Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
From Sea to Shining Sea

Technology for the Future

Objective: Students compare and contrast past and present technological products to better understand how technology has impacted people's lives. Students will then design a product for the future.

What You Need:

Suggested Time:
1 hour over a period of 1 or 2 days

Building Background:
Share with students the following statement: "Technology is causing the world to shrink." Ask students what they think the statement means. Help students to understand that the statement means that technology allows people all over the world to better communicate with one another. Technology also speeds up modes of transportation and helps peeople work more efficiently. Ask students to brainstorm inventions that have helped communication and transportation (computers, telephone, television, e-mail, Internet, copy machines, satellites, fax machines, planes, high-speed trains, etc.). Discuss with students how people traveled, communicated, and worked long ago, before these products were invented. Then brainstorm ways that people might travel, communicate, and work together in the future. Tell students that they will design products that they think will improve life in the the future.

What To Do:

1. Have students choose a product to invent. You may want to write the following ideas on the board to help students make their selection:

If you have Internet access, students may find the following sites helpful:

Inventure Place: National Inventors Hall of Fame

Learn about hundreds of inventors and inventions through the brief descriptions at this searchable site.

The History of Inventions

This site has an interactive timeline highlighting great inventions throughout history.

American Inventors and Inventions

This Smithsonian site provides images and background information on invention models submitted with patent applications before 1880.

2. Pass out copies of the Technology for the Future worksheet to students. Have students use reference books or other materials to locate information about products of the past or present. Students should also look for images. Then have students draw or paste the pictures in the first two boxes of their worksheets. Finally, have each student draw a picture of his or her own invention for the future in the third box.

Hold an "Invention Convention." Have your students give presentations about their inventions. Invite students from other classes to attend.


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