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Primary Source Education Modules > Gutenberg Bible > Activities
The Invention  -  Books Before and After  -  Johann Gutenberg  -  Facts about the Book  -  Activities  -  Glossary  -  Teacher Resources

 

Activities

Learning Activities are designed to help students think critically about Gutenberg and his times through visual analysis of artifacts and focused inquiry.

Each activity is printer-friendly and includes all of the materials you will need, including suggested procedures, worksheets, applicable educational standards, and facsimiles of documents and artifacts that you can download for classroom and student use.


The Invention

Create a Research Book
Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level: 3-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Book construction - one to three class periods. Book use - for the length of the Gutenberg lessons.

Students will create a research book in order to learn more about the production of manuscripts and books. Using a variety of media, the book will contain information, images, and original artwork and writings inspired by The Invention and Books Before and After the Gutenberg Bible. The research book also helps students organize, synthesize, and apply large amounts of information provided in the learning module.

Gutenberg's Invention
Subject: Language Arts
Grade Level: 4           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Unit of five 45-60 minute lessons.

Students will explore Gutenberg's invention of movable type, including the printing of the Gutenberg Bible, in order to make observations, compare ideas, and express their thoughts through webbing and written products, posters, and art, both electronically and by hand. Through this investigation, students will gain an appreciation of the writing, printing, and decorative illustration process and find inspiration and motivation to publish their own work.

Is It an Authentic Gutenberg Bible?
Subject: World Cultures
Grade Level: 6           PRINTABLE PDF

Students will be able to answer the question "Why is the invention of movable type an important invention?" Students will understand that movable type increased production of the number of books available, helped to promote literacy among many people, and was a compliment to the Renaissance and Reformation.

Search, Discover, Discuss
Subject: World Cultures
Grade Level: 6           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One class period.

To learn about Gutenberg's invention, students will search the topics in The Invention theme to answer Search and Discuss worksheet questions. Students will discuss their most interesting findings and what these findings tell them about society and technology in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance period.

The Art of Making Paper
Subjects: Art, Reading
Grade Level: 6-8           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Four 60-75 minute class periods.

To create awareness of various materials used in papermaking during the Late/Middle Ages and present day. To analyze and compare the effectiveness, cost, and value of different materials available. To familiarize students with the process of papermaking and purpose of watermarks.

Exhibiting Your Knowledge
Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies, World Cultures, English
Grade Level: 6-10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One-week collaborative team project.

Students will be introduced to museum functions by creating a traveling exhibition for their school on Gutenberg's invention and the first printed book. Museum exhibitions are the result of team efforts, and students will work in teams to research, design, and produce their exhibition.

What do you see? What do you think?
Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level: 6-10         PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One class period.

Using The Invention theme, students will learn to distinguish between making factual observations and personal interpretations when looking at objects. Analyzing and comparing a printed page from the Gutenberg Bible and a handwritten page from a 13th century manuscript Bible as objects will strengthen visual literacy as well as reveal the printer's model, marketing strategy, and consumer use, of Gutenberg's first major printing effort.

Paradigm Shift: Parallels Between the Gutenberg Bible/Printing Press Innovations and the Innovations Made Available by Personal Computers and the Internet
Subjects: English, World Geography, World History
Grade Level: 6-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 2 weeks.

The production of the Gutenberg Bible had many far-reaching implications for society. The invention of movable type allowed for the mass production and dissemination of a variety of reading materials, which produced a paradigm shift in the entire culture. Similarly, the boom of personal computers and the Internet over the past two decades has produced burgeoning amounts of information worldwide. This lesson will offer students the opportunity to juxtapose two periods in time, look for similarities and differences and long-term effects, and make predictions about future innovations.

Picture Perfect Poetry
Subjects: Language Arts, English
Grade Level: 6-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 60-90 minutes.

Students can write poetry without the restraint of rhyme, lines, and format. Students are more willing to write if they have more freedom. Self-expression through creativity is the main focus.

Illuminating American History
Subject: American History
Grade Level: 8           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One class period if computers are available in the classroom, two days if students must move to a computer lab.

Students will evaluate the effectiveness of adding visuals to printed documents by exploring The Invention pages of the Gutenberg Education Module in order to discover the purpose of illumination and rubrication in the Gutenberg Bibles. Students will use the techniques of illumination and rubrication to manipulate document excerpts from American History to make them more readable, navigable, and beautiful.

Gutenberg Press Conference
Subject: History
Grade Level: 8-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Two to three class periods.

Students will assume a role as a person from the Renaissance or a member of the press to ask and answer questions in order to determine the effects of the invention of movable type, printing, and of the Gutenberg Bible. Students will propose possible responses different individuals had to the invention and theorize some universal reactions to societal change.

Designing Illuminated Text
Subject: Art
Grade Level: 9-12           PRINTABLE PDF           *POWERPOINT PRESENTATION*
Lesson Duration: Six 45-minute class periods.

Students will study illuminated manuscripts from the Gutenberg Bible to better understand the influence of technology on art. Viewing examples of illuminated manuscripts from the Renaissance will encourage students to explore the effects of the printing press on the monetary and aesthetic value of literature and art. Finally, students will create an illuminated initial through traditional and contemporary means and discuss how their experiences might alter their opinion concerning the effect of technology on art.

Getting the Word Out: From Gutenberg's Press to Zines
Subject: Art
Grade Level: 9-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: A three-week unit of study.

Students can express their ideas about social issues by creating their own Zines while learning to use digital technology and understanding the historical significance of Gutenberg's invention.

Creating Context Mural
Subjects: English, World Literature
Grade Level: 10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One 50-minute class period and one 90-minute block period (or 2 additional 50-minute periods).

Students will understand the historical, political, religious, and cultural context of the Renaissance in Europe before they read Bertolt Brecht's Galileo.

Creating Context: The Printing Press as Impetus
Subject: World Literature
Grade Level: 10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 2 class days (90-minute block period and 50 minute period).

Answer this question: How did Gutenberg's invention of the printing press precipitate/enable (or not) the Scientific Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, Global Exploration and subsequent European Colonization, and the French and American Revolutions?

Text as Object and Art: Aesthetic Impact on Audience Reception of Books in the Early Renaissance and Today
Subject: World Literature
Grade Level: 10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One 50-minute class period.

Students will examine the role aesthetics play in the publication and proliferation of text, beginning with the world's first metal-print book. They will apply the concept of physical affectation on reader experience to literature and readers today, and they will analyze the changing trend of physical beautification of text. They will examine the varied types of information a page can communicate—information via words is just the beginning. Students will understand that, like visual arts, information is also communicated via font, structure, ink, drawings, etc.


Books Before and After The Gutenberg Bible

Create a Research Book
Subjects: Language Arts, Art, Social Studies
Grade Level: 3-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Book construction - one to three class periods. Book use - for the length of the Gutenberg lessons.

Students will create a research book in order to learn more about the production of manuscripts and books. Using a variety of media, the book will contain information, images, and original artwork and writings inspired by The Invention and Books Before and After the Gutenberg Bible. The research book also helps students organize, synthesize, and apply large amounts of information provided in the learning module.

What's The Big Deal?
Subjects: Language Arts, Social Studies
Grade Level: 5         PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 45 minutes to an hour for initial lesson with extra time to complete composition.

The student will understand the roll of the Gutenberg Press/Bible and how it changed the dissemination of knowledge. Students will write a persuasive composition, discussing which form of copying is easier to mass produce.

Where Did It Begin?
Subjects: Language Arts, Writing, Social Studies
Grade Level: 5-6         PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 3 class periods.

Students will learn to work collaboratively in groups to investigate the oldest forms of writing and the materials that were used to create these forms. In addition, students will explore the cultures that used these early forms of written communication and draw conclusions about the reasons a particular form, material, or symbol was used.

Is It an Authentic Gutenberg Bible?
Subject: World Cultures
Grade Level: 6           PRINTABLE PDF

Students will be able to answer the question "Why is the invention of movable type an important invention?" Students will understand that movable type increased production of the number of books available, helped to promote literacy among many people, and was a compliment to the Renaissance and Reformation.

The Art of Making Paper
Subject: Art
Grade Level: 6-8           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Four 60-75 minute class periods.

To create awareness of various materials used in papermaking during the Late/Middle Ages and present day. To analyze and compare the effectiveness, cost, and value of different materials available. To familiarize students with the process of papermaking and purpose of watermarks.

Paradigm Shift: Parallels Between the Gutenberg Bible/Printing Press Innovations and the Innovations Made Available by Personal Computers and the Internet
Subjects: English, World Geography, World History
Grade Level: 6-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 2 weeks.

The production of the Gutenberg Bible had many far-reaching implications for society. The invention of movable type allowed for the mass production and dissemination of a variety of reading materials, which produced a paradigm shift in the entire culture. Similarly, the boom of personal computers and the Internet over the past two decades has produced burgeoning amounts of information worldwide. This lesson will offer students the opportunity to juxtapose two periods in time, look for similarities and differences and long-term effects, and make predictions about future innovations.

How Did We Arrive at the Printed Book?
Subject: Language Arts
Grade Level: 7           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 90-minute Language Arts Block.

The learner will gain an understanding and appreciation of the printed form of text. Using cooperative learning groups, the learner will evaluate three different forms of written material, a scroll, an accordion book, and printed pages, to understand the need and demand for printed text. The learner using his/her experience in cooperative learning groups will produce a composition on how we arrived at our print book.

Illuminating American History
Subject: American History
Grade Level: 8           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One class period if computers are available in the classroom, two days if students must move to a computer lab.

Students will evaluate the effectiveness of adding visuals to printed documents by exploring The Invention pages of the Gutenberg Education Module in order to discover the purpose of illumination and rubrication in the Gutenberg Bibles. Students will use the techniques of illumination and rubrication to manipulate document excerpts from American History to make them more readable, navigable, and beautiful.

Gutenberg Press Conference
Subject: History
Grade Level: 8-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: Two to three class periods.

Students will assume a role as a person from the Renaissance or a member of the press to ask and answer questions in order to determine the effects of the invention of movable type, printing, and of the Gutenberg Bible. Students will propose possible responses different individuals had to the invention and theorize some universal reactions to societal change.

Getting the Word Out: From Gutenberg's Press to Zines
Subject: Art
Grade Level: 9-12           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: A three-week unit of study.

Students can express their ideas about social issues by creating their own Zines while learning to use digital technology and understanding the historical significance of Gutenberg's invention.

Creating Context Mural
Subjects: English, World Literature
Grade Level: 10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One 50-minute class period and one 90-minute block period (or 2 additional 50-minute periods).

Students will understand the historical, political, religious, and cultural context of the Renaissance in Europe before they read Bertolt Brecht's Galileo.

Creating Context: The Printing Press as Impetus
Subject: World Literature
Grade Level: 10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: 2 class days (90-minute block period and 50 minute period).

Answer this question: How did Gutenberg's invention of the printing press precipitate/enable (or not) the Scientific Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, Global Exploration and subsequent European Colonization, and the French and American Revolutions?

Text as Object and Art: Aesthetic Impact on Audience Reception of Books in the Early Renaissance and Today
Subject: World Literature
Grade Level: 10           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One 50-minute class period.

Students will examine the role aesthetics play in the publication and proliferation of text, beginning with the world's first metal-print book. They will apply the concept of physical affectation on reader experience to literature and readers today, and they will analyze the changing trend of physical beautification of text. They will examine the varied types of information a page can communicate—information via words is just the beginning. Students will understand that, like visual arts, information is also communicated via font, structure, ink, drawings, etc.

Sonnet Project
Subjects: English IV, British Literature
Grade Level: 12 Dual Credit           PRINTABLE PDF
Lesson Duration: One 2-3 hour weekly class or two 1 hour biweekly classes.

Through lecture, discussion, and Internet investigation, students will learn about Gutenberg's invention of movable type and its influences on society, literature, economics, religion, education, travel, trade, science, and technology. They will see images of the illuminated handwritten texts and the Gutenberg Bible, and students will demonstrate their understanding of the influences of his press by creating a product in three progressive formats: early handwritten and illuminated texts, printed texts with hand illumination, and modern computer generated texts and illumination.