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Age Range: 11-14 | 14-16
Duration: 30-59 mins
  • D&T
  • Physics

Communications Infrastructure

Learning about the infrastructure technology that keeps your phone, computer and WiFi working

This activity makes students aware that when they watch TV, or use the phone, there is a huge expensive communications infrastructure that needs to be paid for and maintained.

Living in a highly technological world, where access to information and entertainment is at our fingertips, the Inform and Entertain Me topic is a gateway to engage and introduce students to the principles and technology that form the basis for communication devices that are used in our everyday lives.

It’s one of a set of resources developed to aid the teaching of the secondary national curriculum, particularly KS3, supporting the teaching in science and design & technology (D&T).

Activity Learning about the infrastructure technology that keeps phones, computers and WiFi working

This activity gives students an understanding of the technological infrastructure that lets mobile phones and other communication devices connect to one another.

Students will first view our infrastructure presentation, which explains the various components needed for communication networks (e.g., cell towers, base stations, cables, etc.). They will then investigate online how mobile phone networks and other communications systems work.

Students must create either a flow chart or a diagram that shows how these networks operate, explaining the key steps involved in the process.

Download our activity overview for a detailed lesson plan on infrastructure.

The engineering context

We need a robust infrastructure network if we’re to connect people and businesses regardless of their location. Engineers must work to ensure fast and dependable data transmission for our TV, radio and internet signals – much of which drives the entertainment that we all enjoy. It also underpins communication and data transfer for much of our essential services besides giving us a comfortable standard of living.

Suggested learning outcomes

In this activity, students will learn about artificial and geostationary satellites and their uses. They’ll make decisions about the use of modern communications technology based on social, environmental, and economic factors.

Download our activity sheet and other teaching resources

The activity sheet includes teachers’ notes, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.

Download our classroom lesson plan and presentation below.

Please do share your highlights with us @IETeducation. 


Engineering entertainment

Communications for safety

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