Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Radio - The Early Years
Ask students to write down what they know about Guglielmo Marconi or Reginald Fessenden, and then share their information. It may surprise students to learn that although Marconi is "remembered as the inventor of the radio, Fessenden (a Canadian) managed to send a radio signal almost a year earlier, on Dec. 23, 1900, in his lab near Washington, D.C."
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Canada Tunes In: Radio and TV's Early Years on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have students read the background in the clip titled "Marconi's miracle" and then watch the TV clip, which records highlights of the early years in Canadian radio broadcasting. Have students examine the additional clips titled "Marconi's miracle, 100 years later", and "Cats'-whiskers and crystal sets".
Have students decide on the events that were most significant in the early history of the radio in Canada. Have students list and describe each event and explain its significance.
Students then form groups and reach consensus on the major events. Each group will create a poster-size visual sequence chart that records the major events in the early years of Canadian radio. Groups can discuss how to best represent each event and can draw or find visuals to place beside each event on their poster. Have a representative from each group present the poster.
Use the download sheet Radio: The Early Years to determine each student's involvement in the task and the extent to which they are learning from the task. Observe students as they work independently and as they participate in their groups.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students discuss and question each group's choice of events.
In order to sell radios, businessmen started their own radio stations so that there would be programs on the radio for listeners to hear. Students can create an ad that might have aired on a local radio station encouraging people to buy radios.