Monday, March 6, 2017

March 7 - Phone Home

On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.

If he could have seen the future, would he have been as excited?

Image result for cell phone use meme

Ah, well, it is still an amazing invention. Just think about how incredible it is that we can talk to someone on the other side of the world, as if they were standing right next to us! If you were to try to describe the telephone to someone who lived 200 years ago, what would you tell them? What do you think their reaction would be?


There are many biographies of Bell on the market, but I like this series by Mike Venezia:


The mix of photographs and cartoons, with short bits of text, help keep the attention of even younger children, while still imparting quite a bit of information about the subjects' lives.


We have all played the game of 'telephone', right? The first person whispers a sentence to the next person, who whispers it to someone else, and so on, until the last person says what they think they heard out loud. Usually, the sentence has gone through a few changes by then!

That game works best with more people than you may have on hand, but this story is a good substitute, and gets the idea across quite handily.

Extension: Talk about what happens when we get a little bit of information and run with it, without taking the time to find out whether it is true or not. What consequences can that have? Discuss the 'think' acronym. make and decorate a poster together to hang in your home somewhere as a reminder.

Before You Speak...

T - Is it true?
H - Is it helpful?
I - Is it inspiring?
N - Is it Necessary?
K - Is it Kind?


* How does a telephone work, anyway? I know librarians aren't supposed to like Wikipedia, but the first section of their telephone entry has a very simple explanation which you should be able to put into your own words for your child. Youtube also has several simple videos explaining how phones work, such as this one from Mr. Wizard:

* Try the tin-can-on-a-string experiment to see if you can talk from room to room. Does changing the type of string make a difference? What about a taut string vs. a loose one?

* Cut a piece of yarn about 4 feet long, and tie the handle of a spoon to the middle. Hold the ends of the string and let the spoon hit any nearby object. What kind of sound does it make? Now hold the ends to your ears with your index fingers, as if you are pushing your ears closed so you can't hear Mom, and let the spoon hit the same object. What do you hear this time? 

You should hear a tapping or tinging the first time, but a gonging sound the second - but, only the person who has the strings to their ears will hear it! This illustrates sound waves and how they can travel differently through air and through objects, which will hopefully help illustrate how telephone lines work.

Social Studies 

- Do your kids know to call 9-1-1 for an emergency? Do they know how to actually DO that? Do they know what constitutes an emergency? Do some role playing with a toy or disconnected phone for various situations. Can your kids describe where you live if asked? (Don't always count on reverse look-up or GPS! I have seen both end up waaaay off during emergencies or search and rescue operations!)

- Make sure other important phone numbers are posted near the phone. Practice calling the neighbors, or Grandma, or anyone else they may need to reach in an emergency. Use those calls to practice phone manners, as while as safety when answering the phone. Which brings us to:


Who haven't you called in a while? And why not?? Can you think of someone near or far for whom a phone call might really brighten their day? Pick up that phone (or log into your favorite video chat, so everyone can join in) and call them!


Do your kids know the origin of the 'phone home' comment? Well, then, they need some cultural reference building! Sit back with some Reese's Pieces and show the classic movie "E.T." C'mon, Mom, it's educational!

Other Web Sites to Explore

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