Do you know who invented the talking doll? How about the electric vote-recorder? Would you be surprised to learn it was the same man who invented the phonograph and the electric incandescent light bulb? None other than Thomas Alva Edison, whose birthday was February 11, 1847. Here are some tips for celebrating his accomplishments:
1. Make a list of some of his 1100 patented inventions. What would the world be like without them?
2. Create an invention timeline beginning with Edison’s inventions and ending with what we use today. For instance, wax records, cassettes, CD’s…
3. Choose one of his inventions and add improvements of your own. Describe the changes you think will take place by the next century.
4. Read about Thomas Edison’s life. How much formal education did he have (the answer will shock you!)? What caused him to become deaf? Why did he receive the Distinguished Service Medal? Ask other who, what, where, when, and why questions.
4. Edison is quoted as saying that “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” What do you think that means? Do you agree with it? How did he live his life by that motto?
5. When your students are frustrated and want to give up, relate that Edison tried 10,000 unsuccessful experiments on a storage battery. Did he give up? No! He said that he had “found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Just change your approach and keep trying!
6. Have your children invent something of their own and write about it from inception of the idea to the finished results. Put the inventions around the room and have class presentations.
I hope these ideas have been useful and have ignited your own creativity.
And remember…Reading is FUNdamental!!
Freda J. Glatt, MA