Resource Center

ETS2.B: Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

How do science, engineering, and the technologies that result from them affect the ways in which people live? How do they affect the natural world?


Introduction to ETS2.B

from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 212-213)

From the earliest forms of agriculture to the latest technologies, all human activity has drawn on natural resources and has had both short- and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of both people and the natural environment. These consequences have grown stronger in recent human history. Society has changed dramatically, and human populations and longevity have increased, as advances in science and engineering have influenced the ways in which people interact with one another and with their surrounding natural environment. 

Science and engineering affect diverse domains—agriculture, medicine, housing, transportation, energy production, water availability, and land use, among others. The results often entail deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that may not have been anticipated when they were introduced or that may build up over time to levels that require attention. Decisions about the use of any new technology thus involve a balancing of costs, benefits, and risks— aided, at times, by science and engineering. Mathematical modeling, for example, can help provide insight into the consequences of actions beyond the scale of place, time, or system complexity that individual human judgments can readily encompass, thereby informing both personal and societal decision making. 

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

from A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 213-214)

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. 

By the end of grade 12. Modern civilization depends on major technological systems, including those related to agriculture, health, water, energy, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and communications. Engineers continuously modify these technological systems by applying scientific knowledge and engineering design practices to increase benefits while decreasing costs and risks. Widespread adoption of technological innovations often depends on market forces or other societal demands, but it may also be subject to evaluation by scientists and engineers and to eventual government regulation. New technologies can have deep impacts on society and the environment, including some that were not anticipated or that may build up over time to a level that requires attention or mitigation. Analysis of costs, environmental impacts, and risks, as well as of expected benefits, is a critical aspect of decisions about technology use. 


Performance Expectations Associated with ETS2.B

K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
N/A
N/A N/A N/A


Additional Resources

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pages 212-214)

Appendix I - Engineering Design in the NGSS

Bozemanscience Video

* is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards was involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this product.