System Breakdown

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·        Transportation Systems  deal with moving people and/or product from one place to another.

·        Communication Systems  result in information and data transfer.

·        Production Systems  produce and service our society’s wants and needs.

·        Energy and Power Systems  Energy systems are any resources that are capable, or have the potential, "to do work." Power Systems convert or transform these static sources of energy into a form of power that will actually do the work.

Anything that relates to technology should fall under one of the four tech systems. Each of the above technology systems are separate entities, yet, like the relationship between science and technology, there exists an interdependence.  
For example:
Forestry contactors  fall under processing production technology systems. The wood they cut could go for further processing in a pulp mill who would supply manufacturing producers of newspapers and magazines. The same wood could be used to produce thermal energy or power in furnaces etc. It could be used for construction or manufacturing production services as well. The cutters harvesting the wood use power saws, which utilize power technology and run on fuel and oil from refineries of another processing technology system. The saws themselves were manufactured by a company employing manufacturing production technology. These factories like the refineries that produced the fuel rely on power plants to deliver energy converted from coal, perhaps, which would result from yet another processing production system. After cutting all that wood, it has to be transported out of forest and to the desired destination just as the saws and fuels and so-on had to make their way from their original beginnings to eventually ending up in a state and location to cut the trees. These forms of transportation run on fuel that was processed and transported. These vehicles were produced and so-on. Along each of their journeys there would be multitudes of communication systems monitoring, guiding and controlling the different systems that brought elements from beneath the earth, that eventually became the fuel and the saw, and then finally got them together, there, in the forest. The wood itself would become subjected to numerous communication systems such as scheduling and dealing with customers, and the many types of communication systems with in what ever production processes that utilize it. The snow balling effect of webbing between these four systems is virtually endless. Each new device or process that becomes connected directly or indirectly, requires some type of transportation, communication, energy and/or production which requires more again.

All energy is found within one of the following forms:


Our junior high science told us that energy can not be created or  destroyed, it originates from the sun as radiant energy and is continuously converted or changes form. Photosynthesis coverts this energy to chemical energy stored in plants. Special circumstances condense this chemical energy into  forms of fossil fuels that can be transformed into thermal or mechanical energy. 

For example: a coal fired power generation, such as the one found at Point Tupper N.S., converts this chemical energy first to thermal energy in it's boiler, to liquid steam to run it's turbine, where mechanical energy  is eventually converted to electrical energy. The same electrical energy is produced, through out Canada and the world, from other sources such as nuclear and hydro sources. 

We use many sources of energy to do work. For example, to propel our selves through the water we could use food energy to row a boat. We could harness the wind with a sail. Perhaps we might use fossil fuels such as coal in a steam engine or gasoline or diesel in a motorized boat to travel across the water. Maybe we could board a nuclear submarine to get where we want to go. What if we developed a solar powered craft that would quietly send us across the water without  producing any pollution. Ironically, the water we might be crossing could be a source of power for other means in the form of a water wheel or hydro power plant. 

We can see that the energy found in different energy resources, although never created or destroyed by man, are either considered renewable or nonrenewable. Renewable resources such as wind, solar, and wood energy resources continuously replenish themselves, at least with our life time, while once fossil fuels ( coal, oil, natural gas) are used up, they do not. It is not that these energies where destroyed, but we no longer can harness them. 

Energy put to work, or converted to a workable state is called power. Power is some times described as work, force or torque. In general terms; power is the measurement of the amount of work being done. In our junior science lessons we learned that work is the applied force to move a mass a certain distance. Energy and power systems are the blood that sustains, or gives life to, the other systems. 


1.) a.) What are 3 different sources of producing energy in power plants in Canada?
     b.) What are two positive and two negative aspects of each of these sources?

2.) What are 3 renewable and 3 nonrenewable energy resources?

3.) How is the relationship between the different technology systems similar that between science and technology as a whole?


Production systems not only provides us with the items to fulfill our wants and needs, they provide all means for all technologies to exist. Production systems are what make cars, computers and furnaces. With out the products that production systems make, the other systems would not have the tools, the gear, devices to to the work or do the function of improving our quality of life or standard of living.

Production Systems fall under 3 separate categories.

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Communication only occurs when there is a successful transfer of information from a sender to a receiver and that information is understood. If I speak Gaelic to someone who only speaks French, the message would be successfully sent and received, but there is no communication because the other person would not understand. 
Communication systems
fall under either living or nonliving (machine) communication systems. Living communication occurs between animals, man included. It may be verbal communication through sound such as grunts, growls, wines to actual language either spoken or in song. The use of tones and volume can change the meaning of the words being said. (sarcastic tones completely twist the meaning of words for example.) 
, such as facial expression, body language to sign language can also support the verbal message or be just as effective with out words. ( "I knew by the way his eyes looked and by his voice that he really meant it" or "you knew you were in trouble as soon as she looked at you") It may be hair standing up on the back of the neck to mating dances. Some animals change color when their mood changes. 
Nonliving communication occurs between the different devices or components of your computer that generated this website and allows you to navigate and activate the different features the site offers. It maybe between a thermostat and a furnace. It is simply machine to machine.

Communication doesn't just happen between two animals or two machines, you also have living to machine and visa versa. You communicate to machines when you use a computer or use a device to take your temperature. A pace maker monitors and controls your heart beat. 

 All communication systems are meant to do at least one of the following:

Communication systems can do a lot more than simply store information. Information is any collection of data, static data in storage or to be distributed. Knowledge on the other hand, is the application of that information where it is to be processed or put to use. Automated machinery and equipment probably fall somewhere in between. They are a step closer to artificial intelligence. Automated equipment are made to react to certain types of information because it knows what to do, in a sense, due to pre-programming to information received from sensors, timing and so-on. A thermostat that tells your furnace it's time to turn on or off to control the environment inside your house by a spring that reacts to changes in temperature. This system is leaning towards a basic knowledge based type system as it does more than just store information, it reacts to certain types of information because it knows what to do. This is a small stretch from you knowing what to by reading a manual to fix a problem. You use the information from the manual as you interpret it, analyze it, and apply it by utilizing the data to fill in the gaps between the skills and knowledge you have already acquired.

Communication systems play an intricate part in all technologies. Communication systems monitor and control many aspects of production, transportation and energy systems. In production sensors may control temperatures of freezers or  the movement of production lines. They may inform when supplies are getting low or make connection to new markets and customers. Traffic control an regulation is managed through communication from everything from speed limit signs to radio reports on road conditions. Remember the thermostat? Communication systems make sure that NS Power is able to keep your lights on 24/7.


Many of us think some type of vehicular type of ride when we think of transportation. It is not surprising to think this way because it is such a big part of our every day life. What we don't think about nearly as much, certainly as a transportation system, is things like; how do we transport the hay in our fields to the mow in the barn, or coal from a ship to a boiler in a power plant, or logs deep in the forest to a mill miles from where the trees are cut. Many would quickly relate to the tractor, the ship and the logging trucks as part of transportation systems, but what about the forks that stick in large round bails in order to lift the hay, or the elevators that we send square bails to the loft? They are as much part of the system as the tractor and the person putting the square bails on the elevator. The same could be said of the vacuum tubes, the conveyors and the front end loaders that transport the coal from the ships. When we float logs down a river, again product is transported. After all, transportation systems deal with the movement of people and/or product.

Transportation systems work within 4 environments:

Transportation systems relies on production to make the vehicles, the roads, tunnels, rails and so on. They need communication systems to regulate, monitor and control everything from traffic to guidance systems. It needs energy systems for propulsion purposes. For example: 

ENERGY RESOURCE  examples of transportation propulsion application
Wind - sail boats, ice boats, para-sail, gliders
Sun or Solar - experimental automobiles
Fossil Fuels - planes, trains, automobiles, rockets......
Nuclear - submarines
Food - someone paddling or rowing a boat, trolley, bike, walk
Water - water jet propulsion

  Transportation is very important technology for many reasons:

On the downside, transportation is responsible for:

To try and compensate for the negative effects:


1.) a.) Show 3 examples for each of the two subdivisions of terrestrial transportation systems.
  b.)  What is the difference between atmospheric and space transportation systems?

2.) What are 2 examples for each of the two categories of space travel?

3.) a.) List  2 examples of living/ verbal communication.
      b.) Describe 2 situations of living/nonverbal communication.
      c.) Show 4 examples of nonliving communication, each with a different purpose. Identify  the intent in each situation.

4.) Knowledge and information are connected, but they are different. Using an example show what this statement means.

5.) What are 3 positive and 3 negative effects from transportation systems?

6.) Try the system breakdown review puzzle.

System Breakdown


2. The type of production you find on assembly lines.

9. Pipelines and conveyors belong to this type of land based transportation systems.

10. Understood information transfer.

13. Applied information or information put to use.

14. Another name for heat energy.


1. The type of production system that gathers and harvest raw materials.

3. A satellite is an example of this type of space travel.

4. Fossil fuels and wood are examples of____________ energy.

5. An engine converts energy stored in fuel to __________________ energy.

6. A place where construction production technology takes place.

7. Sign language is an example of this type of communication.

8. Applied force to move a mass a certain distance.

11. The use of a thermostat as a communication device serves this purpose.

12. The measurement of the amount of work being done.

14. Another name for land travel.

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