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Risks and Benefits

Risks and Benefits Photo Credit: Science NetLinks

Introduction

Even just one hundred years ago, life was very different than it is today. The world we live in has been shaped and controlled through the use of technology. In a very real sense, the future and well-being of our planet and our society will depend on how we develop, use, and even restrict technology in the future.


Exploration

There is no question that cell phones are a terrific innovation. But they can have a down side too. Read Cell Phones and Driving to learn about how cell phones might be affecting safety on the road. Then answer the four questions asked at the end of the Making Sense of the Research section.

Go to Risk Assessment Basics. This resource will guide you through these topics:

  • What is risk?
  • Risk terms
  • Evaluating risk
  • Decision making
  • Managing risk

On January 28, 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew were destroyed in an explosion just one minute after lift-off. In addition to the lives of all seven crew members, three billion dollars in government property was lost. Because of the accident, the United States space program was suspended until the causes of the explosion could be identified and corrected. A commission was appointed to investigate the accident and recommend a solution. Go to Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident and read the commission's report. As you are reading, think about the risks and the benefits of human spaceflight and how public perceptions of these may have changed after the Challenger accident.


Knowledge Check

Select one of the following topics and write a brief essay assessing the risks and benefits involved in the technology described. Use the Risks and Benefits Essay Rubric to construct your essay and evaluate your work.


This esheet is a part of the Risks and Benefits lesson.

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AAAS