We use cookies on our website. Find out about our cookie policy here.Continue

Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

Information Age Object Explorer Cards

  • Overview
  • Using this activity

Use these Object Explorer Cards to help students get more from a visit to our amazing Information Age gallery.

Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World explores how information and communication technologies have transformed our lives over the last 200 years. Over 800 objects tell the stories of those who have invented, operated, and were affected by each new wave of technology.

The gallery is divided into six 'Networks': Cable, Exchange, Broadcast, Constellation, Web and Cell. The cards set challenges and questions to answer in each Network. They encourage students to:

  • Assess objects based on first impressions.
  • Investigate the objects using the information given in the gallery displays.
  • Discuss topics related to these objects including how the objects relate to the science of communication networks, and how the objects have changed people’s lives.

Download the Object Explorer Cards (pdf)

Download the Teacher Notes (pdf)

We suggest allowing 30 minutes to complete the activity.

Use these cards to structure your student’s exploration of the Information Age gallery.

We suggest students work in groups of 4-5 with one or two cards per group.  Allow 30 minutes including instructions and feedback.

There are 6 cards, one for each of the six areas - Networks - showcased in the gallery:

  • The Cable Network
  • The Broadcast Network
  • The Exchange Network
  • The Constellation Network
  • The Web Network
  • The Cell Network

In the gallery students first need to find the Networks corresponding to the cards you have given them. They should then look for the objects featured on their cards.

Each card holds the same set of questions:

First impressions

  • Take a look at the object, but don’t read any labels. Discuss in your group three things you notice about the object. 
  • Does it remind you of anything? 
  • What do you think this object was used for? What makes you think that? 


  • Explore the labels and surrounding objects to discover more about this object. 
  • What is this object? What was it used for? 
  • The Science Museum thinks this object is important and has put it on display. How important do you think it is? 


  • Which part of a communication network do you think this object belongs to? Is it a transmitter, receiver or both? 


  • How do you think this object has changed people’s lives? 


  • Think about the objects, stories and technology in this communication network. Pick three words to describe the network. 


  • These questions differ for each object.

Questions to ask students while they carry out the activity

Use the following facilitation questions to support students while they are exploring the gallery, to help bring to life the objects' stories and their roles in the communication process:

  • Describe what you see…
  • What does it look like?
  • Does it remind you of anything? 
  • Is it old or new? Why do you think that?
  • What material do you think it is made from? What are its properties? 
  • How could the material’s properties be linked to the object’s use? 
  • What sort of person might use this object? 
  • Are there any links from this object to communication technology you use today?

Before the visit

To make the most of the visit students will need to be familiar with these concepts:

  • All communication networks are made up of three parts: a transmitter, a signal and a receiver.
  • Communication networks send and receive information using invisible electromagnetic waves which are a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Electromagnetic waves have different frequencies and wavelengths which affect how much information can be sent, and how far.
    Low frequency = small quantities of information; high frequency = lots of information
    Short wavelength = short distance; long wavelength = long distance