Evaluating technology impacts | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools

Which innovations have had the greatest impact?

Use the criteria to assess which innovations in technology have had the greatest impact.

Activity Image
30 mins
Thought starter


In this activity, students will use the criteria and a thinking strategy to evaluate the impact of technological developments. These thinking tools can be used by students to evaluate impact in multiple contexts. While this activity uses examples related to energy technologies, other examples could be used to help nurture the competency of evaluating.


What you'll need

  • “What had the greatest impact?” worksheet 
  • “Energy technologies” briefing sheet
  • “Evaluating impact” worksheet
  • “Assessing my ability to evaluate impact” rubric

  1. Begin this activity by organizing your students into groups and providing each student with a copy of the “What had the greatest impact?” worksheet. Invite your students to work together as a group to make an initial decision: What developments in technology had the greatest impact on cell phone innovation? Instruct groups to select up to five technologies and rank them from 1 to 5. 
  1. Encourage groups to share their decisions and thinking with the class. Ask your students to think about what makes something more impactful. Together with your students co-create, or share, the following criteria for assessing the magnitude of impact:
  • Depth – How deeply felt was the impact? 
  • Breadth – How widespread was the impact?
  • Duration – How long lasting was the impact?
  1. Ask groups to revisit their initial decisions and now apply the criteria for assessing impact to their selected innovations. Have their decisions changed or stayed the same? Has their ranking changed or stayed the same?
  1. Explain to your students that they are going to practice using the criteria as they evaluate which recent developments in solar energy technology will have the greatest impacts on energy generation. Provide each student with a copy of the “Energy technologies” briefing sheet and the “Evaluating impact” worksheet. This worksheet can be used by students for other contexts as well.
  1. Instruct your students to work collaboratively as they use the criteria and a thinking strategy to evaluate, and select which technology will have the greatest impact. Encourage groups to share their decision and thinking with the class.
  1. Conclude this activity by inviting your students to suggest other contexts where these thinking tools, especially the criteria, might be useful.

Modify or extend this activity

Between Step 4 and 5 you might consider instructing your students to research each of these new innovations in energy technologies to gather more information to help guide their decision making.

Curriculum Fit

Science 10

Big idea

  • Energy is conserved, and its transformation can affect living things and the environment


  • Local and global impacts of energy transformations from technologies

Curricular competency

  • Consider the changes in knowledge over time as tools and technologies have developed


Throughout the activity consider how well students:

  • Contribute to respectful group discussion
  • Use the criteria for assessing impact to make select the technologies with the greatest impact

Guide students in using the “Assessing my ability to evaluate impact” rubric assessment sheet during the activity.


Select the materials you require for this activity or download all

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