Alexander Graham Bell Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Many students know the name Alexander Graham Bell, but few know much about his life or the era he lived in. These projects can help your students gain a deeper understanding of Bell's life, work, and legacy.

Alexander Graham Bell

In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received the first patent in the United States for the telephone. While others would dispute his claim as the inventor of this communications device, Bell remains credited as the founder of a new wave of technological advancement. He is an intriguing and important figure. With these projects, you can help your students learn more about Alexander Graham Bell and his inventions. These projects are designed to be adaptable to many grade levels and can fit into existing curricula in several subjects.

Project Ideas

An Interview with Alexander Graham Bell

After a brief lesson about Alexander Graham Bell, provide students with access to primary and secondary sources about his life. Students will research the life of Bell, as well as the Second Industrial Revolution of the late 19th century. Once they have completed their research, students will write out a fictional conversation with Alexander Graham Bell, in which they play the part of a 19th-century journalist interviewing the inventor. This interview (which you can instruct students to create in narrative or straightforward terms) will be a fun variation on the typical biography, but should cover similar information. Students should ''ask'' Bell about his life, his inventions, his plans for the future, his lawsuits and controversies, etcetera, and write down responses as they think Bell would.

If you wish to make this more interactive, it can be easily modified into a game/skit between students. In this version of the project, each student will learn as much as they can about Bell, then compose a list of interview questions. Pair students up, with one person being the interviewer and one person being Alexander Graham Bell. The interviewer will ask Bell the questions, and the student posing as Bell will have to do their best to answer them, proving their knowledge about Bell's life. Once this is done, have students find new partners and switch roles. Again, you can make this something of a game by having the interviewers attempt to stump their ''Bells'' or you can have it be more of a skit.

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