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Thank You, Thomas

Hear, read, write, draw and talk about scientist and inventor Thomas Alva Edison.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Share a read aloud with students, such as David A. Adler's A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison, or students may read this independently. Invite students to further investigate the outstanding genius of Thomas Alva Edison and the more than 1000 inventions he patented. Compile a class list of some of the more important inventions. How does his ingenuity affect your life?
    2. Invite students to create "Thank You, Thomas" artwork. Using Crayola® Construction Paper Crayons and black construction paper, students begin by drawing the outline of a light bulb in the center of construction paper. Encourage the use of thick lines, pressing hard with the crayon.
    3. Around the light bulb, students compose a thank you message to Edison in bold, heavy crayon. Add small "wallpaper" crayon designs in any open space.
    4. Ask students to cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Use a Crayola Paint Brush to paint the light bulb with yellow Crayola Washable Paint. Wet the paint brush with clear water and smooth the yellow paint out from the light bulb to simulate glowing light. Wet the brush again and continue the yellow wash out to the borders of the paper, across the lettering. Dry.
    5. Cut white construction paper into a wide arc with a straight top and rounded bottom (a wide lamp shade shape) with Crayola Scissors.
    6. Students decorate the lamp shade with crayon. Vary the pressure on the crayon to create lighter or deeper colors in the design.
    7. Attach the lamp shade to the light bulb picture with a line of Crayola School Glue on each side, ballooning the lamp shade out for a three-dimensional effect.
  • 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: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    SCI: Obtain and communicate information for how technology allows humans to concentrate, transport , and store energy for practical use.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Examine the effects of changing technologies on the global community.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Thomas Edison for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities by Laurie Carlson; Time For Kids: Thomas Edison: A Brilliant Inventor by Editors of TIME for Kids; Ideas That Changed the World by DK Publishing

    Students work in teams of two investigating the life of another inventor that changed the world. Include in this research project a look into the inventor's childhood, family, education, and adult professional life. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    Using recycled boxes, students work in small groups to investigate group-selected inventions that they feel have had a significant impact on their lives, or the lives of their parents. Use each side of the recycled box to paint an illustration of the invention and its inventor(s). Students also supply a brief summary paragraph (3-5 sentences) describing the invention's impact on the world.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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