But is it Technology?

My daughter and I were working on her social studies project last night about technologies that are important to her. She had to have 10 pictures to paste onto a piece of paper, and to be able to talk about why she picked them. She quite quickly looked around our house and recognized that pretty much… well… everything in our house would count, other than the cats and the plants. What with one thing and another, we didn’t get the photos taken and printed, so we finally resorted to cutting out pictures from the flyers. It was pretty simple as tasks go: she would name a technology from the house and we would look for pictures of them. Chairs, lamps, kitchen appliances, TV… all simple.

We had a little trouble with finding a book, until I remembered that we had a school book order kicking around.

Then she got to the supermarket flyers. “What about juice?” she asked.

Hrm. What about juice? Made in a factory, concentrated, flavour packs added. Juice probably fits the broad definition, but maybe not for a grade 2 project. “How about juice boxes?” I suggested. We went searching for a more specific picture. It looked pretty much like this:

Then she pointed at a head of broccoli. “That’s not a technology, right?” “No. Broccoli is not a technology.”

She’s seven. I didn’t want to confuse things. But secretly I was thinking, “Hybrid broccoli, grown by industrial methods, shipped to a supermarket in Cape Breton in January. That sounds a lot like technology to me.”

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3 thoughts on “But is it Technology?

  1. The process of getting it to you might be technological. The substance, not so much. Hybridization is a bit of a red herring – people have been hybridizing plants for millenia and it happens naturally (I don’t think the bees & the like have been co-opted into the industrial agriculture paradigm).

    • But I also consider writing to be a technology.

      The broccoli, itself, not a technology. Maybe. Hybridization is a pretty sophisticated set of tools, and I wouldn’t know how to start it. Also, hybrids are covered by intellectual property law, so *somebody* considers them to be a technology.

      This conversation, however, is beyond the scope of a typical grade 2 classroom, since it has gone before many a courtroom in various guises. 🙂

      Bees are highly industrialized, although I don’t know whether they are involved in the hybridization processes. It seems logical, now that you mention it, though. Overmanagement is a significant source of stress on the honeybee popluation. They are moved hundreds of miles at a time, and placed on monoculture fields for pollenization services, which is much like feeding us only one food for several weeks at a time, and results in malnourishment. It undermines the immune function of the hive as a whole. Which is more than I meant to say about bees, but looks like the beginning of another post on the subject. And reminds me that I need to send my beekeeping registration back!

      • Writing is definitely a technology, but I’m inclined to side with Nita on the broccoli. It is a plant which, though modified and shipped using technology, is not a technology in and of itself.

        There’s no way I’m getting drawn into a debate about bees, though.

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