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Media – Radio


Language Arts, Social Studies  



Title – Media – Radio

By – Melanie Marchand

Primary Subject – Language Arts

Secondary Subjects – Social Studies

Grade Level – 10

Media – Radio

Introduction: This is the first lesson in a unit directed at the media. Subsequent lessons will look at television, printed news, and the Internet.

Purpose: Most kids are unaware that the radio existed not only as a method of communication, but was the main method of entertainment for an entire generation.

Objective: When the students finish this lesson, they will be know a little about how radio functioned as “the television of a generation”. They will also know what goes into making a radio play.


1. Begin the class by asking the kids what their favorite shows on television are. This should get everyone involved in the lesson.

2. Ask a few kids what they watched on TV last night. Write the shows on the board, in separate columns for each student that you ask. After you have about five lists, add up the hours spent watching for each student. (Maybe do this on a Friday, when last night was “Must See TV” night!!)

3. Now ask the class what programs they listened to on the radio last night. How much time was spent listening to the radio? And how much of that time was spent listening to the latest music?

4. Explain that just as TV is important to our generation for entertainment and news, radio functioned the same way to our grandparents. Introduce the concept of a radio play to the class by having some of them on tape for them to listen to. Hopefully at least one present day show and one show from the pre-WWII era.

5. Talk about the set-up of the radio booth: microphones, sound person, and actors. Tell the kids that all the sound effects were made there in the booth and give examples of some neat ones: Snapping celery for breaking bones, dropping pots and pans for crashes, and having a little tiny door and frame made for slamming doors.

6. Put the students into groups, or let them form their own of about 4-6 persons each. Explain to them that they are going to create radio plays of their own. They may write their own, adapt a story (fairy tale, children’s book, or short story), or use an existing radio play from sources that I will provide. They will have two weeks to put together this play (I will provide some class time) and then they will perform them in front of the class. Everyone must be involved, not only in the writing, but also in the final presentation: either acting or doing sound effects.

Post Script: A nice touch would be if you could record the plays and get a local radio station to air them during class time (maybe the college radio station?). If not, have the rest of the class sit with their backs to the stage during the final presentations.

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