Teachers support for Topics
For help with the structure and delivery of Hamilton’s Topics, see our User Guide to Topics.
Be introduced to historical concepts, vocabulary and representations through exploring the ways in which life has changed over the time of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. Develop a chronology of domestic life, clothes, transport, communication methods, toys and books, food and music. Experience a school day as it would have been in the 1950s and create Acoustic Telephones. Cook up a food festival and create a museum in the classroom!
Share and examine items of communication from previous eras, such as old letters, telegrams, old telephones and old computers. Set up an informative and intriguing class museum using these objects.
This Topic is written for Key Stage 1. If you want to use this Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.
The history of communication starts with people carrying oral messages and then takes in carrier pigeons, horse-riding messengers, letters, Morse code, telegrams, telephones, mobiles, emails and the internet.
After a recap of methods used to communicate in the past children look at the use of carrier pigeons. They create a model carrier pigeon using boxes and papier-mâché. They then decorate these to make them realistic.
Children look at how telegrams were developed, including exploring the use of Morse Code. They write their names in code and then create telegrams using Tea-paper to create an aged effect.
Children understand how the Royal Mail came to exist and how letters were sent in the past. They identify pillar-boxes and then write a letter to an older person for whom this was an important form of communication.
The development of the telephone from the late 19th century to mobile phones in the present day is charted. Children study pictures of phones of each era, from their great-great-great-grandparents to now. They create a string telephone and then subject it to a series of ‘fair tests’.
To round off the Block, children set up a class museum of the history of communication. They label artefacts and produce records for all this that have been lent or given. They discuss and then help to produce a catalogue before opening for visitors!
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