Lesson 70: Alexander Graham Bell (Level 2+)

Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 3, 1847. His father was Professor of Elocutionand the Art of Speech at Edinburgh University. Along with his two brothers, Alexander was at first taught at home by their mother, Eliza Bell. She taught her sons history and mathematics, but she also gave them drawing and music lessons. Alexander was an excellent pianist. Eliza had been deaf since childhood and the boys learned to communicate with her by using sign language.

The life of Alexander Graham Bell spanned an age of great invention, discovery, and change. This period saw the height of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Huge new factories, powered by coal and steam, were producing all kinds of goods. Railways and the electric telegraph were just beginning to open up the world.

Early in his life, Bell was inspired by his deaf mother to teach other deaf people to speak. While he was investigating the methods of human speech and hearing, he also discovered the principles of the telephone. Bell’s invention of the telephone revolutionized communications. Without it, many of the things we now take for granted– the radio, television, fax machines, and the Internet- would not have been possible.

The invention of the telephone in 1875 made Bell rich and famous while he was still only in his early thirties. The remaining 46 years of his life were packed with ideas and experiments. He invented a vacuum jacket following the death of his infant sons from breathing problems. When fitted around a patient, a vacuum jacket used air pressure to help him to breathe. He designed kites, airplanes, and a hydrofoil boat. He co-founded the National Geographic Society. When Bell died, he was working on a project to distil drinking water from sea water.

His interests and genius touched many areas, but Bell’s name is known all over the world mainly for his invention of the telephone.

Alexander Graham Bell died on August 2, 1922. He was 75 years old and had been inventing right to the end. When his coffin was lowered into his grave on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, all the telephones throughout North America fell silent for one minute as a mark of respect to the father of the telephone.

A) Vocabulary

Elocution- the skill of clear speech and pronunciation
Pianist- a person who plays the piano, especially professionally
Deaf- unable to hear
Communicate- exchange information
Span-stretch, spread
Revolutionise- transform, change something completely
To take for granted- to underestimate the value of
Infant- a very young child, a baby
Distil- to purify a liquid through a process of evaporation and condensation
Genius- brilliance, great intelligence
Coffin- a long, narrow box in which a corpse is buried
Grave- a hole dug in the ground for the coffin

B) Discussion Points

  1. Please write 5 sentences about why you think Alexander Graham Bell was a great man and inventor.
  2. Please read about Albert Einstein. Look him up on the Internet or reread the lesson plan (lesson plan 19, level 2) on him. Why was Einstein great?
  3. Name two more inventors and name their inventions. You can look up the Internet for this information.
  4. How would your life be different if Alexander Graham Bell had not invented the telephone?
  5. Please use five adjectives to describe Alexander Graham Bell.
  6. Please use five adjectives to describe yourself.
  7. Please use five adjectives to describe the person you most admire.

C) Adjectives

Please underline the adjectives in the following sentences.
Example: The leaves on the tall tree are dry.
Why do we use adjectives?
Make sentences of your own using the adjectives below.

  1. The big dog chased the motorcycle.
  2. The colourful balloon floated over the treetop.
  3. He knocked on the glass door.
  4. The mangoes are sweet and delicious.
  5. My pink sweater is soft and warm.