Paired Texts > Today's Telephone
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Dr. James Roberts is marketing professor and the author of a study about cell phone addiction that appeared in the August 2014 Journal of Behavioral Addictions. Here, Kathiann Kowalski of Science News for Students covers the results of his study: too much dependence on your smartphone isn't smart.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “Watch Out: Cell Phones Can Be Addictive” and ask students to think about the the pros and cons of technology as they are expressed in each piece. Do you think things like smartphone addiction and shortened attention spans are just an unfortunate side effect of amazing technological innovations, or do they represent a more serious threat to society? How does the nature of the advancements presented in “Today’s Telephone”—with each one building upon the other—portray the realm of innovation? Do you think inventors consider the negative possibilities associated with their inventions? Should they?
Learn about how two American brothers beat the odds, inventing and building the world's first successful airplane in this biographical text.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “The Wright Brothers: Air Pioneers” and have students think about how invention and innovation are described in each text. Why did the Wright brothers keep trying to build an airplane, even after all of their failures—and why were they ultimately successful? Is the same true of Alexander Graham Bell? Does improving technology necessarily involve a great deal of failure? Why is it important for people who hope to improve the world in some way to be motivated and resilient?
"The Life and Achievements of Thomas Edison" displays the resolute and determined nature of a storied and celebrated American inventor.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “The Life and Achievements of Thomas Edison” and ask students to compare and contrast the lives of the two inventors. How did each of their inventions help to transform America?
In the informational text "Cutting the Cords: How Wireless Charging Will Keep Toxic Waste Out Of Landfills," Brian Clark Howard discusses the potential benefits of using wireless charging devices.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “Cutting the Cords: How Wireless Charging Will Keep Toxic Waste Out Of Landfills” to provide students with information on how technology has developed over time. How has the telephone evolved and how has this evolution had an impact on the waste produced? As new technologies are developed, are humans producing more waste or less? Ask students to support their reasoning.
In "Are Animals Inventors?," Gail Jarrow and Paul Sherman explain how animals create "inventions" to make their lives easier.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “Are Animals Inventors?” and have students think about how inventions improve life for people and animals. How did the invention of the telephone improve life for people in “Today’s Telephone”? What inventions do animals make in “Are Animals Inventors?” How do these inventions improve life for the animals? Can you think of any other inventions that people have made that have made life better?
In "Dr. Grace Hopper: 'Dare and Do'," Libby Wilson describes Dr. Grace Hopper's important contributions to computer science.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “Dr. Grace Hopper: ‘Dare and Do’” and have students compare how the two inventions have changed the world. How did Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone change the world in “Today’s Telephone”? How did Dr. Grace Hopper’s computer language change the world in “Dr. Grace Hopper: ‘Dare and Do’”? How do both of these inventions impact how we live today? What would the world be like without these inventions?
In "One Without the Other," a young girl yearns for a cell phone but learns that it is more responsibility than she is ready for.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “One Without the Other” to have students consider how phones have changed over the years. According to “Today’s Telephone,” how has the invention of the phone changed people’s lives? How do phones play an important role in life today, even for children like Ava in “One Without the Other”? In the introduction to “Today’s Telephone,” we learn that the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell “famously considered his invention a distraction, refusing to keep a telephone in his study.” Do you agree that phones are a distraction? Why or why not?
In "Zap It!," Tracy Vonder Brink explains how microwave ovens were invented and how they cook food.Pair “Today’s Telephone” with “Zap It!” and ask students to discuss the obstacles to inventing telephones and microwave ovens. What was hard about inventing the telephone according to “Today’s Telephone”? What was hard about inventing the microwave oven according to “Zap It!”? How did the scientists working on these inventions overcome these obstacles?