Activity 5:
Communication through the Ages

Communication has changed rapidly over the past century. In the early 1900s, people use the telegraph to tap out words over long distances. Today, we use telephones, fax machines, and email. When Lefty Lewis wanted to let Herman Calloway know that Bud was coming to Grand Rapids, he sent a telegram.


Trace the history of communication.

Process and Resources

  1. As a small group, learn about a type of communication. Use the resources below to gather information:
  2. Create a model showing how the communication tool works. Write a short skit that shows how people use or used the device.
  3. As a class, put the skits together into a timeline of communication.
  4. Communication is constantly changing. What do you think the next form of communication will look like? How will it work? As a class, create the last skit showing the future.
  5. Create a videotape of your skit and share it with another class.

Project Guidelines

Use the following guidelines for creating your model, skit, and videotape:

  • Locate information about the time when the communication tool was invented, who invented it, what it looked like, how it worked, and how it effected other kinds of communication.
  • Use paper, card board, plastic cartons, string, markers, and anything else you can think of to create a model of the tool. Remember, it's just a prop in your skit so it doesn't have to work.
  • Write a short skit. The skit should use factual information found on the Internet and in books. However, the skit should share these facts in an interesting way.
  • Each member of your group should have a role, but not everyone needs to be an actor. For example, you could have a narrator, two actors and a "sound effects" person.
  • The videotape should consider the following elements:
    • The video should be close enough to catch the action. Remember to zoom in and out slowly.
    • The audio should be clear and easy to hear. Sound effects and music should contribute in a positive way to your message.


Share your videotape with another class.

Teacher Resources
Student Resources

Developed by Annette Lamb, 3/00.