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History of Printing

Brief Description

Students use the library's printed and online sources to create timelines of the history of printing, then write a two-page paper comparing the historical impact of the printing press and the Internet.


  • Students learn about the history of printing and the impact of the printing press and the Internet.
  • Students sequence in chronological order historical events about printing and the printing press.
  • Students use critical thinking to compare printing press and Internet.


Rag paper, scribal hand-copying, Johannes Gutenberg, Gutenberg Bible, printing press, Internet, timeline

Materials Needed

  • computers with Internet access and word processing, printouts from the online sources listed in the Lesson Plan, library reference books, and online databases.
  • paper
  • pens or pencils

Lesson Plan

  1. Ask students to define the term timeline and give examples of information that appears in timelines.
  2. Introduce China's rag paper and Western Europe's Gutenberg press, and tell students that they will each create a timeline about the history of printing.
  3. Each student will also write a two-page paper comparing the historical impact of the printing press to the impact of the Internet.
  4. The following are useful Web sites:


The quality of students' work can be assessed by the following rubric:

  • Three points: The student develops a timeline that includes a majority of the major historical events in the history of printing. Student develops a well-written two-page paper comparing the printing press to the Internet (using electronic and reference sources).
  • Two points: The student creates a timeline with little attention to detail. The student develops a written paper with sweeping, generalized responses that fail to reference historical facts.
  • One point: The student makes an attempt to create a timeline and two-page paper, but fails to create a well-developed project.

    If students fail to complete any of the assignment, they should receive no points.

National Standards

  • English
    • Evaluation Strategies
    • Evaluating Data
    • Developing Research Skills

  • World History
    • The emergence of the first global age, 1450-1770

  • Technology
    • Technology communication tools
    • Technology research tools