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Alexander Graham Bell's design sketch of the telephone, ca. 1876.

[Detail] Alexander Graham Bell's design sketch of the telephone


Students can learn the importance of accuracy in documentation from reading Bell's journals and through a short exercise involving cooking. Have students browse the Laboratory Notebooks series of the collection, particularly the Laboratory Notes, Volume 31, 1891-1893. Students should note the details of the documentation Bell made of his experiments.

Students can then practice accurately documenting facts by taking notes during a cooking demonstration. This may be as simple as observing a parent preparing a meal. Then, have students use their notes, rather than a recipe and directions from a book, to prepare the dish themselves. After cooking from their notes, students can discuss the importance of accurate documentation.