Changes within Living Memory
Keeping in Touch

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.

Session 1 What's it all about? An introduction to communication

Objectives

History

  • Learn about changes within living memory.
  • Know where people and events fit within chronological frameworks.
  • Develop an awareness of the past and the passing of time.

English

  • Use spoken language to develop imagination and explore ideas.
  • Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations.

Teaching and Activities

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.

Teaching Outcomes
To understand that there are a range of different ways we communicate now, as there were in the past.
To discuss how to work together to make a human timeline to illustrate the order of communication methods over the past 100 years.

Children will:

  • Understand the significance of communication in the past and present.
  • Recognise and name a range of methods of communication, saying how they worked and placing them in time order.

Provided Resources

  • A5 cards of past and present methods of communication
  • PowerPoint presentation of methods of communication
  • Large printed photos of all methods of communication discussed with dates

You Will Need

  • Blank timeline and teacher version of timeline

Session 2 'Chinese Whispers'

Objectives

History

  • Learn about changes within living memory.
  • Know where people and events fit within a chronological framework.

Design and Technology

  • Select from and use a range of materials and components to create a product.
  • Evaluate their product against agreed criteria.

Teaching and Activities

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.

Teaching Outcomes
To understand the role and the use of messengers, both human and birds, in the past to send messages to others.
To plan and create models of carrier birds using junk modelling, to use in the Museum.

Children will:

  • Understand why humans and pigeons were used to send messages, and the problems associated with these.
  • Make a model pigeon using junk modelling.
  • Add an appropriate message for their pigeon to carry.

You Will Need

  • Small pieces of lined paper for writing messages
  • Range of small boxes
  • Card
  • Papier-mâché
  • Tissue paper
  • Feathers
  • Masking tape

Session 3 A telegram from the Queen!

Objectives

History

  • Understand changes within living memory, linked to aspects of national life.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Use a wide vocabulary of historical terms.
  • Recognise that there are a number of sources for finding out historical information.

Design and Technology

  • Use a wide range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their characteristics.

Teaching and Activities

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.

Teaching Outcomes
To begin to understand the history of the telegram.
To create a telegram with an aged effect.

Children will:

  • Understand the history of telegrams and why they were used.
  • Recognise and begin to understand Morse code.
  • Write a simple telegram to a chosen person.
  • Use ‘tea bag’ dying to create an aged effect.

Provided Resources

  • History of the telegram
  • Morse Code sheet
  • Communications from the Queen
  • Telegram examples
  • Telegrams to write on, enough copies for every child

You Will Need

  • Tea bags and bowls of warm water
  • Drying rack or line

Session 4 Thank you, Mr Postman

Objectives

History

  • Understand changes within living memory, to reveal aspects of change in national life.

English

  • (Y1) Write sentences by saying out loud what to write about.
  • Compose a sentence orally before writing it.
  • (Y2) Consider what to write before beginning by: planning or saying out loud what to write about.
  • Write down ideas.
  • Encapsulate what to say, sentence by sentence.

Teaching and Activities

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.

Teaching Outcomes
To understand how the post office and Royal Mail came to exist and explain what forms of communication we may now use as an alternative, e.g. email, text, phone.
To understand the purpose of a letter and write their own letter to a very special older person.

Children will:

  • Understand how letters have been a method of communication for a long time and how the postal service came to be formed.
  • Write a letter to an older person to find out about when and why they write letters now and did so in the past.

Provided Resources

  • Explanation of Rowland Hill’s postal system
  • Post Box image
  • Story of the post
  • Examples of stamps
  • Examples of letters
  • Letter template

You Will Need

  • A letter addressed to the class in an envelope with a stamp. It needs to be from a fantasy character.

Session 5 It's good to talk...

Objectives

History

  • Recognise changes within living memory.
  • Know where people and events fit within a chronological framework.

Science

  • Asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in a different way.
  • Observing closely.
  • Using simple equipment.
  • Performing simple tests.
  • Using observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.

Teaching and Activities

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’.

Teaching Outcomes
To Begin to understand how the telephone was developed.
To create an acoustic tin can or paper cup telephone and evaluate its usefulness.

Children will:

  • Begin to understand a chronology of the telephone.
  • Create an acoustic telephone and begin to have an idea how it works.
  • Carry out a fair test on the acoustic telephone to identify the circumstances in which it works best.

Provided Resources

  • History of telephone in pictures
  • Printed set of pictures from the resources to stick along the time line

You Will Need

  • An old-fashioned dial telephone
  • Paper cups
  • 10 m lengths of string
  • Paper clips

Session 6 A day at the museum

Objectives

History

  • Recognise changes within living memory.
  • Know where people and events fit within a chronological framework.
  • Identify different ways in which the past is represented.

English

  • Write for different purposes.
  • Write about real events.
  • Say out loud what to write.
  • Encapsulate ideas sentence by sentence.

Teaching and Activities

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!

Teaching Outcomes
To create a Museum of Communications History within the classroom.
To clearly explain the reasons why each item is in the museum.

Children will:

  • Participate in the setting up of a class museum.
  • Write labels for objects in the museum.
  • Write museum records for objects that have been loaned.
  • Assist in the production of a catalogue of objects in our museum.

Provided Resources

  • Writing a label template
  • Writing an object recording sheet template

You Will Need

  • A scrapbook