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Social Studies

Grade 1- 3


Students learn about the invention of television and discuss its role in their lives.


Background Information
In the late 1930s, the first television was demonstrated at the New York World's Fair. During the 1940s, very few people owned television sets and very few programs existed. However, by the 1950s, televisions existed in millions of homes and brought about tremendous changes in society. Television changed the way people lived. They stayed at home more and gathered around the TV for meals. People were able to see firsthand a variety of events happening across the country. News, events, and even advertising found their way into the homes of millions of Americans by the late 1950s.

What's Good about Television?
There are many wonderful things about television and the programs it brings into our homes. Provide each child with a copy of the television pattern on page 30 and have each child write thoughts about this invention. Use some of the prompts below to inspire your children's writings.

  • What do you learn from television?
  • How does it help you learn about the world?
  • What programs do your family members like to watch?
  • How does the television affect your family? Do you watch it together? Does it cause arguments?
  • Write about your favorite programs.
  • Are there bad things about television?

Extension Ideas

Viewing Graph
Ask students to determine the number of hours each day that he or she spends watching television. You may need to provide the children with program guides to help them determine the length of the shows they regularly watch. Gather the information and create a class pie graph showing the number of hours spent in front of the TV..

What Can We Do?
Before the 1950s children did not have television to watch. They participated in lots of other activities to fill their time. Using magazine cutouts, have each child create a collage of activities that they can do for entertainment other than watching TV.


Television activity sheets

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