Invention of the Telephone Lesson Plan: From Alexander Graham Bell to the Cell Phone

Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: K-3

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 2-3, students use BrainPOP Jr. resources to identify and sequence important accomplishments in the life of Alexander Graham Bell. Students then research another invention that improved upon Bell’s original telephone. They’ll also participate in creating a number line showing when technology inventions were made and make inferences based upon it.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify and sequence important accomplishments in the life of Alexander Graham Bell.
  2. Research another invention that improved upon Bell's original telephone.
  3. Participate in creating a number line showing when technology inventions were made and make inferences based upon it.

Materials:

  • Internet and BrainPOP Jr. access
  • Computers for students to use
  • Class set of Talk About It activities

Vocabulary:

invent; device; telephone; telegraph; patent

Preparation:

Photocopy the Talk About It activity for students. Gather appropriate books and identify relevant websites for students to use when researching their inventions.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Display the Word Wall for the class to see. Talk about each word and ask students to share what they know about the terms.
  2. Encourage them to listen for each vocabulary word as they watch the Alexander Graham Bell movie.
  3. Project the Sequence Order Game and have volunteers explain which order the cards should go in.
  4. Ask students to recall some of the people Bell worked with as an inventor. Talk about how many other people have invented important devices and products that were developed using earlier innovations. What other inventions have been made after the telephone that build upon Alexander Graham Bell's research? Write students' ideas on the board.
  5. Pass out the Talk About It activity. Have students work with a partner to research one of the inventions listed on the board. They should use the Talk About It page to record what they learn.
  6. Provide books or child-friendly research websites for students to use in learning about their selected invention.
  7. Give students time to share their findings with the class. Were the same scientists involved in creating multiple students' inventions? What countries did most inventions come from? Is there any evidence of collaboration? How did each invention build upon prior inventions? Encourage students to discuss and debate which invention has had the biggest impact on our modern life.
  8. Have students write the year of their invention on the back of their papers. Whose invention was created first? Which invention is most recent? Have students hold up their years and line themselves up in order of their inventions to create a human timeline. Why do students think so many technology inventions have been made in recent years? What inventions might be created in the next ten years?

Extension Activity:

Call students' attention to the fact that Bell made his first invention as a child. What would students like to invent? How would they improve on a something that already exists? Have them use the Draw About It tool to design their own inventions. Encourage students to print out their inventions and explain them either orally or in writing. If you have a class blog, have students take screenshots of their inventions and embed them into a blog post.