History of Technology/Invention Unit

Activity One

       The whole class will examine and discuss a simple tool.  This activity will introduce the idea that successful technology development depends on previous innovation. TEKS for Technology Applications 3D

       Materials Needed:  small branches (one for each of your classes), whittling knife, clay tablet (wooden frame, packed with modeling clay, smoothed flat across the surface of the frame), images of animals and humans using rough branches, images of writing on clay tablets.

       Method of Instruction: Discussion and Demonstration.

       Show the class a small branch which has been broken off a tree.  It should have ragged edges.  Ask them what this branch could be used for (without changing it in any way).  Accept all answers, then show them images of humans and primates with small branches, digging for grubs and termites and getting honey out of a beehive, etc.  Take out your whittling knife and sharpen one end of the branch to a point.  Ask what it could be used for now.  Accept answers, then ask them what else it could be used for if you also had a clay tablet (bring it out).  Accept answers and demonstrate drawing and writing on the tablet (smooth the clay flat again with a ruler or ...even better... the side of the branch if it's smooth enough).  Show images of cuneiform script written on clay tablets.  Ask the class what technology had to already exist for this to happen (language, use of wood tools, metal tools, writing, etc.).  Ask them what the next step in writing probably was, then the next step, then the next, etc. 

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