Lesson Plan

The Printing Press -- the FIRST Information Age

Students learn about the advent and impact of the moveable type printing press
Lynn S.
Dean of Student Life
The Montclair Kimberley Academy
Montclair, NJ
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My Grades 6
My Subjects Social Studies
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • explain how books were made and ideas communicated prior to the invention of Gutenberg’s moveable-type printing press
  • describe how the moveable-type press works
  • explain how the invention of the press changed what information was distributed and how
  • explain how this shift in information distribution spurred or furthered important changes in religion, philosophy, science, etc.
Subjects
Social Studies
Grades 6 - 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 What is the Information Age?

  1. Ask students to spend 5 minutes brainstorming what they think of when they hear the term "Information Age."  Depending on grade and ability level, you may want to spark their thinking a bit by showing the 2 minutes YouTube video by Bill Nye, "Sharing in the Information Age."
  2. Collect students' brainstorm list digitally.  I have found the easiest way to do this is to have each of them email their list to me and then paste it in a single Word document.
  3. Paste the collected list into Wordle and display the results for the class.  Ask students to share observations and questions about the Wordle.

2 Once Upon a Time...

1.  Instruct students to use the reference links to learn about the sharing of ideas before, during and after the invention of the moveable-type press, and to take notes using Inspiration.  They should use the questions below to guide their reading, listening and note taking.


 BEFORE: What systems existed in Europe for the distribution of information before the moveable-type press (in other words, during the Middle Ages)?

a. What is the origin of the word manuscript ?
b. What role did the Christian Church play in the distribution of information in medieval Europe?
c. Who made books?
d. Who owned them?

DURING: How did the press work?
a. Who invented the metal moveable-type printing press?
b. What did it mean to “set type”?
c. What made this press better than the wood block press?
d. What was the first book printed on this press?

AFTER: How did the moveable-type press change the distribution of information in Europe during the Renaissance?
a. Who made books?
b. Who owned them?
c. What kinds of ideas were more easily spread with the introduction of fast and inexpensive methods of printing?

3 The FIRST Information Age

Comic Life
Free to Try, Paid

Instruct students to use the application Comic Life to create a comic book history of the impact of the moveable-type printing press. The comic book should include the following:

  • Three pages (before/during/after) with at least three panels on each page.
  • An appropriate picture in each panel, including the source URL.
  • Captions and speech or thought bubble(s) for each photo.
  • At least three big ideas  about before, during and after the invention of the press, taken from notes

4 Assessment

Activity: Assessing
  Expert Practioner Apprentice Novice
Picture choice

All photos are clear, appropriately sized, and enhance understanding of key concepts.

Most photos are clear, appropriately sized, and enhance understanding of key concepts.

Photos are clear and appropriately sized, but several do not enhance understanding of key concepts.

Several photos are unclear and/or inappropriately sized; most do not enhance understanding of key concepts.

Content

All content is accurate and thoroughly addresses the assigned topics.

All content is accurate and adequately addresses the assigned topics.

Some content is inaccurate; content adequately addresses the assigned topics.

Numerous inaccuracies in content; does not adequately address the assigned topics.

Writing mechanics

Writing is without errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and capitalization.

There are few errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and capitalization.

There are several errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and capitalization.

There are many errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and capitalization.

Attribution

Sources of all images are accurately attributed with source URLs.

Sources of most images are accurately attributed with source URLs.

Sources of several images are not accurately attributed with source URLs.

Most or all images are not accurately attributed with source URLs.