Magazine article Technology and Children

Coordinating with Science Education

Magazine article Technology and Children

Coordinating with Science Education

Article excerpt

One of the strongest connections available to technology teachers is the science teacher next door. While most historical technologies, like ships, were developed long before the science underlying them was well understood, today science and technology go hand in hand, one providing the inspiration for the other. Unfortunately, in some schools and districts, coordination is weak.

There is good news, however. We can teach science and technology together, which is actually directly called for in the national science education standards (see Table 1). We can reach our standards for technology and give students an opportunity to build their skills in scientific inquiry. In order to do this effectively, we need to know what the science standards call for, and we need to be clear with ourselves and with our students about the difference between science and technology.

A simple tool that can be adapted for this purpose was created by Marshall Herron, who first used it to look at the reform curricula of the 1960s (Herron, 1971). Today it is called the Herron scale, and here is how it works:

   Problems are divided into three
   components: the question, the
   procedure, and the solution. These
   may be provided by the teacher or by
   the student.

As an example of a level-zero investigation, consider something like: "Follow these steps to confirm that water boils at 100 degrees Celsius." The student has been given the question, the procedure, and the solution by the teacher. A savvy student could write "We got 98 degrees" without even attempting the activity, which is a poor approximation of how technology and science actually work.

An example of a level-two investigation might be "This liquid was found at a crime scene: identify it."

While Herron did not discuss engineering himself, his scale can easily be adapted to engineering problems. Having students design a container that will safely transport an egg is clearly an engineering task, as is a larger-scale project like designing a car that will travel 100 miles on a single tank of gas.

The Herron scale is a quick, easy diagnostic tool that can easily be applied to your own curriculum. …

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