1. Begin the lesson by asking students what they know about stamps--do they collect stamps? Do they buy stamps? What is the purpose of a stamp?
2. Explain that, in the beginning, the cost of mailing a letter was based on the number of sheets in the letter and the distance it was traveling. Beginning in 1863, however, postage rates became based solely on weight.
3. Access the Postal Rate Commission site listed below to find out what the cost of a first-class stamp was from 1885 to the present. Notice the large increase in the past few years.
4. Have students look at the First Ladies Library Timeline and try to figure out why the price has gone so high. Hint: competition from other carriers and from e-mail!
Postal Regulatory Commission
(Select Postal Rates and Fees, then History of Rates and First Class Stamp Rates)
This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.