Applied Science - Technology (2B)
Post Lab 

  • Comparing technologies used in the entertainment industry.
  • Discovering how simple tools evolved into useable technology.


  • electricity
  • society
  • technology

Students discuss technology behind the movie industry.


When did humans actually start to make an effort to use simple tools to better their lives as a society? You can argue that agriculture certainly made humans stay in one place, which would give humans time to control their environment. Remember humans do inflict adverse effects on their environment if they don't develop ways to control sanitation, food cultivation and storage, housing, and defense. Irrigation, flood control, tools, animal husbandry, cultivation, crop rotation, and fertilization were all principles that probably developed about 10,000 BC or what archaeologists call the Neolithic or New Stone Age.

The need to control the environment even more, started what is called the Bronze Age about 4000 BC in the Near East. This marks the beginning of larger structures caused by the invention of bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, an alloy that can cast easily. Achievements during this age include the harnessing of animal power, wheeled vehicles, sailboats, the potter's wheel, and bricks.

During the 4th through 14th centuries, major technological advances were made, but most of them were refinements of earlier inventions. The idea that the Middle Ages or the Dark Ages were unproductive is only a myth. Politics, religion, and war are attributed to the "anti-knowledge" campaigns. Accomplishment like soap for cleansing, the making of barrels and tubs, the cultivation of rye, oats, and hops, the heavy plow, horseshoes, and the easily heated compact house are all inventions attributed to this time. The European "mini" Industrial Revolution started in the 15th century marked a rebirth of science and inventions. Of particular importance were the inventions and achievements of the Italian architect-engineers, the German metallurgists and printers, and the Dutch construction engineers.

The Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries was concentrated mainly in England. Natural resources available in England and countries that they controlled, saw great technological advances using iron, coal and steam. They produced a society that would be forever dependant upon the machinery that they created. The Industrial Revolution came to America about the time of the war for Independence.

What was happening in other countries like Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America when all this inventing was going on? You must superimpose not only the politics and religion of these regions, but also geographic location and resources. A country that took part in the Industrial Revolution, must have natural resources in order to participate. What happens when a nation has no coal? They must import it into their country, which takes money from that nation into the hands of another nation. The United States is an excellent example of a country that has many natural resources. After all the acquisitions of territory, there were very little resources that this nation had to import. The United States was also fortunate not to have one religion dominate its politics, because religious fervor, no matter how well intended, causes a restriction of creativeness, if forced on a society.

But is it only resources and attitudes that make people invent? No, ideas generated by other scientists lead to other inventions. Science and math works best when there is communication between researchers. The beauty of science is that when one person has an idea, there may be many people who may know how to use it more effectively, especially if there is a possible monetary gain.

  1. Students watch movies and television and often do not think about the technology needed to produce them. In the Reading Rainbow book, Lights! Camera! Action! How a movie is made, students follow how a movie is made, from casting actors to hiring crew.
  2. Discuss how without technology, we would not be able to produce a movie. Setting up props, costumes, and special effects take a very high level of understanding equipment.
  3. As you read this book (or any similar book), go through the pages and discuss the technology being used. For example:

    movie camera
    - uses light to make an image on photographic paper
    special effects
    - uses light to form optical illusions; uses lasers, uses machines, uses computers
    moving props - uses machines
    costumes - uses sewing machines, zippers, fabric
  4. Students do not realize that movies were not produced as a craft until 1890's when two French brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumiere created a combined camera and projector which recorded continuous pictures on a strip. The book, Inventions, outlines the early history of movies and photography. Within the last 100 years, our society has changed a great deal. Videos were not as widespread 20 years ago as they are now. The future will probably produce more methods of entertainment.
  5. Students may want to investigate this subject further. Suggest they watch an older movie or cartoon with a more recent one. See if they can notice any changes. Ask questions about movies or television to make viewing more educational. See if they know when color was first introduced into the movies, (the late 1940's).

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