Unit Study: Lines of Communication
- Tuesday, January 11, 2011
"Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." These words, spoken by Alexander Graham Bell on March 7, 1876, to his assistant Thomas A. Watson, changed history as we know it. Bell's experiment would eventually be known as the telephone.
Bell and Watson experienced the first two-way conversation using the telephone on October 6, 1876. Three days later they spoke "long distance" over a two-mile telegraph line from Boston to Cambridge. Bell's invention was readily received as he spent the next several months demonstrating and lecturing about this new gadget. Then on July 9, 1877, the first telephone company was created—the Bell Telephone Company.
Now, 134 years later, we live in a world of instant access to information and communication. Technology has progressed to the point of being able to talk on the phone while accessing files and surfing the Web. Long gone are the days of waiting weeks or months for communication. This fast-paced world allows us to easily speak with few hindrances.
Alexander Graham Bell opened the lines of communication in a way the world could never have anticipated. His discovery paved the way for the future. Texts, tweets, and the instant messages of today's phones are possible due to Bell's invention of the telephone.
• "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him." Psalm 91:15
• "Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily." Psalm 102:2
• "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3
Inventor, telephone, electromagnet, transmitter, telegraph, receiver, diaphragm, sound vibrations, electrical current, and experiments.
- Research the life of Alexander Graham Bell. Write a two-page report and share with family members. How many siblings did he have? How old was he when he died? Who did he marry? How many children did he have? Did he have any other notable events or people in his life?
- The telephone is a way of communicating with another person. Write a script dialogue between you and your best friend.
- Pretend you are a reporter and have just observed and heard the first two-way conversation between Bell and his associate. Write an article on this new invention.
- Pretend Bell is visiting the year 2010. Journal how you would explain to him how the telephone has changed through the years.
- Alexander's patent for the telephone was placed just hours before another inventor. See if you can find out who this other person was. It took many lawsuits for Bell to be able to hold the title of being the original inventor.
- Bell's original intention was to design a multiple telegraph, able to send more than one message at a time. Research the Morse code. Write a note to your parents using this form of communication.
- Design your own tin-can telephone. Clean out two metal cans. Make sure they are clean and dry with no sharp edges. Cut twelve feet of kite string. Ask one of your parents to help punch a small hole in the bottom of each can. From the outside, insert the string into each can. Tie several knots so the string does not slip back through, and then use your phone with a sibling. What happens when the string is loose? What happens when the string is taut?
- Visit your local library to find books on how sound travels. Report your findings.
- Find a book that explains how the telephone works.
- The study of electricity was a crucial ingredient to the development of the telephone. Research this topic. If possible, design a simple circuit.
- Bell went on to further experiments, including improvement on the phonograph, metal detectors, hydrofoils, advancements in flight, respirators, and an apparatus for making fresh water from saltwater. Pick one of these topics and look for further information on it. Draw your findings.
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