Civil War: Encoding the News

Young journalists learn to appreciate the advantages of how modern media technology enables rapid news delivery as they compare today's media revolution to how the telegraph and Morse Code revolutionized news coverage during the Civil War. Using a worksheet and a Morse code key, pupils craft a sentence or headline and translate it into dots and dashes. They then trade their work with a partner who attempts to translate the headline or sentence. The final discussion centers on the challenges telegraph operators faced.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Bring in telegraph keys for class members and ask them to practice tapping dots and dashes (Many styles are available on the internet)
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires copies, one per pupil, of the "Encoding the News" worksheet and the "Morse Code Key"
Pros
  • The activity is engaging 
  • The resource includes discussion questions
Cons
  • None