science that doesn’t have

technology tied to it. The students see

the technology, but they are missing

the science connected to it. We as

teachers need to help them make that

connection and, in many instances,

understand it ourselves!

You’ll find many resources, links,

and ideas in this Technology and

Children issue showing the technology

education and science connections.

Our regular column contributors and

new writers have outdone themselves,

as you will see. Thank you all!

As always I’m running out of time and

space. Don’t miss the International

Technology Education Association’s

annual conference coming up April 3-5

in Kansas City. See you there!

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.


Don’t miss the


Technology Education

Association’s annual

conference April 3-5

in Kansas City.

See you there!

March 2005

Technology and Children



Science and Technology Working Together

The year was 1780 and the region was Northern Italy. The hot topic, at least among the scientific community, was

a little disagreement between Luigi Galvani, a professor of anatomy at the University of Bologna and Allesandro

Volta, a physicist from Como.

Galvani was especially interested in

a phenomenon that he had recently

observed in his laboratory. While

dissecting a frog held by a brass hook,

Galvani noticed that, as he touched

the nerve of the frog with his metal

knife, the frog’s leg would twitch.

The connection for Galvani was that

perhaps the source of electricity might

be contained within the organism,

which led to his theory of “animal

electricity.” This discovery ultimately

led to discussions with Volta, who was

skeptical of Galvani’s theory. Through

his experiments, Volta demonstrated

that electricity did not come from animal

tissue, but rather that the twitching

was a result of current generated from

the contact of dissimilar metals, and

that the frog leg was only acting as a

detector. Building upon this principle,

Volta constructed the Voltaic Pile

in 1800 by stacking round plates of

copper and zinc separated by disks of

cardboard moistened with salt solution;

the forerunner to what would become

one of the most useful technological

discoveries of the time: the battery.

To see what impact this new

technological device had on the

scientific community, just travel down

the timeline of later scientists and

inventors such as Andre-Marie Ampere

(electrodynamics), Hans Oersted

(electromagnetism), Michael Faraday

(electromagnetic induction), Samuel

Morse (telegraph), Thomas Edison

Figure 1

(light bulb) and Shockley, Brattain, and

Bardeen (transistor). In the labs of each

of these scientists or inventors the

battery was the technological building

block that enabled the discoveries

of new electronics technology and

theories of electricity. In fact, a study

of the history of electricity shows that

technology and science have long

maintained an “enabling” relationship.

The development of new technology

has enabled scientists to continue

their discoveries of electricity, which

in turn led to the development of new

electronic technologies such as the

transformer, light bulb, and electric

motor, which have in turn had a dramatic

impact on the way we live.

Steve Shumway

Standards-Based Activities—

History and Development

According to Standards for Technological

Literacy (ITEA, 2000/2002), one of the

components of technological literacy

is that students at the elementary level

should understand that many inventions

and innovations have evolved using slow

and methodical processes of tests and

refinements (Standard #7: Benchmark

C). Another is that, as people’s needs

and wants change, new technologies are

developed and old ones are improved

to meet those changes (Standard #6:

Benchmark B). To introduce these

concepts to elementary students, a



unit on the history and development

of the battery could be performed.

The students might begin the unit by

recreating Volta’s original experiment.

This can cheaply and easily be

accomplished by soaking a paper towel

in salt water and then placing the paper

between two dissimilar metals as shown

in Figure #1. If you don’t have small

strips of copper or zinc, then a penny

and a nickel will work just fine. You will

also need some type of cheap voltmeter

in order to measure the voltage across

the penny and nickel.

The teacher can review the history of

the battery (Energizer, 2004, RBRC,

2004) with the students and then

challenge them to design a battery

that is environmentally safe and

biodegradable. This is typically done by

allowing students to make their own

batteries out of fruits or vegetables and

metal strips as shown in the picture on

the next page. The teacher or students

can conduct an Internet search on

“Lemon Batteries” to obtain detailed

instructions on how this is done. The

industrial applications of these types of

batteries are limited, but if connected

correctly, these batteries can be used

to light a small LED or power a digital


Finally, students could be allowed

to hypothesize what they think

might happen and then be allowed

to experiment to see if sweet fruits

(i.e., bananas, pears, or apples) make

batteries with higher voltage levels than

sour fruits (i.e., lemons, grapefruits) or

vegetables (potatoes). Using a simple

voltmeter, students can collect and

plot the voltage data in order to draw

their conclusions and determine if their

hypotheses were correct. Additionally,

students might experiment with

4 Technology and Children

different metals and see what effect they

have on the voltage levels or even see

which fruit or vegetable will run a digital

clock for the longest amount of time.

Standards-Based Activities:

Impacts of Technology

Expanding the unit on batteries, the

teacher can also allow students the

opportunity to investigate how the use

of a battery affects the environment

in both good and bad ways and how

batteries need be appropriately recycled

or disposed of to prevent harm to the

environment (Standard 5, Benchmarks

B and C). One approach to teaching

these concepts is to have the elementary

students, along with their families,

perform an inventory of items in the

home that use batteries. It would be

informative for them to see how many

items, such as cell phones, toys, cordless

tools, cars, PDAs and laptop computers,

etc., operate using battery power

(Note: Americans use an average of five

cordless products per day – RBRC, 2004.)

Additionally, students need to

understand the potential negative effect

these items, including their batteries,

might have on the environment. For

example, INFORM, Inc. (2004), an

independent environmental research

organization, has reported that the

improper disposal of cellular phones and

their batteries poses a serious threat

to the environment. These electronic

devices contain toxic substances

including arsenic, antimony, beryllium,

cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc,

with the cadmium from a single cell

phone capable of polluting 158,200

gallons of water. Disposal of cell phone

batteries is difficult because, if burned,

they release toxic dioxins and furans into

the atmosphere that are associated with

certain types of cancer and neurological

disorders, and they also cannot be

discarded into landfills because these

toxic substances can leach into soil and


It is estimated that by 2005, an

estimated 200 million cell phones will be

in use in the United States and that 130

million cellular phones will be discarded

annually in the U.S.

alone (eartheasy,

2004). Additionally,

there are a total

of 500 million

used cell phones,

weighing more than

250,000 tons, that

are estimated to be

currently stockpiled,

awaiting disposal.

This problem is

compounded by the

fact that more than

56% of the American

population still

stores their old cell

phones and over

70% are not aware that cell phones can

be recycled.

Because of their proliferation, the

disposal of electronic devices,

including the batteries in these

devices, is currently one of the hottest

environmental topics around the world.

What better place to educate the public

about the potential environmental

dangers of disposable batteries than

the elementary school? Elementary

students can conduct related research

on the Internet and then design and

develop posters to be placed at schools

and local businesses; or videos and

commercials could be produced to be

aired on local radio and TV as part of a

public awareness program informing the

general public of environmental dangers

and locations where cell phones and

other devices with batteries can be

disposed of. Verizon, Office Depot, and

AT&T are among many companies that

have initiated recycling programs.


The development of the battery

and its impact on our society is just

one example of the long history of

interdependence between science

and technology. Allowing elementary

students to participate in activities in

which they can see this interdependence

will not only increase their technological

literacy but also allow them to visualize

themselves as informed consumers

and future scientists, engineers, and


developers of new technologies:

technologies that will continue to shape

our society and the way we live.


Eartheasy (2004). Office Depot launches

cell phone and rechargeable battery

recycling program. Retrieved January

20, 2004 from


Energizer (2004). History of Batteries.

Retrieved January 20, 2004 from


INFORM Inc. (2004). Calling all cell

phones: Collection, reuse, and recycling

programs in the US. Retrieved

January 20, 2004 from www.

International Technology Education

Association. (2000/2002). Standards

for technological literacy: Content for

the study of technology. Reston, VA:


Rechargeable Battery Recycling

Corporation. (2004). Battery Lesson

Plan. Retrieved January 20, 2004



Steve Shumway is an assistant professor

in the Technology Teacher Education

Program at Brigham Young University in

Provo, UT. He can be reached via e-mail at

March 2005

Technology and Children



Alerts and Warnings!


Building children’s engineering

activities from science lessons is an

excellent way to cement the difference

between science and technology when

teaching children. As children learn

about the natural world around them,

they can be challenged to apply that

knowledge to create items useful to

them. Through this process, children

reinforce the difference between

natural phenomena and the humanmade


Teacher Preparation

1. Teachers should familiarize

themselves with simple series

circuits and homemade switches.

Clear diagrams are available from

S.T.E.P. at Cambridge University

Press. To download these files, go


and download the following files:

21: Electricity: connecting batteries

and bulbs

22: Electricity: connecting wires

23: Electricity: fault finding

25: Electricity: simple circuits 1

26: Electricity: simple circuits 2

27: Electricity: switches 1

28: Electricity: switches 2

2. Think through the various

responses to the brainstorming

activities in Part I. This will

provide you with possible

questions to ask if students

need prompting to take their

thinking beyond bank alarms and


3. Decide if you want to put limits

on materials. For example, you

may want to limit the feet of bell

wire the students use, or the size

and number of batteries they have

available for each system.

Ginger Whiting


Building Background

Plan for this activity to take place

after science lessons on electricity

and building series circuits. Before

attempting the challenge, children

should work in pairs to create circuits

containing sample homemade

switches. Experimentation with

various styles of switches is essential.

An awareness of how various switches

work will allow for more creative

solutions to the activity challenge.

Use the following productive thinking

activities to encourage students to

think of various uses for personal

warning systems. Keep a chart of

responses to each critical-thinking


1. Make a list of many, varied,

and unusual places that have

an alarm system in place to

announce an intruder.

2. Brainstorm the many,

varied, and unusual reasons

that we have various

alert systems throughout

our homes, businesses,

and communities that

have nothing to do with


3. Encourage students to think of

many, varied, and unusual reasons

that they have for wanting a

personal alert system of their


Follow up classroom brainstorming

with a homework assignment. Request

that students make a list of many

varied ways they might use a personal

warning system at home. These

lists will help when they receive the



Design Activity

Everyone wants or needs to be alerted

when certain things are happening.

You may need to be alerted that it is

time to get up in the morning, catch

the school bus, eat dinner, or that your

room has been invaded.

Design Challenge

Design and build a personal alert

system that will help make your life

or the life of someone in your family a

little better. Your system must contain

an electrical circuit with a homemade

6 Technology and Children

switch and be attractive, easily seen or

heard, and be reusable.


• Electrical wire

• Electrical tape

• Batteries

• Christmas tree lights

• Buzzers

• Brass brads/paper fasteners

• Metal paper clips

• Card stock

• Aluminum foil

• Clothespins

• Film canister

• Ball bearings

• Wire strippers

• Scissors, markers, rulers, pencils,

glue, and other general art



Prepare for the challenge by

conducting hands-on science lessons

centering on controlling electricity.

(See Building Background.)

1. Discuss the meanings of

“inventor,” “invention,” and

“innovation” as an introduction to

the challenge.

2. Review the challenge with the

class. Encourage students to:

• Think carefully about what

alarm or alert system they

might want to design.

• Pair with a classmate and

share ideas. Remind the

students to explain why they

want to create the particular

system they have in mind.

• Share ideas with the class. As

students hear ideas from their

classmates, they will begin to

adjust and solidify their own


3. Encourage students to follow the

design process as they design and

build their inventions. Provide

students planning guidance by

asking them such questions as:

• What type of switch would

work best for your system?

• Where do you need to put

the switch in the circuit?

• How much wire will you

need? How will you find out?

4. Children may work individually or

in pairs. If they work in pairs, they

should duplicate the alarm or alert

system so that both students have

one to take home and test.


Students should demonstrate their

inventions for their classmates. Create

a checklist for evaluating the systems

at home. Have families help to test the

system while it is in place. Use a rubric

to rate the system and its usefulness.

Alternative Curriculum Tie-ins

This challenge can easily be integrated

into the curriculum through areas

other than science. Tie the challenge

into English by reading Judy Blume’s

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing aloud

to the class. Have students design

and build an alarm system to keep

Fudge out of his older brother’s room.

Incorporate the challenge into history/

social science lessons when studying

about famous inventors like Benjamin

Franklin or Thomas Edison.

Teacher Hints

The activity was field-tested with

students in Grades 2 though 5.


• Referring to the design loop is

necessary to reinforce the design


• Using a guided portfolio is


• Students with more experience

can create systems using parallel


• 9-volt batteries work best for

producing brighter lights or when

using more than one bulb.

• Covering wire connections to the

battery with electrical tape in two

directions helps keep the circuit


• Speaker wire, split in half, can be

purchased on a spool. Students

can work with it easily.

• Wire strippers that automatically

strip the casing are a must.

Ginger Whiting is with Children’s

Engineering Educators, LLC of Richmond,

VA. She can be reached via e-mail at

Special thanks to Donna L. Smith for

field-testing the activity with her students.

Student comments about the activity are

available at www.childrensengineering.

com. For a print-ready design brief and

guided portfolio of this activity, go to and check

under Ready-to-Use Activities.

March 2005

Technology and Children





Switches Come to Life

When Alarming Your Door


The Tech Techniques section is a

companion to the activity “Alerts and

Warnings” on page 6 of this issue of

the Technology and Children journal.

The Case

It was 5:25 p.m. on a cold winter’s

evening when it happened. Sarah, (age

7) went down the hall to her room to

feed her pet bird. To her dismay, her

bedroom door was wide open, and

the puzzle she had been working on

for the past week was scattered all

over the desk and floor. “DANNY!”

she screamed at the top of her lungs,

as she ran down the hall to find her

mom. It wasn’t the first time Danny

had gotten into her room, and she did

not know what to do. Everything that

she and her mom had tried…even

locking the door…seemed to fail.

She was almost to the kitchen and

very close to tears when she suddenly

had an idea. What she needed was

an alarm! Yes, she had been learning

about electronics and switches in her

technology class at school, and she

could just imagine the look on her

little brother’s face when he came into

her room and was scared

stiff by her very own security


Sarah immediately began

to think about the design

of her alarm circuit and

gathered the materials she

would need. From what she

had been taught at school,

Jeff LeBarron

Jared Berrett

she knew the project would be pretty

simple. As she pillaged around her

dad’s workbench and her mom’s

laundry room she found the basic

materials. She had gathered up some

string, a battery, two metal thumb

tacks, wire strippers, a bit of wire,

a clothespin, a connector for the

battery, a buzzer, some electrical tape,

and masking tape. Her technology

teacher had taught her about how to

fasten wires together by taking the

wire strippers and stripping about

half an inch of plastic off of the wire,

revealing just the little copper wires

inside. She would hold these wires

side by side once stripped (so the

bare metal was showing) and twist

them together. By connecting the

wires, the electrons from the battery

would have a path to flow through.

The trick was to hook up the wires so

that the negative side of the battery

(black wire) went to the negative side

of the buzzer (black wire), through

the buzzer (red wire) connecting to

one side of the switch. From the other

side of the switch, another piece of

six-inch wire would be hooked onto

the other push pins and go back to the

red lead coming off the other side of

the battery.

The switch was a little trickier than

Sarah thought it would be, but by

8 Technology and Children


pushing each pin just a little

ways into the clothespin,

then winding the wire

around the pin and pushing

the push pin further into

the clothspin, it ended up

working great. As soon as

she connected the wire

back to the battery, the

alarm went off. She half

jumped out of her seat and

hoped Danny didn’t hear.

She had to fold a piece of tape in half

on itself and let the clothespin close

down on that tape to get it to stop.

After things were working properly,

she took a little electrical tape and

wrapped the bare wires up again.

Sarah was so excited! She was now

ready to set the alarm on her door.

She went inside her room and used

the masking tape to tape the switch

onto the wall. She moved the wires,

buzzer, and battery to the side of the

door behind the switch. The tape she

had folded over was still in between

the two push pins in the end of the

clothespin. She attached six inches of

string to that tape and then opened

the door and slipped out. She then

closed the door almost all the way

until she could reach the backside of

the door and taped the end of the

string to the door. Now, the alarm

was set. Whoever comes through my

door now, Sarah thought, was in for a

surprise. Hmm…all she needed now

was some bait….“Oh Danny, Danny!”

she cried….

Jeff LeBarron is an undergraduate

student in technology education at

Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

Jared Berrett teaches in the Technology

Teacher Education Department at

Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

He can be reached via e-mail at jared_

Innovation Station - Your Gateway to Children’s Engineering

Please join ITEA’s newest learning community—elementary educators interested in bringing out every student’s creative ability to

design, build, tinker, and construct. Innovation Station was created for teachers who want to get their students actively involved in

learning. No special requirements are necessary other than having a passion for teaching.

Innovation Station (IS) is a teacher’s resource to get answers, learn about new ideas, become aware of “what works” with other

teachers, and much more. Subscribers are welcome to participate in discussions pertaining to teaching techniques that help with

learning about the basics in education, go where standards-based materials are being implemented, and see how others effectively

use manipulative activities that don’t exceed your capability as a teacher.

Expect to find a whole new series of activities that relate to transportation, communication,

energy, environment, and any of the other major technology-oriented fields that are in our

society. Expect to see activities that help to improve teaching science, math, social studies,

reading, and other subjects by getting your students involved in activity-based learning.

Try this new learning community. There is no cost! Join other teachers who are pursuing

excellence in elementary teaching and learning.

Go to to subscribe.

March 2005

Technology and Children






Berenstain, S., & Berenstain, J. (1996). The Berenstain bears fly-it! Up, up, and away!

New York: Random House Books for Young Readers.

[23 pages; ISBN 0-679-87317-1].

Summary of Book

Did you know that inventions are still being made every day? The bear cubs didn’t know this, but they learned how

they can be inventors in this book. When Papa Bear uses a balloon to demonstrate how a jet plane works inside the

Bearsonian Institution, the bear cubs start making paper airplanes and taping balloons to them for propulsion. This

wonderfully illustrated book from the famous Berenstain Bears collection is a great way for students to become

knowledgeable about the basics of flight and to make some connections between science and technology in the

process. Suggestions for making balloon-powered aircraft are included!

Student Introduction

Isn’t it amazing how many inventions

have been created throughout history?

Think about the plane invented by the

Wright brothers and what a huge impact

that had on our society. Fewer people

traveled long distances before the

airplane was invented.

It was not an easy task for the Wright

brothers to invent their plane. They tried

time and time again before they were

actually successful. This is part of being

an inventor. Inventors come up with

ideas and build their solutions. They test

their solutions and change them to make

them better. Now it’s your turn to be


Design Brief: Fly it!

Suggested Grade levels: 1-2

Design Challenge:

Design a paper airplane that is balloonpowered,

just like the bear cubs did.

See how far you can make your vehicle


Teacher Hints:

1. Read the book aloud and have

students repeat the special rhyme,

“All inventions you will find, happen

first in someone’s mind.” Explain

to them that they will be inventing

their own balloon-powered vehicles.

Encourage students to use their

creative minds to invent a balloonpowered

vehicle that can travel as far

as possible.

2. Have students make their vehicles

from paper, balloons, and tape. If

students cannot figure out a way to

Matthew Betler

make a vehicle and they are getting

frustrated, provide some resources

that will help them generate ideas.

Try to encourage students to

experiment with new designs rather

than just making a design that they

already know about. Remember that

this book includes some ideas.

3. When all students have possible

solutions built, take the class outside

for testing. Make sure you have extra

balloons and tape in your pocket

because some balloons will pop

and the tape won’t work on others.

Prepare students for the possibility

that their solutions won’t work and

remind them that inventors often

must redesign—and remake—their


4. Use this opportunity to reinforce

some basic science concepts. Have

students predict which solutions will

work the best, report their findings,

and draw conclusions. Observations

can be measured and recorded.

Perhaps class data can be graphed as

well. This activity also lends itself well

to teaching concepts of potential and

kinetic energy.

5. Use this opportunity to make

connections to history, too. Talk to

students about the Wright brothers

and other air-travel-related inventors

(e.g., dirigibles). Gather and show

some library books related to this

topic. Talk about what scientific

understandings had to be known in

order for those inventions to occur.

6. Choose one or two technological

literacy standards (ITEA, 2000/2002)

to focus upon in this activity.

Depending on your grade level and

emphasis, you can choose from a

variety of topics. For starters, check

out the energy and power (Standard

#16) and transportation technology

(#18) standards and benchmarks for

some ideas that would be easy to

relate to this activity.


International Technology Education

Association. (2000/2002). Standards for

technological literacy: Content for the study

of technology. Reston, VA: Author.

Matthew Betler is an undergraduate

student at California University of PA studying

to be a technology education teacher. He

can be reached via e-mail at bet1864@cup.


10 Technology and Children

A Nest to Test



Seuss, Dr. (1940). Horton hatches the egg.

New York: Random House.

[55 pages]

Summary of Book

The book begins by showing a mother bird sitting on her precious egg in her nest. The mother becomes tired

of sitting on her egg and wants a vacation, so she finds a faithful friend to fill in for her. She recruits Horton, an

elephant, to sit on her egg while she goes off to play. While the mother flies off and intends never to return, Horton

is stuck sitting on the nest to keep the egg warm for 51 weeks! In the end, Horton and the egg’s mother argue over

whose baby it is once it hatches. When the egg finally cracks, it is an elephant with wings. Although this book is

fiction, it is based on nature and can provide an interesting springboard to discussing this natural phenomenon.

Student Introduction

Have you ever wondered how an egg

hatches? Do you know what happens

and how long it takes? A mother bird’s

natural instinct is to nest on her eggs.

It is a natural process that has been

happening since the beginning of time.

A mother bird will sit and protect her

eggs as long as it is necessary, and when

they hatch she will take care of her


But what if a mother bird got lost?

Or…what if the mother bird could not

remember where she built her nest?

What if mother bird was captured and

sent to the zoo? Who would sit on her

nest? How would her young eggs hatch?

Design Brief : A Nest to Test

Suggested Grade Level: K-3

Design Challenge:

Pretend you are a mother bird. Design

and create your own nest. Construct a

safe nest to protect one egg just like a

mother bird might do.

Teacher Hints

1. Start by asking the students if they

have ever seen a real live bird/chicken

nest. If they have, have them make

drawings of the nests they have seen.

Also provide additional resources.

Display some library books on this

topic. Research nests on the Internet

John Testa

and print out pictures to share and


2. Have students brainstorm ideas

before building solutions. Students

should be thinking about what

materials to use and considering

various factors such as the softness

of the material, the ease of use, the

availability of the materials, material

properties under heat (about 100° F),

etc. Have students draw their designs

using crayons or colored pencils.

Encourage them to design a unique

nest, not simply replicate something

seen in nature. Can a human-built nest

be better perhaps?

3. If possible, test these nests using

real eggs and an incubator. After all

nests are complete and analyzed

for general safety, give students

fertilized eggs to put in their nests.

Place the nests in the incubator and

watch them for about 20 days to

observe what happens. Have students

keep a science log to record their

observations and findings.

4. Decide in advance if students should

work alone or in pairs. Your resources

might dictate which is better for your


5. You can relate this activity to various

STL technological literacy standards

(ITEA, 2000/2002). For example,

Standard 1 (Benchmark A) states that

“The natural world and human-made

world are different” (p. 24). Here you

can show the difference between

what is human-made (the incubator)

and what is part of Mother Nature (a

mother bird sitting on her nest). Also

discuss natural materials (e.g., mud,

straw) versus human-made materials

(e.g., string, paper) used for nests.

This same concept can be addressed

under Standard 1 (Benchmark C)

“Things that are found in nature differ

from things that are human-made in

how they are produced and used” (p.

25). Use these standards to connect

and explain the interrelatedness of

science and technology.


International Technology Education

Association. (2000/2002). Standards

for technological literacy: content for

the study of technology. Reston, VA:


John Testa is an undergraduate student

at California University of Pennsylvania

studying to become a technology education

teacher. He can be reached via e-mail at

March 2005

Technology and Children



Interactive Science and Design

A Review of Interactive Physics


An integral part of making connections

with science and technology includes

understanding the basic principles

of physics. Interactive Physics is a

powerful tool for discovery learning

that helps students visualize and

learn abstract concepts. This software

program is powerful enough to keep

a high school student engaged, yet

simple enough to allow an elementary

school student to experiment. It uses

technology to make seemingly difficult

science concepts come to life.

The program is available from MSC

Software. It comes with a printed

booklet of 34 curriculum lessons

and an accompanying CD. Though

the prepared curriculum can be a

big help for getting students and

teachers started with very specific

simulated experiments, as a design

tool this software allows students to

construct their own technology and

test simulation of the known scientific


Learning the program is simple.

Students have a basic set of

drawing tools at their disposal

and, after drawing the objects, the

user can place forces of motion or


conditions on

them. Over

150 different


are available.

These include






and energy in

either metric or

English units.

Users can create

ropes, springs,

dampers, pulleys, slot joints, linear

actuators, and rotational motors. You

can hear and measure sound volumes,

frequencies, and Doppler effects.

Graphics can be attached to objects,

and the results can be viewed in

numbers, graphs, or animated vectors.

Kurt Twining

Jared Berrett


In elementary school, students

typically do not get a chance to go

into a lot of depth in the area of

physics; however, there are many

science, technology, engineering, or

math (STEM) concepts required. This

tool helps teach core science concepts

like: 1) understanding the relationship

and attributes of objects in the solar

system—sixth grade, 2) understanding

the relationship between the force

applied to an object and resulting

motion of the object—third grade,

and 3) understanding that objects

near Earth are pulled toward Earth

by gravity—third grade (www.uen.


The Interactive Physics software

allows students to explore the solar

system or Earth’s gravitational pull

with three different selections for

gravity: none, vertical, or planetary.

Students can draw a solar system

and experiment with different bodies

orbiting around each other. The

included workbook contains preformulated

lessons on the relationship

of the Sun, Mercury, and the Earth in

the solar system and the gravities on


12 Technology and Children


Web Sites: Connecting

Technology Education and Science

Believe it or not, it was tough to pick out just a few of the excellent Web sites that connect technology education

and science. There are many, so I’m heading to a few of the ones that really interested my students and me. Just

remember that every site will link you to many more, so enjoy!

Have you ever wanted to integrate

teaching about animals in the ocean

with the technology that enables

you to actually see them in the wild?

National Geographic has an amazing

Web site that lets you do all of the

above and more! At this site, students

get the opportunity to pick one of five

animals, learn about them, and build

a technological instrument to actually

video the animals in the deep. Along

the way, experts give helpful hints

and clues to help students make wise

decisions. At the end, the students get

to watch their “new” technology in

action, seeing a video of the animals

in the deep. During the whole process,

the students learn all about the

animals as well as realize the various

complexities and questions related to

building the technology with the least

amount of hindrance to the animals,

yet with the most efficiency. Check it



For lower elementary science, use

the computer to design, build, study,

and learn science through interactive

simulations that are cute and easy to

understand. Choose the toy chest icon

and play a few games involving science

and technology.

This is for upper elementary level

science and technology. The topic is

the Hubble Space Telescope. From this

page find out about the science being

applied through complicated and

simple technology. Click on “Fun” at

the top of the page and your students

can do various hands-on activities

revolving around the Hubble.

Make a handheld model of the Hubble.

It’s a great project for kids and parents

to do at home together. They will need

a printer and some usual household

tools. It includes a shopping list for

the parts, which are easily purchased

at a hardware or craft store.


Christine Nelson

This site has been mentioned in

previous issues, but we may need a

reminder and offer it to new readers of

Technology and Children. Find out about

building big and the science forces

that can help or destroy a structure.


Click on any of the 20 greatest

achievements of the twentieth century

and find out how these inventions

changed our lives. How has science

and technology changed our lives?


Digital pictures are so widespread

now that it’s hard to buy anything

that doesn’t take a picture. This

Web site explains how the printer

uses very basic colors to make all

of the different colors needed to

make today’s pictures look like real.

It’s interactive, as students try to

match colors by mixing percentages

of basic colors. In addition, the Web

site interactively plays with the laws

of light, including the concept of

parallax, shadows, and concave and

convex mirror images. There are more

fun and interactive things to do.

I had to put this one in here—sorry.

Did you ever wonder how the singing

fish sings, how he moves, and how he

knows when somebody is standing

there? I think it’s quite a mix of

science and technology. And, it makes

you laugh! While you’re there check

the other topics covered on the How

Stuff Works site. You’ll find loads

of information to fit you and your

students’ research questions.


This site has articles to read about

what’s happening with robotics. One

article about new Disney rides tells

about smart electromagnets that can

sense the speed and adjust themselves

appropriately. Wow!


The physics question on this

interactive site is: How many bags

of gunpowder does it take to get a

cannon ball to orbit the earth? Try

different amounts, and the computer

March 2005

Technology and Children


will simulate what happens. An

explanation is offered at the end.


Sign in as a teacher and you can have

your whole class complete a Mars

mission. You get briefed on a mission

and build a virtual rover according

to specifications and science needs.

Pretty cool and it’s free.

I went to the Netscape Search page

and chose science. There were so

many sites to visit that I could not get

to them all. This is a great place to

start for any topic you need to use in

your classroom. Kids love this subject

and so do we!

Christine Nelson is an elementary

technology education teacher at

Hailey Elementary School in Hailey,

ID. She can be reached via e-mail at

Technology Education for Children Council

Sessions at ITEA’s Kansas City Conference

Sunday, April 3, 2005

11:00am – 11:50am

It’s All In the Design

Improving Elementary Student

Performance through D&T

1:00pm – 2:50pm

Children’s Engineering

Integrating the Communication Arts

via Children’s Engineering

3:00pm – 3:50pm

Building Technological Literacy into

Your Elementary School

Technological Understandings for

Students in Grades 5-6

4:00pm – 4:50pm

Kindergarten TECH-nections





Monday, April 4, 2005

11:00am – 11:50am

Elementary Design & Technological

Idea Exchange

Primary Technology Teacher

Education: It’s Elementary!


TECC Business Meeting

3:00pm – 4:50pm

Oh My, She Ate A Fly!

Technology Standards and

Elementary Education in Ohio

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

9:00am – 10:50am

Hands-on Science and Technology in

Grades 4-5


each of the planets with relation to

the gravity on Earth.

Concerning force, there are several

lessons about Newton’s laws of

physics. One such lesson allows

students to change the mass of

an apple in the Newton’s apple

experiment and see the difference

in the speed at which it falls to the

Earth. In addition, users can conduct

simple demonstrations by drawing

shapes, adjusting their velocity paths,

and running a simulation to see how

the objects move in reaction to the

forces applied. The program can apply

three levels of air resistance, and other

variables can be adjusted to simulate

different conditions.


This software is a great educators’

tool. Teachers interested in allowing

their students to experiment

and design will witness powerful

learning opportunities unfold. The

workbook includes aids for those

with a more structured approach by

helping students better understand

the difficult concepts of science,

technology, engineering, and math.

The software is available on both

platforms, but the Mac version will

only run on Mac OS 9x. See www. for more


Kurt Twining is an undergraduate

student in technology education at

Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

Jared Berrett teaches in the Technology

Teacher Education Department at

Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

He can be reached via e-mail at jared_

14 Technology and Children


Forces are Everywhere—Take Your Pick!


In these “mini” activities, you will see

the recurrent theme of forces and

how they affect the design, structure,

and testing of everything from

airplanes to tennis balls. In the typical

elementary science curriculum, forces

are studied separately and usually with

simple machines. The problem is that

students don’t make the connection

that forces are everywhere and affect

everything! So, using that idea, here

are some ways you can teach your

science content using technology

education integration. Elementary

students need to have hands-on

activities along with the minds-on

kind of experiences to make the

learning stick. To make that work for

Testing the car

you here are several easy ideas

that require a minimum of

preparation but will bring home

the science and technology to

your students. Remember, it

is not just building something

that makes it technology

education—it’s about analyzing,

redesigning, choosing the right

resources and materials for

building, and lots of discussion!

Let’s get going!

Terry Thode

Forces and How They Affect

Objects That Students Use or

See in Everyday Situations

Do a class or individual design

of a car with the best safety

features. Build the car from

plastic bottles or milk cartons,

place a Lego person in it as the

driver, and test it. What changes

will you make to keep the

driver safer from impact forces?

Connect learning to bicycles.

What safety features should a

bicycle have? What changes

would you make to today’s

bicycles to make them better

and safer?

Studying the Bernoulli Principle

What forces act on an airplane so it

can fly? Use a hairdryer to show the

Bernoulli Principle and how it causes

lift on a piece of paper. What does

it mean to be aerodynamic? Design,

build, and test paper airplanes or

gliders to see how lift, drag, thrust,

and gravity work. What other

transportation devices have drag

forces acting on them? How can you

reduce drag or overcome it?

How can you change the way a ball

bounces and why would you want to?

Can you figure out a way to change

the golf ball or a basketball so you

can control it better? What forces are

working on that ball as you bounce it,

catch it, throw, or hit it? Would you

need different materials?

Here are possible materials you might put in a Scrounge

Box to keep handy for all activities: Plastic bottles, recycled

milk cartons, marbles, scissors, cookie sheet, cotton balls,

glue guns, paper clips, tape, glue, paper, hair dryer, markers,

pipe cleaners, straws, flashlight or laser pointer, building

kits (K”NEX, LEGO, Fisher Technics,etc.), string, craft sticks,

consumables such as paper towel tubes, paper plates, cardboard,

piece of scrap wood (8 feet long x 1 foot wide) to use

as a track.

Simple Machines

Instead of just talking about what

simple machines are, have the

students use them in another project

that shows you they understand their


Working in teams, design, build, and

test a Rube Goldberg contraption

using a minimum of six simple

machines in the design. What

materials will work best for building?

March 2005

Technology and Children


Building a Simple Machine

What will your structure to support

the simple machines look like and how

will you make it stable? How do you

best fasten cardboard to wood? How

do you make it work?

Discuss boat designs and drag forces.

Design, build, and test a boat made

from a plastic bottle or milk carton

that floats. Design a way to pull it

through the water using a pulley

system. Note: You can use a rain gutter

for a water track, or if you don’t have

a water track, put wheels on the boats

and make them land yachts!

Earth Science

Earthquakes and volcanoes are natural

occurrences that we can’t stop, but we

can use our technology to alert us and

help us make better decisions on how

to counter some of the forces at work.

Volcanic activity can be monitored

by using a laser system to measure

movement or growth of a certain

area. Design a system to monitor

the growth of a volcano. Use a

laser pointer and mirror to set up a

reflection system.

Design a seismograph device that

you could use to test vibrations

from an earthquake.

Build and test a structure in

different soils such as sand, gravel,

dirt, or rock to see what happens

to structures in each setting.

(Use a cookie sheet with

marbles freely moving in it.

Place another cardboard sheet

on top of the marbles to act

as the base for your structure.

Move the cookie sheet forward

and back and in side-to-side

movements.) How would you

change your design to fit the

soil best? What materials

should you use for a particular

soil? How high should your

building be? What happens

if you put buildings with the

same height too close together?

Do buildings of different heights

vibrate differently? How would you

design a city that was near an

earthquake fault?

Design and build a bridge to

span an area with high canyon

walls. What forces would

work on that bridge? What

types of bridges or bridge

shapes would work for that

site? Check out the NOVA

site (

bridge/) for bridges and learn a

lot interactively!

Energy—What’s New?

Research hybrid cars and other devices

that use alternative energies instead of

fossil fuel. Check out he Lawrence Hall

of Science Web site (www.lhs.berkeley.

edu/kids//) for an interactive car

comparison activity that lets students

Studying Earthquake Forces

explore hybrid engines comparing

MPG, speed, and weight in an online


Design blades for a rotor and test it.

Use a fan to see how efficient your

design is. Why don’t we use more

wind energy? How could we design

a system to make wind energy more


These ideas are just a few that will

get you and your kids exploring the

Science and Technology connection.

Be sure to check out the Techno-Tips

column in this issue for more ideas

and ways to integrate technology and


Building a Bridge

Did you know that technologists

and scientists

are trying to change the

size of the tennis ball

to make the ball harder

to hit for the players?

That will make for more

volleys, thus making the

game more exciting for


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


Announcing Three New Addenda to

Standards for Technological Literacy

In April 2005, the International

Technology Education Association

(ITEA) will introduce three new

addenda to the technological literacy

standards documents that will provide

concrete tools for making technology

programs standards-based:

Realizing Excellence: Structuring

Technology Programs

Developing Professionals: Preparing

Technology Teachers

Planning Learning: Developing

Technology Curricula

These new addenda are designed to

work together with and complement

the first addendum to the

technological literacy standards, which

was introduced in March 2004:

Measuring Progress: A Guide to

Assessing Students for Technological


Standards for Technological Literacy

(STL) (ITEA, 2000/2002) provides the

content for technological studies.

Advancing Excellence in Technological

Literacy (AETL) (ITEA, 2003) provides

companion standards for student

assessment, professional development,

and program enhancement. However,

neither STL nor AETL contain specific

strategies. Feedback from several

states in 2004 indicated the need for

additional help to achieve the vision of

the standards (Meade & Dugger, 2004).

The ITEA Addenda to Technological

Literacy Standards Series will detail

the planning process involved as well

as actions that educators can take to

achieve technological literacy in the


Shelli Meade

William E. Dugger, Jr., DTE

Realizing Excellence:

Structuring Technology


This addenda publication is about

programs for the study of technology.

Realizing Excellence: Structuring

Technology Programs is crucially needed

to help teachers and administrators

understand the scope of standardsbased

reform. Realizing Excellence may

be considered the general guide to the

other addenda documents, although

users will need to access the other

addenda to consider the specifics of

the program component they cover.

Realizing Excellence reinforces the need

for teachers, administrators, and the

community to work together towards

standards-based reform. It challenges

these collaborators to engage in

action planning that includes the

development of mission statements,

short- and long-term goals, and

strategic planning that both assigns

responsibilities and incorporates

a realistic time frame. Moreover,

Realizing Excellence provides a

“snapshot” of what a model standardsbased

technology program looks like

by describing common characteristics.

Developing Professionals:

Preparing Technology Teachers

As AETL indicates, the most important

factor affecting the quality of any

technology program is the teacher.

Developing Professionals: Preparing

Technology Teachers will provide

guidance to those seeking professional

development as well as those

providing it, at both the pre-service

and in-service levels. For teachers, this

addenda document will focus on the

need to develop, pursue, and update

a personal plan for professional

development. Developing Professionals

will also guide those who provide

pre-service and in-service in a variety

of forums—including workshops,

seminars, conferences, and within the

context of university- and college-

March 2005

Technology and Children


ased technology programs—to

become standards-based.

Planning Learning: Developing

Technology Curricula

Planning Learning: Developing Technology

Curricula is a user’s guide to standardsbased

K-12 technology curriculum.

It is designed to help teachers and

other curriculum developers in this

process. Planning Learning presents a

recommended, step-by-step approach

to planning, developing, selecting, and

evaluating a model curriculum for the

study of technology. As it is closely

aligned with the backwards design

model outlined by Grant Wiggins

and Jay McTighe (1998)—with some

modification to that process—the

curriculum guide is closely aligned

with the approach for student

assessment that is outlined in the

addendum entitled, Measuring Progress.

Measuring Progress: A Guide

to Assessing Students for

Technological Literacy

Measuring Progress: A Guide to Assessing

Students for Technological Literacy is a

resource for teachers to use as they

plan and implement standards-based

student assessment. It provides a

step-by-step approach to standardsbased

student assessment. While the

approach is closely aligned with the

backwards design model outlined by

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998),

it includes some modification to that

process that allows the approach to be

applied to many levels of the program,

whether at the course level, unit level,

or lesson level. One user-friendly

aspect of Measuring Progress is the

information it provides about a variety

of assessment tools and methods.

Each tool or method is presented on

a separate page with a description,

guidelines for use, and lists of

advantages and disadvantages.

Addenda to the Technological

Literacy Standards Series

With increased support for

educational standards, teachers and

other educators need resources

to help them engage in standardsbased

reform. The Addenda to the

Technological Literacy Standards

Series are intended to provide

such resources. The four addenda

documents are designed to work both

independently and as a set. They are

part of the standards package, and

hopefully they will be placed alongside

STL and AETL in educators’ bookcases.

As always, ITEA welcomes feedback

on each addendum with the goal of

continually improving the professional

development tools it provides to

those concerned with the pursuit of a

technologically literate citizenry.


ITEA. (2000/2002). Standards for

technological literacy: Content for

the study of technology. Reston,

VA: Author. Retrieved January

12, 1004, from www.iteawww.


ITEA. (2003). Advancing excellence

in technological literacy:

Student assessment, professional

development, and program

standards. Reston, VA: Author.

Retrieved January 12, 2004, from


ITEA. (2004). Measuring progress: A

guide to assessing students for

technological literacy. Reston, VA:


ITEA. (2005). Developing Professionals:

Preparing technology teachers.

Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2005). Planning learning:

Developing technology curricula.

Reston, VA: Author.

ITEA. (2005). Realizing excellence:

Structuring technology programs.

Reston, VA: Author.

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

Understanding by design.

Alexandria, VA: Association for

Supervision and Curriculum


Shelli Meade is the Assistant Project

Manager and Editor for ITEA’s Technology

for All Americans Project. She can be

reached via e-mail at meades@itea-tfaap.


William E. Dugger, Jr., DTE is

the Director of ITEA’s Technology for All

Americans Project. He can be reached via

e-mail at

18 Technology and Children


Ideas for Integrating Technology

Education Into Everyday Learning


hrough science we discover and with technology we adapt. Hand in hand, these tools help us to explore,

understand, and change the world around us. Use the activities below to let your students try their hands at

scientific discovery and innovation!

Language Arts

• Research and explore the great

discoveries of some of our most

famous scientists. Brainstorm

how those discoveries affect us

today. Have the students produce

an historical “news broadcast.”

Then have them write the video

script and role play as the scientists

that they have studied. For an

extension, have the students

speculate what our world would

be like today without some of

these scientific discoveries.


• Math-Science-Tech—they are

virtually inseparable. Incorporate

math application into all of

Discover how wind turbines work at

your projects. Measure time,

temperature, and how high, fast,

and far things go. How much

do things weigh? How much

weight can they hold? Calculate

and average the test times and

speeds. Separate variables, record

and graph the data. Don’t forget


Krista Jones


• Anything to do with space is

an exciting and relevant way

to introduce science concepts.

The Mars Rovers are amazing.

Have the students learn about

robotic rovers and telemetry,

and then have them try it out

themselves. If you don’t have a

wireless robotic rover handy, use

a remote-controlled car with a

wireless camera strapped to the

top or just have the students

build rovers with Legos or other

building tools. To make it more

real, you can have your kids try

out the virtual rover pilot training

at http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.


• Explore the Cassini/Huygens

mission. Have the students design

and build their own probe out of

“junk.” Include these questions

as part of their design brief:

Where would you send it? What

is its purpose? What kind of

scientific tests will it perform?

It’s a probe…It’s a capsule…It’s an


March 2005

Technology and Children



What kind of technological

instruments are needed for the

tests? How will it communicate

with earth? What is its source

of power? As an extension, have

the students create “discovered

information,” and speculate how

these discoveries will affect our

current scientific theories. A

great site that actually explains

all of the instruments on Cassini

and Huygens is



• Design and build the classic “Egg

Drop Container.” Discuss its

similarity to a probe’s drop.

• Examine different types of natural

power sources. Have the students

experiment with solar, hydro, and

wind energy. They can build their

own windmills/turbines, work

with solar panels, and make water


• Recently, our own planet has been

showing its dynamic personality.

Learn about tsunamis and

earthquakes: how they work, how

they’re tracked and predicted,

how scientists determine the

magnitude and epicenters.

Discuss computer modeling,

simulation, and warning systems.

Design quake-resistant structures.

Check out Internet resources:

Mov/DART_04.swf or


Social Studies

• Discuss ways in which people have

become dependent upon tracking

and forecasting technology to

guide their daily lives.

Krista Jones teaches technology education,

Grades K-2, at Bellevue Elementary

School, Bellevue, ID. She can be reached

via e-mail at

Model an earthquake at


Make your own

seismograph at




Learn about our changing earth at

20 Technology and Children

The Space Place

Watching a Volcano From Space

Watching This a Volcano September, from Space Mount Saint Helens erupted. This mountain is an active volcano. When Mount

By Diane Fisher Saint Helens speaks, people listen! Mount Saint Helens is in Washington State. Back in 1980,

Mount Saint Helens exploded suddenly and violently, blowing its whole top off. The ashes from

This September, Mt. St. Helens

erupted. the eruption This mountain rose 11 is an miles active into the air. In only three days they reached the East Coast of the United

volcano. States—some When Mt. 3000 St. Helens miles speaks, away!

people listen! Mt. St. Helens is in

Washington State. Back in 1980, Mt.

The current eruption has been much smaller and gentler—at least so far. Hot lava from deep inside Earth

St. Helens exploded suddenly and

violently, is oozing blowing up inside its whole the top volcano’s off. crater. Small earthquakes occur around the mountain every day due

The to ashes the from movement the eruption of lava rose beneath 11 the surface. Sometimes gas and ash explode through to the surface

miles sending into the small air. In ash-steam only three plumes days several thousand feet high. Even though the volcano is not likely to

they reached the East Coast of the

explode as it did in 1980, people living near the volcano want scientists to keep a close eye on it.

United States—some 3000 miles away!

The All current this activity eruption gives has been scientists much a chance to learn more about volcanoes. A good, safe place to do this is

smaller from and space. gentler—at Especially least useful so far. would be a telescope that could somehow look down and see hot spots.

Hot lava from deep inside Earth is

ASTER is just such an instrument.

oozing up inside the volcano’s crater.

Small earthquakes occur around

the ASTER mountain (short every for day Advanced due to the Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) flies on an Earthorbiting

of satellite lava beneath named the Terra. surface. ASTER makes images using infrared light. Infrared light is invisible to


Sometimes gas and ash explode

humans. Although we cannot see this light, ASTER’s special telescope can. The hotter something is, the

through to the surface sending small

ash-steam brighter plumes it appears several in thousand infrared light. So ASTER can “see” where the magma (hot, molten rock) is close to

feet the high. surface Even though and may the be volcano ready is to erupt. Also, just as we see different colors of visible light, ASTER sees

not different likely to explode colors of as infrared it did 1980, light, depending on the material it is looking at.

people living near the volcano want

scientists to keep a close eye on it.

You can see ASTER images of Mount Saint Helens and other volcanoes at Just click

All this on “Image.” activity gives scientists a

chance to learn more about volcanoes.

A good, safe place to do this is from

What would you look like in

space. Especially useful would be a

telescope infrared that light? could To somehow get an idea, look go

down to and the see Space hot Place spots. at ASTER spaceplace. is just

In this ASTER image

such an instrument.

of Mount Saint Helens, and play the Infrared

the dark areas are

Matching Game.

ASTER (short for Advanced Spaceborne

colder than the bright

areas. The bright area

Thermal Emission and Reflection

inside the crater is

Radiometer) flies on an Earth-orbiting

where hot magma is

satellite named Terra. ASTER makes

This article was written by Diane

rising near the surface

images using infrared light. Infrared

of the lava dome.

K. Fisher. It was provided by the

light is invisible to humans. Although

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California

we cannot see this light, ASTER’s

Institute of Technology, under a

special telescope can. The hotter

contract with the National Aeronautics

something is, the brighter it appears

and Space Administration.

in infrared light. So ASTER can “see”

where the magma (hot, molten rock)

Image courtesy



this out


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