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"The Nation's Playground": Technology and Tourism
Lesson 2


Guiding Principles

1. A Clear and Effective Communicator

  • Uses oral, written, visual, artistic, and technological modes of expression.
  • Reads, listens to and interprets messages from multiple sources.

    2. A Self-directed and Lifelong Learner

  • Finds and uses information from libraries, electronic databases, and other resources.


  • Students will communicate effectively in the application of science and technology. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades 5-8: Access information at remote sites using telecommunications.

    Secondary Grades: Evaluate the communication capabilities of new kinds of media.

    Implications of Science and Technology

  • Students will understand the historical, social, economic, environmental, and ethical implications of science and technology. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades 5-8: Research and evaluate the social and environmental impacts of scientific and technological developments.

    Secondary Grades: Analyze the impacts of various scientific and technological developments.

    SOCIAL STUDIES: History: Chronology

  • Students will use the chronology of history and major eras to demonstrate the relationships of events and people. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades 5-8: Describe the effects of historical changes on daily life.

    ECONOMICS: Economic Systems of the United States

  • Students will understand the economic system of the United States, including its principles, development, and institutions. Students will be able to:

    Secondary Grades: Describe the factors (i.e. physical, capital, technology, monetary resources) that impact the development and the distribution of a product.

    International Trade and Global Interdependence

  • Students will understand the patterns and results of international trade. Students will be able to:

    Middle Grades 5-8: Describe how changes in transportation and communication technologies have affected trade over time.

  • Students will:
    • Explore web sites advertising Maine to tourists.
    • Identify ways the Internet has changed (or may change) the tourist industry in Maine.
    • Find a new Maine tourism web site and evaluate it.
    Estimated Timing: 2-3 class periods



    1. Watch Program 5: "The Nation's Playground" with students. Discuss with them the idea that technology can have an enormous impact on the economy. Two major technological advances at the time when tourism was just beginning to grow were a) the railroad, and b) the automobile. How did these two technologies affect Maine tourism?

    (The video provides information about this. The railroad network that had been established primarily for trade purposes became a perfect transportation method for people from northeastern cities to get to many parts of Maine. The automobile changed the nature of Maine tourism. Tourists used to visit the state for weeks or months at a time, but the car allowed people to drive in for a weekend, and to make many stops, rather than staying in one place.)

    2. Most people would probably agree that the major technological innovation of our time is the Internet. Pose the question: how do students think that the Internet has affected Maine tourism so far? Does it have the potential to change the tourist industry in the way the railroad and the automobile did? Do a brainstorm together on the board, listing possible ways the Internet might affect Maine tourism.

    3. Hand out the Technology and Tourism assignment sheets. In pairs, students will examine two to three Maine tourism web sites, from a list of five. They will follow the directions on their assignment sheets and complete these tasks:

    • List the various components of the site. What's there?
    • Write a few sentences describing what the site does that is different from what an ad in a newspaper or magazine can do.
    4. After students have examined their web sites, have them find a site of their own that has something to do with Maine tourism. Have them review the site. What is good about it? What needs improvement?

    5. Regroup as a class. Ask students what kinds of things they noticed in their research. How can the Internet change Maine tourism? (Some possible answers might be:
    a. Information can be updated easily, which allows tourists to make plans according to an updated calendar;
    b. Links to other sites bring a wide array of businesses to the fingertips of someone browsing;
    c. Tourists can plan a vacation, order tickets, reserve rooms, and buy gear from home, etc.)

    List what they've come up with on the board. Ask: do they think the Internet will have as dramatic an effect on the tourist industry as the railroad and the automobile did?

    6. Grade student work for thoroughness, quality of their observations about the web sites, and how well they applied what they learned in the review of the new web site. Extension activities:

    • Have students create a Maine tourism web site of their own that makes use of some of the distinguishing characteristics of Internet technology.
    • Invite someone from the Maine tourism department to come speak to the class about how he or she thinks the Internet has changed the tourism business.
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