Technological Connections in Your Neighborhood
Adapted from People, Space, and Time: The Chicago Neighborhood History Project (1986)
Gerald A. Danzer and Lawrence W. McBride
This lesson introduces students to the fact that their communities and homes are part of a global technological system. Two hallmarks of the global system are technological and economic interdependence. Increasingly, nations are forming agreements to promote trade and the exchange of technology in various regions of the world. NAFTA and the European Union are two such recent examples. The lesson begins with map and globe activities leading to a discussion of the global village concept and the theme of interdependence. As the lesson continues, students use a handout to explore how the local economy is connected to a global economy. Students then use a second handout to survey household items in order to understand how their household contains technology and other resources from around the world.
1. Discuss the global context for the exchange of scientific information, technology, and innovation.
2. Technological interdependence:
Note how the local economy is part of worldwide technological system.
Illinois Learning Standards
15.A. Understand how different economic systems operate in the exchange, production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
15.E. Understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy.
I. Introduction: Trace land, water, and air routes
A. Use a local map to trace routes via automobile from the neighborhood to the city's airports, ports, and train stations, or from a small town to an AmTrak station or the nearest regional airport.
II. Key vocabulary terms:
A. System—An arrangement of things so related or connected as to form a unity or whole
III. Global Village: Some Dimensions
A. Media contact—Reading newspapers, watching television, listening to the radio
abroad; membership or interest in, or support for, world-wide political movements (for example, Greenpeace or Amnesty International); purchasing UNICEF products in gift shops; membership in religious groups
IV. Choices: Technological and Economic Interdependence. Student Handout "Interdependence: Our Neighborhood and the World Economy" (Handout 1)
A. Where do family members shop for automobiles, electronics, computers, and food? Are these businesses owned by members of the community or are they owned by larger companies with headquarters in another city or country?
V. Student handout: "The World in My House" (Handout 2) helps students understand how their house contains many products produced in other nations. Students identify items from various categories (household needs, clothing, food, utilities) and determine the origin of specific raw materials used for production of products and the countries which manufactured or produced them.
A. Students can use a map of the world to trace routes utilized for both imported and exported commodities taken to and from the community. If students use maps at their desks, they can use different colored pencils to trace these routes.
B. Students might wish to investigate the origin of all the ingredients of a product they use on a regular basis—a telephone, for instance. After the component parts have been traced from their point of origin, teachers may wish to ask students what might happen when one particular ingredient is in short supply? What are alternative sources for the ingredient? Teachers can add to the discussion such concerns as research and development, delivery systems of the raw materials, production of the phone, labor, and marketing.
VI. Discussion of Current Issues regarding Science, Technology, and Innovation
A. The local scene