Weston Middle School

Technology/Engineering Course Materials

Weston, Massachusetts
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Grade 7 Design-Construction

 What is Technology and Engineering? Links

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Class Notes



Additional Material



= Knowledge of techniques - How to make things

Each change in technology- stone age, bronze age, iron age, invention of concrete, invention of arch, electronics—has changed society


  • Food Preparation technology (recipe)
  • Cleaning Technology
  • Writing Technology


Engineering(one definition) is designing a solution to a human need based on a (mathematical ) model of materials, which is good enough for the required task. It does the job, with an adequate margin of safety, but is not wasteful.

Example: Pizza Engineering: How many pizzas do you order if 10 friends are coming for a pizza party?

Engineering Model: Average person eats 2 slices, but some might eat more.

Calculation: If 8 slices per pizza, you might order 3 pizzas( safety factor of 2 slices) or 4 pizzas ( safety factor of 10 slices).

The most efficient design is the least expensive one that meets the performance criteria

Engineering designs always involve trade-offs- speed vs force, cost vs performance.

Failure- carefully analyzed- is essential to engineering design, as it reveals the weak points of structures and their design limits .

Mianus River Bridge Collapse, I-95 Connecticut 1983

A design is said to be elegant if it is the simplest possible design that does the job.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse




Revised April 2007 by Jonathan Dietz, dietzj@mail.weston.org