The "What?", "Why?", and "How?" for a sample paragraph

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    Can anyone share their thoughts and view on what they think the “What?”, “Why?”, and “How?” for the paragraph below should be;

    The earliest recorded weight-driven mechanical clock was built in 1283 in Bedfordshire in England. The revolutionary aspect of this new timekeeper was neither the descending weight that provided its motive force nor the gear wheels (which had been around for at least 1,300 years) that transferred the power; it was the part called the escapement. In the early 1400s came the invention of the coiled spring or fusee which maintained constant force to the gear wheel of the timekeeper despite the changing tension of its mainspring. By the 16th century, a pendulum clock had been devised, but the pendulum swung in a large arc and thus was not very efficient.

    Thanks in advance.


    Hi Orson, here is my “crack” at your question. Remember, there are many correct answers to these questions. The goal with the “what/why/how” is not always to get a right “answer”, but to engage critically with the text at hand.

    What: Advances in the history of clock-making.

    Why: The ability to keep time in an emerging technological society was becoming increasingly important.

    How: By listing examples of technological advances in clock making – escapement, coiled spring/fusee, pendulum. These advances improved timekeeping, although the pendulum had issues of its own (inefficiency).

    What did you think of for the what/why/how?


    The phrase that got me thinking was; “…there are many correct answers to these questions”. I found your take on the “what/why/how” quite insightful. After reading the paragraph again i discovered it was talking about a very specify type of clock, the weight-driven mechanical clock, which in turn gave birth to the pendulum clock as we know it today. Here is my take;

    What: The origin of the pendulum clock

    Why: To understand the key inventions that were instrumental to the pendulum clock’s beginning

    How: The transition from a key invention, escapement, to another, coiled spring or fusee

    What do you think?

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