This BrainPop video is an excellent introduction to the topic of Thomas Edison. The attached video could be shown to students at the beginning of a unit on electricity to introduce a man who played a vital role in the development of electricity. The video goes on to discuss Edison’s early life in Port Huron Michigan and how he only received 12 weeks of formal schooling; his mother then home schooled him until he was about 12 years old. Tim and Moby then go on to define a telegraph as a primitive telephone or radio for people to send or receive messages over long distances. The video also discusses Edison’s other inventions such as the phonograph (or Edison cylinders), a precursor to today’s x-ray machines, an improved stock ticker, the motion picture camera, and the improved version of the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Tim and Moby go on to discuss how Edison invented a way to generate electricity at central power stations and distribute through power lines. This video gives students a general overview of Thomas Edison’s life, his accomplishments, and how they impact our lives today. This video can be used as an introduction to a science or social studies unit. If it were to be used in a science lesson, it could be an introduction to electricity and the inventors. If this video were to be used in a social studies lesson, it could be an introduction to American inventors of the 19th century. After the students watch the video as a whole class or individually, they can participate in a quiz to informally evaluate their knowledge on Thomas Edison.
BrainPop: Thomas Edison