Course Information

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Course Title

How Everyday Technology Works


The course attempts to explain the principles behind the technologies which define our modern way of life. The class surveys a broad range of technology including: radio, television, computers, ultrasound, microwave ovens, and the automobile. Consumer products serve as a means of illustrating scientific knowledge and its applications. The course seeks to remove some of the mystery surrounding science and technology. We live in a very complex and interconnected world created through modern technology. Too often this technology seems as enigmatic as magic. We will identify some key concepts from the sciences that are applied frequently in modern technology, and work to obtain an understanding of these principles. The course is intended for the general education of liberal arts students who are not majoring in science or engineering.


This section includes the objective and the activity level of the course


Kate Disney


Mission College, Santa Clara, CA

Activity Classification

The table of Activity Classification for the course

Activity Classification
Cross-Cutting Concepts Congnitive Dimension Tech Topic Area - Engineering
○ Systems ● Knowledge ○ Medical
○ Bio-based
○ Design ● Capabilities ● Engergy & Power
● Info Tech & Comm
○ Connections ● Decision-making ● Transportation
○ Manufacturing & Const

Lab Hand-outs

Dissection of a Toy Car with Flywheel: Toy Car

Dissection of a Toy Car with Flywheel

Mechanical Clock

Dissection 4-Cylinder Car Engine

Construction of an LED Book-Lite

Construction of a DC Motor using ultra-simple parts

Construction of a Speaker using ultra-simple parts

Construction of an AM Radio using five parts

Construction of a battery recharger using Solar Cells

Vendor Parts List

Where to find materials used in Labs