Introduction and Purpose
Science is an enterprise that focuses on inquiry about natural phenomena; technology is the designing of things and processes to achieve practical purposes. Learners need to realize that both science and technology have had a profound effect in shaping human experience and the world around us. Tracing the impact of science and technology historically in such areas of human endeavor as agriculture, manufacturing, the production and distribution of goods and services, the use of energy, communication, transportation, information processing, medicine and health care, and warfare enables learners to understand how science and technology have influenced and been influenced by individuals, societies, and cultures.
By examining questions and issues raised historically and contemporaneously resulting from scientific inquiry and technological applications, learners can be better prepared to make informed decisions as citizens about individual choices and policy alternatives that face society. Are new technologies always better than old ones? What can we learn from the past about how the enterprises of science and technology have resulted in social changes, some of which are unanticipated? How can we cope with the ever-increasing pace of change? How can we manage scientific and technological activities so that the greatest number of people benefit from them and the rights and interests of the minority are not forfeited? How can we preserve our fundamental values and beliefs in the midst of scientific inquiry and technological change?