Sunday, October 23, 2011

Alexander Graham Bell and The Telephone

Konos Unit: Attentiveness
Theme: Sound/Telephone

We are learning a little history and science as we study the Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone.

We watched a great documentary online about the life of Alexander Graham Bell. This particular biography seems to be geared towards older children so it was the perfect fit for our lesson. I love finding wonderful free resources like this on the internet!

Some of the highlights that Nicholas remembered from the show:

* Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, an early x-ray machine, and a plane part (ailerons)
* Bell was homeschooled
* Bell's father worked to develop "visible speech", an early form of sign language.
* Bell met Helen Keller and assigned Annie Sullivan to be her teacher (this was a neat connection since we just finished studying about them!)

I got an old telephone from someone on Freecycle. They were happy to get rid of it and we were happy to use it to learn about the inner workings of the telephone. I like that it is the older rotary dial style because you can see more of the mechanical aspects of the telephone vs. today's phones that are digital and have circuit boards. I loved listening to the click of the dial spinning around. My grandmother had a phone just like this and hearing that dial click surprisingly reminded me of her.


Nicholas had never seen a rotary dial phone so we spent some time just talking about how it worked.


He quickly took apart the handset.


We talked about some of the phone parts but there was a lot of just exploring. We followed wires and figured out how the sound went into the phone, traveled out, and came back in.


Nicholas figured out how the phone rang.


Lots of wires and I was glad that I had found some information about how phones work because I wouldn't have been able to figure out all of this on my own.


Of course, when I asked Stuart to help me out he was more than a little excited to help when it came to tinkering. He is great with understanding the mechanical workings of things as well as electric circuits and such.


I left to run an errand and when I came home the two boys had managed to completely disassemble the old phone.


Stuart showed us how the microphone still works and we could see the dial move on his meter as Nicholas talked loudly into it.


Even Rachel got to yell into it!


This was a really fun way to learn about sound!

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