DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Would you like to mail a letter from under the sea? If so, would you deliver the letter to the underwater post office yourself or would you drop the letter in the mailbox that is located on land? Why?

According to the article, Vira Timbaci is a postal worker. One of the mailboxes he manages is underwater. Would you like to have his job? Why or why not?

Do you think the underwater post office is a good way to increase the number of tourists who travel to Vanuatu? Why or why not?

According to the article, the number of post cards mailed from Vanuatu's underwater post office goes up when cruise ships come into port. What else might increase the number of postcards sent? What might cause the number to decrease?

LESSON PLAN
Make a Postcard

PROCESS:

1. Poll the class to see how many students have ever sent a postcard to a friend. Then discuss what a postcard is. If you wish, spend time reviewing the Smithsonian's online exhibit about the history of postcards to learn more.
2. Point out that there are many differences between a postcard and a letter. These include size, cost to mail, number of sheets and the fact that letters are sent in envelopes while postcards are not. For more details, review the U.S. Postal Service's site on postcard size.
3. Encourage students to think of someplace in the world they'd like to visit. Then have them conduct research to learn more about that place.
4. Give each student a blank 3 1/2-inch x 5-inch index card. Have students lay their cards horizontally on their desks. Give them time to decorate the front of their postcards. Drawings should show the place they'd like to visit.
5. Have students flip their cards over. Tell them to draw a vertical line down the middle of their cards and three short horizontal lines to the right of that center line. If you like, they can also draw a small square in the upper right corner for the stamp.
6. Instruct students to write a brief message to a friend on the left side of the card. Have them write their friend's address on the right. If you plan to mail the cards, give each student a stamp. If not, encourage students to draw a stamp of their own.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their postcards with the class. Discuss how the decorations on the front of each postcard reflect the places students would like to visit.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Instruct students to draw a picture of something famous found in the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about that item in the message on the back of their postcards.
Instruct students to draw a picture of something famous found in the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about that item in the message on the back of their postcards. Challenge students to be as descriptive as possible in the limited space available.
Instruct students to draw a picture that reflects the landscape of the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about the landscape in the message on the back of their postcards. Challenge students to be descriptive and engaging in the limited space available.
Instruct students to draw a picture that reflects the history of the place they'd like to visit. Have them write about the history in the message on the back of their postcards. Challenge students to be informative, descriptive and engaging in the limited space available.
VISUAL RESOURCES: POLITICAL POSTCARDS
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Play on Words Design
In this activity from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students brainstorm ideas for ways to design an image that is a “play on words.” They create that image using both traditional artistic methods and computer design programs.

Letters from the Heart
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students consider ways to create positive social change. Then they write letters to share their thoughts with a larger community.

Arago: People, Postage, and the Post
This website from the National Postal Museum has resources on philately and postal operations. It offers tools for searching the Postal Museum’s collections, creating virtual collections with notes and viewing exhibits.

Fire & Ice: Hindenburg and Titanic
This online exhibition from the National Postal Museum commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Hindenburg’s fiery fall. Both luxury vessels carried mail. The stories of the disasters are illustrated with letters and postcards. The site includes lesson ideas for teachers.

These Anti-Suffragette Postcards Warned Against Giving Women the Vote
Today, people take their arguments to social media sites. But not that long ago, activists relied on a different medium: the postcard. Read this Smithsonian article to learn how both sides used postcards to share their views.

Trailblazing: 100 Years of Our National Parks
This exhibition from the National Postal Museum features a variety of objects that narrate the century-long relationship between the National Park Service and the United States Postal Service, including two postcards that have been scorched in the fissures of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano.

Lighthouse Postcards
This online collection showcases the lighthouse postcards in the Archives Center at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It includes digitized images of 272 postcards, general information on U.S. and Canadian lighthouses represented in the collection and customized nautical charts provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
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