texting on cell phone

Lesson 5
Comparing Communication 1850 and Today

  • Time Required: 90 minutes
  • Curriculum Fits: History, English/Language Arts

Lesson Overview

In this lesson, students will compare and contrast the methods and styles of communication between people over long distances in 1850 and today organizing their information in compare/contrast charts.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will compare and contrast long distance communications in 1850 and 2010.
  • Students will organize information in a compare/contrast graphic organizer.
  • Students will draw conclusions about the nature of long distance communication in the 1850’s and modern day, giving examples from their research.


  • student research notes/materials including the partially completed student worksheet: KWL Graphic Organizer
  • writing materials
  • blackboard or Smart Board


  1. Write the following question on the board: What are the similarities and differences between communicating over long distances in 1850 and 2010? Give students time to think about the question. As you guide them in a discussion of their answers, write (or invite them to write) their ideas up on the board.
  2. Set up a model of a compare/contrast graphic organizer on the board and have the group begin organizing their ideas using that organizer. When they are familiar enough with how to continue, have them set up organizers of their own to complete the work independently. Encourage them to add more to the lists as they go along.
  3. Guide the group as a whole in a discussion of what conclusions they might draw about long distance communication in the 1850’s and 2010 based on the work they’ve done over the last 5 lessons. Be sure to have them cite examples from the class work and research they have done.


Ask each student to complete the “L” (Learn) portion of the KWL charts they worked on in the first lesson to submit as they leave.