Weston Middle School
Massachusetts Grade 8
Technology/Engineering MCAS Review
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Three men are sentenced to death for various crimes against a mythical and oppressive state. One is a priest, another is a drunkard and the third is an engineer.
The first to face the executioner is the priest. When asked if he wanted to lie face down or face up on the guillotine, he said, "I'll lie face up! I have nothing to fear. The Lord is on my side!" So he lay on his back and faced the razor-sharp blade. When it was released, the blade fell half way and stopped. The executioner exclaimed, "This must be divine intervention. You are pardoned, and you may leave."
The next was the drunkard. When asked the same question, he chose to lie face up like the priest, saying, "I'm a drunk, not an idiot!" So he lay on his back too, facing the sharp blade as the sun glinted off its keen edge. Again, the blade fell only half way and stopped. The executioner exclaimed, "The Lord is generous today. You are pardoned, and you may also leave."
Finally, it was time for the engineer. He also chose to lie on his back. After all, it seemed that was the lucky thing to do that day. He lay on his back looking up at the heavy blade tensing against the rope. Just before the blade was let loose, he shouted, "Wait! I think I see the problem!"
DON'T GET ENOUGH RESPECT
Date: August 25, 2005
Massachusetts has led the way by becoming first in the nation in 2001 to develop curriculum frameworks for engineering at all levels, from kindergarten through 12th grade. In addition, science and engineering/technology will be an MCAS requirement starting with students graduating in 2010. But before we can graduate scientists and engineers, we must first engage children in science, technology, and engineering, igniting and then fostering their natural curiosity about how things work.
I was shocked when
I arrived in the United States from Greece in 1980 to discover how misunderstood
and undervalued engineering was among Americans and how little people
knew about it. In the United States the engineering profession has suffered
from an image problem. People who drive trains, collect trash, and fix
VCRs are all called "engineers." But the engineers I refer to
are the people who build things from bicycles to bridges and make them
work. Engineering, the process that creates technology, involves identifying
a problem, designing a solution, testing and improving the design, and
building the technology.
The good news is that children are born engineers. A child exhibits an instinct to design and build when constructing a fort out of blankets and pillows or a castle out of sand. We need to harness this natural ability and make technology and engineering exciting in a way that is equally inspiring to boys and girls.
At the Museum of Science
we have worked to develop curriculums that meet both state and national
standards while fostering children's innate engineering skills. One program
engages elementary school students in building their own water filters,
windmills, walls, and bridges. More than 70 teachers and some 1,400 pupils
across Massachusetts benefit from this program. This fall the curriculum
will be field-tested in California, Minnesota, Colorado, and Florida.
The growing awareness
of our children's lack of interest in science has prompted the Museum
of Science to reexamine how best to fulfill its responsibility to engage
children in science and engineering. I challenge parents, public officials,
and business and industry leaders to give our kids the opportunity to
explore the human-made world to discover how a solar collector works,
why popcorn pops, or who creates their iPod. By inspiring the children
of today in such explorations, we will help build the innovators and thinkers
Revised December 2005 by Jonathan Dietz, firstname.lastname@example.org