Source: Produced for Teachers' Domain
Two of the defining symbols of modern society are the automobile and the computer. Think about how life would be without them. Cars carry people to and from schools and workplaces, and computers drive just about everything that is automated — from movie listings, to ATM machines, to snack vending machines. In this collection of annotated images featuring objects one might encounter during a typical school day, we are reminded of how different our lives would be without engineering.
Engineering is responsible for a host of technological achievements, from indoor plumbing and the network of roads and rails our buses and trains ride on, to high- performance sporting equipment and space observatories. In fact, nearly all the items we rely on and use for hygiene, nutrition, learning, and recreation were made through engineering. Here is one example and how it came to be:
The microwave: New technologies — or modernizations of existing ones — often begin as attempts to solve specific problems. Sometimes they happen unexpectedly. An American engineer named Percy Spencer was researching radars for military use at the end of World War II. While testing a new vacuum tube that emitted a certain frequency of radio waves, he noticed that the candy bar in his pocket melted. Curious about why this had happened, Dr. Spencer tried another experiment, and placed popcorn kernels near the vacuum tube. When the kernels began to pop, the first microwave oven was born — almost completely by accident.
A recent survey of Americans conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) concluded that a 15th century invention — the toothbrush — is the item most people say they could not live without. This proves that sometimes a great invention doesn't have to be as complicated as, say, fiber-optic technology. What all great inventions have in common is that they improve the quality of one's life. And that's precisely the goal of engineering.
What will be the inventions of tomorrow that we will feel we can't live without? Household fuel cell units that allow us to meet our home energy needs? Seat belts with the strength and stretchiness of spider silk? You can rest assured that engineers somewhere are already working on bringing these ideas to reality.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.