Silicon Valley History Online  


10th or 11th Grade Social Studies

History of Technology in Santa Clara County

Review significant milestones of industries in the valley as they relate to broader national themes in preparation for a field trip to Intel Museum as well as industry pioneers.

11.2, 11.5, 11.6, 11.7, 11.8

Two Days.

Multi-level Timeline and Role Play

1. SVHO Pictures
“Hanger No. 1 Doors,”
“Ford Assembly Plant,”
“Prof. Charles Herrold operating radio equipment,”
Early Bunny Suit, 1976
Gordon Moore
RAM Die 1969
Robert Noyce
Late Bunny Suit, 1995
Pentium Processor, 1993
2. Hand-outs:
“Industry Opener ”
“Historical Timeline”


Day One:

  1. Industries in Silicon Valley grew dramatically in the twentieth century. The first day of this lesson will follow the significant milestones of this development. The major industries of the first half of the twentieth century can be summarized in the following general industrial categories; aviation, electronics, agriculture, and automobile. Discuss these with your students.

  2. Divide the students into groups of four or five and pass out “Industry Opener.”

  3. Using the recommended SVHO pictures, give each group a picture and a worksheet Industry Opener. Upon completion of the task, rotate the pictures among the students. Repeat the process until the groups review as many pictures as possible.

  4. Review with the students the accuracy of their work through simple comprehension questions. Suggested questions; What are the major categories in the pictures? Describe the role of the people in the pictures? How does the technology in the pictures compare with modern technology?

  5. Have students create a multi-level historical timeline from the SVHO descriptions and their knowledge of U.S. History. On the top line, identify the dates of the SVHO pictures reviewed with the Industry Opener worksheet.. On the bottom line, identify the following significant events in U.S. history; New Deal, World War II, and Cold War. This will give the students a sense of perspective with familiar events from their history class. The middle line is simply a reference line with reference dates included.

  6. Homework: Have the students research one of two electronics industry topics; the development of memory or the development of microprocessors. Be sure the students identify the pioneers behind each evolution of electronics of technology. Students should use SVHO for their information.


Day Two:

  1. Discuss the student’s reports. Identify the key developments of the microprocessors and memory. Use the SVHO essay on technology as background information.

  2. Point out to students that a pioneer in their field led each development. Use the SVHO site to identify some of these pioneers. Explain in this lesson, students will explore the backgrounds and accomplishments of these pioneers.

  3. Help students anticipate common characteristics of each pioneer. What unique challenges did each face? What companies or industries did they found?

Activity: Have students chose an industry pioneer who worked in the San Francisco Bay Area. The students will find out the basic information such as background and accomplishments. A possible suggestion for reporting their research would be to participate in a “Noon of the Notables.” In this activity, the students simply come to class dressed as the pioneer and do not say a word. One at a time, they stand up in front of the class and answer “yes” or “no” questions from the audience. The audience has 10 guesses. Regardless if the audience identifies the pioneer or not, after the questioning, the pioneer rehearses a 60 second introduction they have prepared and then sits down


Debrief: After the “Noon of the Notables,” the teacher should summarize the points.



Note: The following activity would be a good extension of the previous lesson and an effective introduction for a high school class visiting the Intel Museum.

  1. After reviewing the key pioneers of Silicon Valley, introduce the students to the manufacturing process. The CD “Careers at Intel: In the Fab,” available from the Intel Museum, is an excellent educational video . After the initial introduction, there is a short three-minute video showing excellent images of the manufacturing process and various equipment. This knowledge is important to help the students compare the evolution of the process throughout the rest of the lesson.

  2. To introduce the students to the historical process of chip manufacturing, show the students the SVHO images, which relate to chip manufacturing. These images show the development of manufacturing from the 1960’s to 1990’s. Place these images on the white board and allow the students the opportunity to come up and investigate the purpose of the equipment in the images. Discuss with the students their findings. Point out the differences and similarities of what they saw on the video presentation. (i.e. Bunny suits were used in the beginning but the machines are much smaller and incorporate the use of robots much more).

  3. Debrief: Help the students appreciate the advances in chip manufacturing over a relatively short period of time. Increasing worldwide competition and expansive new markets in Asia motivates these advances.



  1. Careers at Intel: In the Fab (CD) from Intel Museum.
  2. This is the National Park Service’s brief description of Moffett Field and James Lick Observatory.
  3. This is the webpage of the Intel Museum located in Santa Clara (hours 9am-6pm Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm Sat.) 408 765 0503
  4. An interesting article on Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard who are generally credited with starting the technology revolution
  5. An interesting article on a comparison of Silicon Valley and the east coast tech corridor along Route 128.




Industry Opener

Print Industry Opener Handout

Directions: Look at each picture and determine the date, the industrial category it belongs to, and an overall description of the image.


Date Category Description











































Historical Timeline

Print Historical Timeline Handout


SVHO Images





Reference Dates









National Events