Essential Questions 4.0

Anticipatory Set

Many people wonder about the rapid rise of the US on the world stage. Why did this country prosper when others with the same resources flounder? One of the reasons might be the country decided that inventions should belong to the inventor. Until that time inventions belonged to the King or rulers of a country.

In 1922 Philo T. Farnswort was a young student attending a rural school. Electricity had just been installed and Phil conducted endless experiments with it. He experimented with generators and electric motors and duplicated experiments he had read about. There were many books at the time encouraging young people to duplicate famous experiments and discussing the problems facing the future.

One article he read was about combining radio with the movies. Phil read about ways that were being tried at the time and decided that he could accomplish the task another way. He sketched the idea out and shared it with other students and his teacher. He had come up with the idea of a light sensitive tube that he could scan and then reproduce using a beam of electrons traveling over the surface of another tube, controlled by magnetic fields.

Although he didn’t get the patent for many years, those early conversations with his peers and teacher were part of the reason he was awarded the patent for television.

Ideas, no mater how far fetched, should be discussed while attempting to solve a problem.


  1. What process do engineers use to design a new machine to solve a problem?

  1. How is energy transformed into a form that can be used to accomplish tasks?