Not only do science and engineering affect society, but society’s decisions (whether made through market forces or political processes) influence the work of scientists and engineers. These decisions sometimes establish goals and priorities for improving or replacing technologies; at other times they set limits, such as in regulating the extraction of raw materials or in setting allowable levels of pollution from mining, farming, and industry.

Grade Band Endpoints for ETS2.B

By the end of grade 2. People depend on various technologies in their lives; human life would be very different without technology. Every human-made product is designed by applying some knowledge of the natural world and is built by using materials derived from the natural world, even when the materials are not themselves natural—for example, spoons made from refined metals. Thus, developing and using technology has impacts on the natural world.


By the end of grade 5. Over time, people’s needs and wants change, as do their demands for new and improved technologies. Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones to increase their benefits (e.g., better artificial limbs), to decrease known risks (e.g., seatbelts in cars), and to meet societal demands (e.g., cell phones). When new technologies become available, they can bring about changes in the way people live and interact with one another.

By the end of grade 8. All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short- and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of both people and the natural environment. The uses of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions. Thus technology use varies from region to region and over time. Technologies that are beneficial for a certain purpose may later be seen to have impacts (e.g., health-related, environmental) that were not foreseen. In such cases, new regulations on use or new technologies (to mitigate the impacts or eliminate them) may be required.

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