Thomas Edison Timeline

Thomas Edison Timeline lesson plan

Track how Edison's inventions changed everyday life. Imagine a world without lightbulbs or sound recordings!

  • 1.

    Invite students to investigate the inventions of Thomas Edison. What years did he work? With what resources did he work? What challenges did he overcome? Find the dates and names of his major discoveries. What did his first lightbulbs, phonographs, and other items look like?

  • 2.

    Working in small groups, students a compile a list of Edison's most important inventions, and their dates, with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Students should be prepared to explain why they think their selected Edison inventions are so important.

  • 3.

    Count out one button for each invention, or make small Crayola Model Magic replicas of each one.

  • 4.

    Glue the invention buttons or replicas in a line along the top of a large paper with Crayola School Glue. Connect them with a line of Crayola Glitter Glue. Dry.

  • 5.

    Write the dates and any information that is important about each invention on the timeline with Crayola Fine Line Markers. If buttons are used, draw a picture to represent the invention. Label each one. Students title their Thomas Edison Timelines.

Standards

  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • LA: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • MATH: Represent and interpret data.
  • SCI: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.
  • SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.
  • VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Who Was Thomas Alva Edison? by Margaret Frith; Thomas Alva Edison : Young Inventor by Sabin; Thomas Edison: Young Inventor (Childhood of Famous Americans Series) by Susan Guthridge; DK Biography: Thomas Edison by Jan Adkins
  • Students research individual inventions credited to Thomas Edison and should be prepared to present their findings to classmates. After all presentations are complete, students conduct a survey to determine which of Edison's inventions has ad the most impact on their lives. Students organize the results of the survey into a graph format to illustrate the final results.
  • Encourage students to investigate what life was like when Edison was living. How did daily life compare to life today? Discuss findings in a small group setting.
  • If Edison was alive today, what type of invention might he be developing? What needs for people would he see? How would the advancements in technology affect how Edison invented items?
  • Encourage students to investigate other important inventors, events, and inventions. Create similar timelines for these people and their life accomplishments.