Lesson Guide Overview

In this one-hour activity, students gain an understanding of the nature of human communication and foster a scientific view on languages. Through class activities, games, reading, and analysis, students will learn that speaking a language is only one way people communicate information. In order to make a language understandable among groups of people, a system of rules is necessary. Languages and words are not the same thing. Not all languages have a written form. Words have enormous influence on languages. Finally, a natural language is not static. It is developing all the time over time, space, and social factors. Explore the essential questions: What different methods have been used over time to communicate between humans? Why did our ancestors choose their voices as their primary method for communicating?
This lesson is a formative task that can be combined with others in this series to build what can be a two-week unit. This activity takes one standard class period, plus after-class reflection.

Essential Questions

  • What different methods have been used over time to communicate between humans? 
  • Why did our ancestors choose their voices as their primary method for communicating?

Enduring Understandings

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  • People use different ways to communicate information. Using vocal sounds (speaking a language) is the most efficient way. 

  • "Efficiency" is the key to vocal communication. As divisions of work among our ancestors became more delineated, people needed fast and convenient ways to exchange ideas. Efficiency is powerful. 

  • People generally prefer more efficient communication methods over more complicated ones. The advent of e-communication and the speed with which it has been adopted is a good example.

Lesson Guide Chapters Overview

This module is aligned to the four pillars of Global Competence;  Investigate the World, Recognize Perspectives, Communicate Ideas, and Take Action. These domains promote engaged and active inquiry and act as a guide for structuring curriculum, instruction, and assessment to promote global competence in classrooms and out-of-school time programs. The Four Domains are a framework for guiding student learning both within and across disciplines. 

Investigate the World 

  • Synthesizing facts and ideas to develop a position on a cultural issue. 
  • Enhancing and deepening the study of other subjects through knowledge of the target language and culture(s). 

Recognize Perspectives

  • Identifying similarities and differences between the target culture and one’s own culture by comparing practices, perspectives, and products. 
  • Identifying regional differences by comparing cultural products and features of languages.
  • Comparing and contrasting the nature of the target language with one’s own through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 

Communicate Ideas

  • Analyzing, synthesizing, and presenting information in a way that recognizes and accommodates multiple perspectives

Take Action

  • Enriching the language learning experience by applying language skills in real-world contexts and scenarios. 


    1. International Maritime Signal Flags

    2. Morse Code Handout

    3. How to say "I Love You" in ASL

    4. 101 Ways to Say I Love You

    5. The Biblical Story of the Tower of Babel

    1. Procedure

    2. Homework

    3. Introduction


Efficiency in Communication