Education:From cuneiform to satellite - How did we get there?



English 9/Special Education

Time Required for Completed Lesson

Three 80 minute periods


6.2.8.C.2.a 6.2.8.C.2.b 6.2.8.D.2.a

Common Core State Standards

Grades 9-10 Cross content standards 3.4.12.D.2 All students write clear concise organized language that varies in content and form for different audiences and purposes


White board, projector, background reading, markers, crayons, computer paper, large construction paper, glue, cardboard, sample rotary phone, drums, telegram

Anticipatory Set

1. Discuss what were the earliest forms of communication? (ask) for background knowledge

2. How did we transmit messages in the past?

3. Students will examine rotary phone and telegram, while teacher explains their function.

4. How do we transmit messages today?


1. Students will be divided into two cooperative learning groups.

2. Students will discuss the anticipatory set questions and write a group researched answer for background knowledge class work sheet

3. Students will show in group presentation how moving messages changed fom past to present.

Day 1 – Whole group

Cooperative learning groups to research will perform a specific task based on background information from background knowledge.

Group 1 – Students will research communication without transportation (Ex: cuneiform, hieroglyphics, smoke signals, lanterns, drums). Students will be required to explain and demonstrate the form of communication they choose to research in their group. Students will be required to demonstrate how the Native Americans used drums to communicate. Students may use internet video clips, poster pictures and diagrams.

Group 2 – Students will research communication with transportation (Ex: post rider, stagecoach, railroad, telegraph, telegram, telephone, satellite). Students will be required to demonstrate forms as hands on presentation. Students will also be required to write trivia questions for information presented by their group. Class will use white boards to answer trivia questions.

Day 2 – Group Presentations

Group 1 – Students will present their research information each student will be responsible for a different form of communication, the category transmission of messages without transportation.

Group 2 – Students will be present their research information each student will be responsible for a different form of communication, the category transmission of messages with transportation.


Teacher guided discussion for anticipatory questions

Teacher guided instruction for research material

Peer mentoring grouping

Readings, specific to grade level, lexile scores, Read 180, SRI Testing


1. Research paper rubric

2. Group presentation rubric

3. Class participation- Code Book Activity

See the Rubric sheets Media:Cuneiform to satellite - Rubrics.doc


Wold History/ English


Day 3

Whole Group

Activity: Code Book 1. Students will be divided into two groups to create symbols for the alphabet similar to hieroglyphics (Ex: A = a picture a closed wing eagle)

2. Group 1 will create symbols for letter A-L and Group 2 will create symbols for letters M-Z.

3. The symbols with their alpha letter will be compiled into a single code book. Each student will receive a copy of the code book.

4. Each group will cut, color, and past the symbols for their name on a piece of construction paper, symbols only.

5. The code names of each student will be numbered and placed randomly on the wall around the room at eye level.

6. Students will be paired and given a code name sheet numbered according to the number of names in code on the wall. The student pair will be given one code book with the alpha symbol to match the picture symbols on the wall.

7. The first student pair that completes the names on their sheet will receive a prize.

8. Teacher will make the number sheet prior to placing picture names on wall with answer


History of communication clip,

Video clips necessary to complete the lesson plan are available on the Egypt’s Golden Empire Web site [1]. If you wish to purchase a copy of the program, visit the PBS Shop for Teachers [2].

Show students an example of hieroglyphs. This could be done by accessing pictures such as those available in the Virtual Egypt section [3] of the Egypt’s Golden Empire Web site, particularly Madinet Habu [4], Second Pylon

Show students how Egyptians would have written their names by using the Spell Your Name feature [5]. Have students use the name generator to write their names and become more familiar

For a history of the Pony Express, see

Submitted BY: Kim R. Hobbs