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Blueprints for Biography

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B lueprints for B iography steM s eries y oung t hoMas e dison
B lueprints for B iography steM s eries y oung t hoMas e dison

young thoMas edison

BLUEPRINTS FOR BIOGRAPHY

Young Thomas Edison

Blueprint developed by:

BENJAMIN HARDY EMILY WERNSDORFER ANN ROBINSON

Blueprints for Biography Young Thomas Edison

March 2015

Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education University of Arkansas at Little Rock 2801 South University, SUA Rm. 101 Little Rock, Arkansas 72204 http://ualr.edu/gifted

Credits:

Ann Robinson, Ph.D. Director, Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education

Blueprints Coordinator: Krista M. Smith Writers: Benjamin Hardy and Emily Wernsdorfer Cover & Layout: Krista M. Smith

Blueprints for Biography are dedicated to Maxine Robinson master teacher, perfect mother.

acknowledgeMents

Blueprints for Biography combine the twin interests of biography as a means of investigating talent development and as a lively curriculum art.

The decision to create a series of curriculum materials based on biographies written for children and young adults was influenced by very marvelous people along the way.

First, I was born into a “reading family.” Books were everywhere in our home. My mother, Maxine Robinson, and my father, Frank Robinson, were avid, enthusiastic and completely open-minded readers. They modeled the intense curiosity that can be satisfied by reading widely and thinking carefully about what one reads. Trips to the Platte County Library were an almost daily event throughout my childhood and adolescence.

Second, I had the good fortune to find myself in a doctoral program at Purdue University. My major professor and lifelong mentor, John Feldhusen, was a voracious reader of biographies. He introduced me to the joys of examining a life in print, whether for scholarly investigation or for leisure.

Ann Robinson

Little Rock, Arkansas

contents

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Introduction for Teachers

6

About Blueprints for Biography

8

About the Person

13

About the Book

15

Discussion Questions

16

P- Quad: Portrait Study

21

P- Quad: Prompt for Writing

24

P- Quad: Primary Source Analysis

30

P- Quad: Point-of-View Analysis

38

Experimentation

42

Additional Resources

50

Glossary

52

References

54

Feedback Form

55

introduction for teachers

Hello, and welcome to Blueprints for Biography. If you are new to Blueprints, please read this brief introductory section before continuing.

What are Blueprints for Biography?

Blueprints are guides for teachers and students engaged in the study of a specific biography. The Blueprint you are reading is a part of the STEM Starters series (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). STEM Starters Blueprints introduce readers in the elemenary grades to the lives of some of history’s most influential and memorable scientists and inventors. By supplementing quality biographies written for children with targeted discussion questions and relevant activities, we hope to provide teachers with the means to bring both history and science alive for young students. Blueprints are developed at the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Who is the audience for this Blueprint?

This Blueprint is designed for primary level teachers whose students are reading Young Thomas Edison by Michael Dooling. The biography and its accompanying Blueprint activities are suitable for fluent, advanced readers in elementary school.

How can this Blueprint be integrated into the curriculum?

Young Thomas Edison could be integrated into a unit of study on physics, math, or the history of scince. This Blueprint emphasizes themes of independence, nonconformity, intellectual creativity, and individual worth.

What kinds of lessons are included in a Blueprint?

All Blueprints include discussion questions based on a specific trade book and extension activities called P-Quads. Each Blueprint in the STEM series also contains a classroom science experiment related to the person in the biography. Each is outlined below.

Discussion Questions. The discussion questions for a Blueprint are divided into three sections (Robinson, 2006). The first set of questions, BEFORE THE BOOK, focuses students’ attention on the biography to be read and asks them to make predictions. The second set of questions, BY THE BOOK, includes reading comprehension, vocabulary study, and textual and graphic analysis. The third set of questions, BEYOND THE BOOK, emphasizes an understanding of talent development and encourages connections to the reader’s life.

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introduction for teachers

P-Quads. P-Quads are four types of activities, so named because each begins with the letter “P” (Robinson & Cotabish, 2005). The activities selected as P-Quads focus on skills important to understanding and appreciating non-fiction texts such as biography.

The first P-Quad is a PORTRAIT STUDY. Whether the portrait is painted, engraved or photographic, rich comparisons can be made between a biography and a portrait of the same individual. Portrait Study is best used as group activity, and is accompanied by suggestions to assist teachers in utilizing these tools.

The second P-Quad is a PROMPT FOR WRITING. Prompts in the Blueprints emphasize persuasive writing because of its importance throughout life and because persuasive writing is especially relevant to non-fiction reading. This P-Quad is accompanied by a rubric to assist teachers in grading student responses.

The third P-Quad is a PRIMARY-SOURCE ANALYSIS. The use of primary sources, documents or artifacts written or created at the time of an event, is a means of developing historical thinking and habits of mind in learners. The primary source may be a document such as a letter, diary entry, newspaper article or cartoon of the period. Other primary sources are photographs, artifacts, maps, posters, and sound recordings. Primary-Source Analysis is best used as a group activity and is accompanied by suggestions to assist teachers in utilizing these tools.

The fourth P-Quad is a POINT-OF-VIEW ANALYSIS. Biography often involves controversy, conflict and complex situations. Point-of-view activities encourage learners to use critical thinking and empathy whether they are considering the perspectives of different people or investigating multiple interpretations of an individual historical event. This P-Quad is accompanied by a rubric to assist teachers in grading student responses.

Experimentation. A classic science experiment is included with each Blueprint in the STEM series. These experiments should not be thought of as stand-alone lessons. Rather, they are intended to complement the reading of the biography by allowing students to step into the shoes of the scientist aboutwhom they have learned. Whenever possible, the subject of the experiment reflects a theme, concept, or invention presented in the book itself. Teachers are encouraged to integrate the lessons communicated by the biography and the other Blueprint sections into the teaching of the experiment as well.

Other Information. Each Blueprint also contains:

• a biographical sketch of the person about whom the biography is written

• an annotation of the biography

• a list of additional resources for the teacher to consult

• a glossary of literary and historical terms

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aBout Blueprints for Biography

no

species of writing seems more worthy of cultivation than biography, since none can be more

delightful or more useful, none can more certainly enchain the heart by irresistible interest, or more widely diffuse instruction to every diversity of condition. —Samuel Johnson, Rambler No. 60

Why should students read biographies?

According to C.N. Parke, biography combines “the solid satisfaction of facts with the shaping pleasures of the imagination” (1996, pp. xiii). It is the writing of a life, as its Greek roots reveal—bio for life and graph for writing. Because biography combines imaginative literary elements with historical methods, life writing is emotionally rich, intellectually challenging, and multidisciplinary. By examining a life, students learn about a real person in an historical time and place, but they also learn about themselves. The subjects of biographies can provide role models for their readers. Because biographies often focus on the challenges faced by people, this kind of reading helps students to recognize and solve problems of their own. Biography can teach “life lessons,” and well-written biographies teach “life lessons” in exciting and compelling ways. Biographies are a favorite choice of adult readers; biographies written for children will ignite interests in younger readers, too.

How have biographies been used with high-ability learners in the past?

Biography has a documented history in the field of gifted education. For example, the famous Terman studies included a research volume by Catharine Cox (1926) based on the analysis of three hundred and one biographies of eminent figures in history. Insights on the development of talent over the course of a person’s life were drawn by a team of researchers reading the biographies.

In terms of school programs and services, Leta Hollingworth used biography “to enrich the curriculum of the elementary school, for young, intellectually gifted children” as early as 1923. Funded by the Carnegie Corporation, Hollingworth worked with two classes of high- ability students in New York City to investigate how young learners pursued their studies and how they benefited from the study of biography in the elementary school (Hollingworth,

1926).

Hollingworth’s students, who were eight to ten years old, organized much of their own instruction. After an introduction to the meaning of biography in the fall of the year, children began spring discussions of their self-selected biographies every Tuesday morning for forty minutes. Two biographies were considered each week and managed by a committee of children elected by the class.

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aBout Blueprints for Biography

Children selected their own biographies; however, Hollingworth noted that children did not tend to choose outside the fields of “warfare, government and mechanical invention” when left without guidance. Therefore, she provided a list of possible individuals for biographical investigation and spent time and money to acquire a classroom library.

Instruction was organized like a seminar with children reading or reporting orally on their biographical figure and leading a discussion. Student questions were so numerous that the class instituted a box for questions not addressed during the time allotted for the seminar. After working with students for a year, Hollingworth decided that one hour per week for a year should be devoted to the study of biography with high-ability learners.

How can a teacher use Blueprints in the classroom?

Blueprints are adaptable to a variety of instructional arrangements in the classroom. They may be used with individual learners, with small groups, or with a whole class of learners.

Study Guide or Gloss for Independent Reading. An individual student with an

intense interest can be guided toward specific biographies for reading outside the classroom or as part of an independent reading program. The discussion questions of the Blueprint can be provided to the student as he or she reads independently. The questions include three

sections: BEFORE THE BOOK, BY THE BOOK and BEYOND THE BOOK.

Each section is separate

to allow teachers to pace individually guided instruction. Teachers can also schedule an individual reading conference to follow up with students or can assign particular questions to be answered in writing as part of a reading journal.

Learning Centers. Biographies enrich learning centers, and the discussion questions and activities included in a Blueprint can be placed on task cards for a center. The P-Quad extension activities found in a Blueprint focus on four general areas: PROMPTS FOR WRITING, POINT-OF-VIEW ANALYSIS, PORTRAIT STUDY, and PRIMARY SOURCE ANALYSIS, including the analysis of photographs. Lessons include reproducible prompts and facsimiles of primary sources.

Reading buddies or reading dyads. Teachers can include biographies as part of the reading buddy program in which pairs of students take turns reading aloud and asking questions of one another. Again, the discussion sections, BEFORE THE BOOK, BY THE BOOK and BEYOND THE BOOK, can be used to guide student questions and answers.

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aBout Blueprints for Biography

Silent Sustained Reading. A good selection of biographies can be part of the classroom Silent Sustained Reading program (known also as Drop Everything and Read). The biographies for which Blueprints are developed were selected for their merit and provide choices for students casting about for something interesting to read. Busy teachers can use the Blueprints series as a source for promising titles for their classroom libraries.

Small-group instruction. Blueprints can be used by the teacher for small-group instruction in reading or in social studies. The questions can be used by the teacher as he or she leads a discussion of a book all students have read. Prompts can be used to develop children’s writing skills, particularly in the area of persuasive writing which is often included on state accountability exams. Blueprint PROMPTS FOR WRITING provides students with opportunities to develop expertise in organizing their thoughts and using evidence to support their arguments.

Whole-class instruction. Blueprints are developed for biographies available in paperback for reasonable prices as well as for hard cover texts. The reasonably-priced biographies can be used as class sets just as easily as fictional paperbacks in a whole-class setting. In addition, the P-Quads focused on point-of-view analysis and primary sources can be implemented in small groups or with the whole class.

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How does this Blueprint align to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards?

This Blueprint aligns to the following Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards. The information in parentheses lists which activity in the Blueprint fulfills that standard.

Next Generation Science Standards

NGSS 3PS2-2: Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future movement. (Experimentation)

NGSS 4PS3-4: Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. (Experimentation)

NGSS 5ESS1: Earth’s place in the universe. (Experimentation)

Science and Engineering Practices: Asking questions and defining problems; Planning and carrying out investigations; Constructing explanations and designing solutions; Engaging in argument from evidence. (Experimentation)

Crosscutting Concepts: Energy and Matter; Cause and Effect; Patterns; Scale, Proportion, and Quantity. (Experimentation)

English Language Arts Common Core State Standards

CCSSELA-Literacy W.2.1; W.3.1; W.4.1; W.5.1: Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section. (Point of View)

CCSSELA-Literacy W.3.3; W.4.3; W.5.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. (Prompt Writing)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 2.3 & 3.3: Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. (Primary Source Analysis)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 4.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in a text. (Primary Source Analysis)

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aBout Blueprints for Biography

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided. (Primary Source Analysis)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 5.3: Explain the relationship or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text. (Primary Source Analysis)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 5.6: Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent. (Primary Source Analysis)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 4.1: Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 4.3: Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 4.6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 5.1: Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inference from the text. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 5.3: Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text. (Discussion questions)

CCSSELA-Literacy RI 5.6: Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent. (Discussion questions)

Math Common Core State Standards

CCSS.Math.MP.2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (Experimentation)

CCSS.Math.MP.3: Use appropriate tools strategically. (Experimentation)

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aBout the person

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison, 1847–1931

Thomas Edison’s career as an inventor and scientist began in early childhood. Although he received no formal education, Edison possessed precocious entrepreneurial ambitions and an endless fascination with technology from a very young age. By his early twenties, he had moved from his boyhood home in Michigan to the East Coast and began working full-time as a self-described “freelance inventor”.

His technical experimentation first resulted in commercial success with an improved version of the stock ticker, followed by improvements to the design of the telegraph. However, it was the invention of the phonograph in 1877 that made him famous among the general public and earned him the nickname “the Wizard of Menlo Park” (Edison’s laboratory at this point in his life was located in the small town of Menlo Park, New Jersey).

Today, Edison is probably best remembered for his electric light bulb, which he developed in tandem with the other technical components necessary to create a complete electricity generation and current delivery system – the foundations of the power grid that now delivers energy around the globe. He also created the first movie studio, the alkaline storage battery, and over a thousand other patented inventions. However, many historians today think that Edison’s most influential innovation was his research laboratory.

Edison was among the first to hire large numbers of professional craftsmen and scientists to work systematically on research and development projects. Such methods have since been incorporated into industrial and scientific operations around the world and have led to countless technological innovations in every field of science and engineering.

The peak of Edison’s career coincided with the so-called “Gilded Age” in American history, when the nation’s economic, political and cultural life were largely defined by the actions of aggressive industrialists and financiers such as John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt. Edison was continually in the employ of multiple business interests who financed his research in hopes of achieving commercially viable products.

Edison himself was as much a businessman as he was an inventor and was always striving to make his creations more profitable and successful. Intensely competitive, he and his assistants would “race” to complete new inventions ahead of rival laboratories by working for weeks at a time with only brief periods of rest.

Some critics of his legacy note that Edison’s work drew heavily from the inventions and discoveries of other inventors, which led to numerous legal battles concerning his patents;

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aBout the person

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Thomas Alva Edison, 1847–1931 continued

also, many inventions patented by Edison were developed at least partly through the unacknowledged intellectual labor of his employees.

Edison’s name became synonymous with “genius” in his lifetime, but he always insisted that his achievements were the product of hard work and persistence in the face of constant setbacks rather than any sort of extraordinary intellectual ability. He died in 1931 at age 84, leaving behind his second wife, Mina, and six children.

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aBout the Book

Title:

Young Thomas Edison

Author:

Michael Dooling

Illustrator: Michael Dooling

Publisher:

Holiday House, Inc.

Date:

2005

Subjects:

Thomas Edison

Length:

40 pages

Annotation:

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Young Thomas Edison focuses on the inventor’s childhood in the Midwest. In touching on the best known episodes from Edison’s early life, this biography explores the aspects of its subject’s character that would grow to define his legendary career: his passion for science and self-education, his entrepreneurship, and his indomitable persistence in the face of setbacks along the way. Although the book concentrates on Edison as a boy, it also provides brief descriptions of the groundbreaking inventions that made him a household name. The story is illustrated with realistic, beautifully-rendered paintings in oil.

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Before the Book

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

1. Most of Thomas Edison’s inventions were related to electricity. In his time, people were

just beginning to discover how to use this powerful force. Do you use electricity in your daily life? List at least five things in your home that use electric power and try to include

something from each room in your house.

Yes, we use electricity in our daily lives today. Answers will vary.

2. As a boy, Edison was fascinated with performing experiments. What is an experiment?

Why do people perform experiments?

An experiment is a series of scientific tests that a person performs so that he or she can learn something about the world. Experiments tell us whether our ideas about the world are correct or not.

3. This book is called “Young Thomas Edison” because it focuses on Edison as a boy and a

young man. Why might a biography focus on a person’s early life?

A biography might focus on a person’s childhood because understanding the experiences and personality of a person as a child can teach us about the person when they are grown.

4. The text on the inside front sleeve describes Edison as “America’s greatest inventor and

entrepreneur”. What is an entrepreneur? How might being an inventor help someone to also become an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is someone who starts their own business. An inventor might start a business to sell the things he or she invents.

5. One of Edison’s most famous quotes is that “genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-

nine percent perspiration.” Explain this quote. Do you agree with it?

This quote means that much hard work and persistence is required to create extraordinary new things. “Genius” is more about dedication and hard work than it is about having a single brilliant idea. Answers will vary.

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By the Book

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

1. As a boy, “Al” did not do well in school. What were two reasons why? What happened as

a result of his poor schoolwork? Do you think Al was happy with this outcome? Why or why not?

Al did poorly in school because he had hearing problems, because he tended to daydream, and because school moved too slowly for him. As a result, his teacher considered him “addled”, or not very bright. This led Al’s mother to teach him lessons at home instead. Al very much enjoyed reading and learning on his own, so it is likely he was happy to stay home from school.

2. What was Al’s first business, and where did it operate? How did he later expand this

business?

Al’s first business was selling newspapers on the train that ran from Port Huron (where his family lived) to Detroit, Michigan, the Grand Trunk Railway. He later began selling fruits and candies to passengers on the train and eventually began printing his own paper, which he called The Weekly Herald.

3. Even though Al began working at an early age, he continued to educate himself. How

did he use his business to further his self-education? What accident put a stop to his job?

Al used the money he earned to continue his experiments. Because he worked on a train that traveled to Detroit, he also spent hours each day reading at the city library and performing experiments in a laboratory that he installed in a train car. His job ended when a bottle of phosphorus – a chemical that will easily catch on fire – exploded and started a fire on the train.

4. As a teenager, Al worked as a telegraph operator and learned Morse code, a type of

alphabet made of long and short taps. The telegraph was the first device that allowed people

to send messages over long distances, and in Al’s time it had become extremely popular. Why do you think people found it to be so important?

The telegraph was extremely important because it allowed people to communicate over long distances.

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By the Book

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

5. Towards the end of the book, the author stops calling the main character “Al” and

begins calling him “Thomas” instead. Why does the author do this? What changes happen in Al’s life around this time? What does the name change suggest about Al at this point in his

life?

 

The author begins referring to Edison by his first name at the point in the plot when he moves to Boston, Massachusetts to begin his career as an inventor. The book tells us that Edison himself began using his first name at that point in his life. The name change suggests that the character is growing up and is no longer a child.

6.

According to the book, who was the most influential person in Thomas Edison’s early

life? How did this person encourage him? Do you think he would have become an inventor without this person? Why or why not?

Edison’s mother was probably the biggest influence on his early life. She taught him to ask questions constantly, such as “What is this? Why does that happen? How does it happen?” Answers to the last questions will vary.

7. Read about the inventions described on the last several pages of the book. Do any

of the devices shown look like things you use in your everyday life? Pick one invention and describe how the modern-day version of the device is different from Edison’s version.

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Answers will vary.

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Beyond the Book

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

1. Considering his interests as a child, do you think Edison was happy as an adult? Why or

why not?

Because he loved to experiment and learn, it is likely that Edison was happy as an adult. He was able to turn his passion for science into a career as an inventor.

2. Edison’s experiments usually did not work right at first. How did he respond to his own

failures? Do you think it is common for scientists to try many different solutions to a problem

before they find one that works?

When his experiments went poorly, Edison would always keep trying. He never gave up, even when faced with disappointments. Scientists almost always have to try many different solutions before they solve a problem.

3. Edison began losing his hearing as a young boy and was almost deaf by the time he

reached his mid-twenties. How did this affect his life? In what ways can a disability in one

area encourage a person to improve in another area? Give at least one example.

Edison said that his hearing loss let him “tune out the world”, which helped him to concentrate. This may have made him an even better scientist. People with other disabilities often compensate by learning new skills – for example, people who are blind may learn to hear extremely well, and people without the use of their legs may develop greater upper-body strength. Answers will vary.

4. The telegraph is no longer used anywhere in the US because it has become obsolete,

meaning that it has been replaced by better technology. What do we use today for long- distance communication? Why are these methods better than the telegraph? Does the fact that the telegraph is now obsolete mean that it was not actually an important invention? Why or why not?

Today, we use the telephone and the internet for most of our long-distance communication. These methods allow spoken or written language to be sent directly from person to person, rather than requiring Morse code. However, the telegraph was still a very important invention because it greatly affected history during the period when it was widely used. It also helped better technologies (such as the telephone and internet) to be later developed.

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Beyond the Book

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

5. If Thomas Edison were a young boy today, how do you think his life would be

different? Do you think he would be experimenting with telegraphs and chemicals, or would he instead be experimenting with something different? What sort of things might he be

interested in? Why?

If he were a boy in our world, Edison would probably be more interested in newer, “cutting edge” sciences. He might be interested in studying computers and other digital devices, robotics, biotechnology, nanotechnology, or green energy.

6. When electric lights were introduced, many people thought that electricity was too

dangerous to be used in their homes and other buildings. Edison helped to create a system of wiring that made electricity safe for home use. However, today we have other concerns about electricity – specifically, we are worried about how our use of energy may be harming

the planet. What are these concerns? What are scientists today doing to improve the way we use energy?

Today, we are concerned that our use of energy is polluting the air and causing global warming. Scientists are working on ways of creating energy that cause less pollution and are less harmful to the earth.

7. Think again about what it means to be an entrepreneur and what it means to be an

inventor. Edison was both, but not all inventors are also entrepreneurs. Likewise, not all entrepreneurs are inventors. Create a Venn diagram listing qualities you would expect to find in an inventor and those you would expect to find in an entrepreneur.

Answers for inventor may include: curiosity, science ability, math skills, a love of reading, being good with tools. Answers for entrepreneur may include:

ambition, willfulness, being good with people. Answers for both may include:

creativity, persistence, intelligence.

CCSS alignment: This activity fulfills guidelines of the CCSS. See pages 11–12.

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NAME:

portrait study

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

This famous photograph of Thomas Edison appeared in the New York Times in 1888 while the inventor was working on improving the phonograph. Edison had been working without sleep for three days straight when the picture was taken! Analyze this portrait by answering the prompts on the following page.

portrait by answering the prompts on the following page. Courtesy of U.S. Department of the Interior,

Courtesy of U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Edison National Historic Site. Image retrieved July 9, 2009 from http://www.nal.usda.gov/exhibits/speccoll/items/show/1070

Portrait Study, designed at the Jodie MahonCenter for Gifted Education is adapted from Morris, S., Teacher’s Guide to Using Portraits, English Heritage, 1989.

May be reproduced for classroom use only

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portrait study

FACE Explain the person’s facial expression or mood.
FACE
Explain the person’s
facial expression
or mood.

AROUND THE PORTRAIT

As you look all around the portrait, what details or ideas do you see?

CLUES

Think about the biography you just read. In what ways does the information in the portrait add to your understanding of the person?

EXCITING NEWS!

What did you learn from studying this portrait?

FACE created by Dr. Christine Deitz.

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portrait study for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

The act of studying portraiture encourages students to think of the subject of a biography as

a real human being. Students should first be introduced to the idea of a portrait as a study

of a particular person. A person who poses for a portrait is called “the sitter.” But a portrait

is more than a picture of the sitter – it is about that person and who he or she really is. A portrait should capture something special about the sitter and his or her life. One could think of a biography as a kind of portrait in words (or, one could think of a portrait as a kind of biography in picture form).

It should be explained to students that studying the portrait of the subject of a biography can give us a better understanding of the person. Sometimes, a picture can express something about a person that words cannot. Also, taking a long and thoughtful look at a picture can provide us with information that we might miss otherwise. Encourage students to draw connections between the book they have read and the portrait they are investigating.

The FACE portrait analysis tool on the preceding page is intended to be used as part of a classroom discussion. If possible, project the image onto a screen for the entire class to see. Instruct students to stand up and assume the pose of the sitter for fifteen seconds (including his or her facial expression, perhaps). Then, use the FACE method to discuss the portrait.

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

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proMpt for writing

Blueprints for Biography

NAME:

Choose one of the two prompts below:

Young Thomas Edison

A. Today, Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory in New Jersey have been turned into

a museum. Imagine the museum is trying to pick one of Edison’s inventions to highlight as the single most important of his career. Write a letter to the directors of the museum persuading them to pick the invention of your choice. You may choose the electric light, the phonograph, the movie studio, or research a different invention at http://edison.rutgers.edu/ inventions.htm

B. Imagine you are Thomas Edison living in the 1880s. You are touring the country to

show off your new electric light and you are trying to convince a group of citizens that their town needs electricity. Some of the people are very skeptical of your ideas and think electricity is too dangerous to have in their homes. Persuade them by describing the benefits of electricity, especially electric lighting.

24

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

proMpt for writing

NAME:

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

25

proMpt for writing

Blueprints for Biography

NAME:

Young Thomas Edison

26

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

proMpt for writing

NAME:

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

27

proMpt for writing for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Students’ responses to the first prompt may take either position. Responses to the second prompt should give specific details about traits, activities, or accomplishments of the person the student chooses. The teacher may wish to require students to choose someone who embodies a positive quality. The following rubric may also assist in evaluating writing responses.

Category

4: Above Standards

3: Meets

2: Approaching Standards

1: Below

Standards

Standards

Position

The student shows a clear understanding of both sides of the issue and demonstrates some sympathy towards both.

The student shows general understanding of both sides of the issue.

The student shows some understanding of both sides of the issue.

The student shows understanding of only one side of the issue or of neither side.

and

Perspective

Point-of-

The response is consistently written in character for both points-of-view.

The response is mostly written in character.

The response is sometimes written in character, or only one of the two positions is written in character.

The student

View

does not

adopt a

 

character’s

 

point-of-view

for either

position.

CCSS alignment: This activity fulfills guidelines of the CCSS. See pages 11–12.

28

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

proMpt for writing for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Category

4: Above Standards

3: Meets

2: Approaching Standards

1: Below

Standards

Standards

Support

The student provides at least one clear and compelling argument or piece of supporting evidence for both positions. One or both of the positions directly address points that are raised by the opposing position.

The student provides at least one argument or piece of evidence for both positions.

The student provides arguments or evidence for only one position.

The student does not include compelling arguments for either position.

for

Arguments

Sentence

All sentences are well-constructed, and there is some variation in sentence structure.

Most sentences are well-

About half the sentences are

Most sentences

Structure

constructed.

well-constructed.

are not well- constructed.

Grammar

The student makes no more than one error in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.

The student

The student makes 4-5 distracting errors in grammar or spelling.

The student makes 5 or more distracting errors in grammar or spelling.

&

makes 2-3

Spelling

distracting

errors in

grammar or

spelling.

 

Caitalization

The student makes no more than one error in capitalization or punctuation that distract the reader from the content.

The student

The student makes 4-5 distracting errors in capitalization or punctuation

The student makes more than 5 distracting errors in capitalization or punctuation

&

makes 2-3

Punctuation

distracting

errors in

capitalization

or punctuation

 
 

.

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

29

priMary source analysis 1

priMary source analysis 1

Blueprints for Biography

NAME:

Young Thomas Edison

The book mentions that Edison was nicknamed “the Wizard” for the inventions produced in his laboratory, because people found them so incredible. The phonograph particularly amazed the public. The announcement that Edison had created a “talking machine” made him famous across the world.

The National Park Service has preserved some of the earliest recordings of the phonograph. The audio clips found at the links below are from early phonograph recordings created by Edison and his staff. Read the information on the website about both clips. Then, listen carefully to the recordings.

Choose one of these clips below and answer the questions on the following page.

A. “After Dinner Toast at Little Menlo” – this is one of the earliest sound recordings ever

made! http://www.nps.gov/edis/photosmultimedia/very-early-recorded-sound.htm

B. “Electricity and Progress” – this clip contains Thomas Edison himself giving a speech on

technology and its role in the United States at the turn of the century. http://www.nps.gov/

edis/photosmultimedia/documentary-recordings-and-political-speeches.htm

30

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

NAME:

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Step 1. Pre-listening

A. Whose voices will you hear on this recording?

B. When and where was this recording made? Please be specific?

Step 2. Listening

A. How would you describe the quality of this recording?

B. What is the tome or mood of this recording?

Step 3. Inference and Questions

A. What do you think Dr. Carver is saying to his students?

B. Both of these recordings express opinions about technology. What does the speaker

think of the new inventions made during Edison’s time?

C.

Write a question.

r classroom use only

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31

priMary source analysis 2

priMary source analysis 2

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

A patent is a document that proves a particular device was invented by a particular person. It tells us who owns an invention. Without a patent, another person could steal an inventor’s idea. So, when an inventor creates a new device, he or she asks the government for a patent so that he or she can prove that the invention was really his or her idea. Examine the original patent application for Thomas Edison’s light bulb on the following pages and answer the questions below. A larger image of the patents can be found at http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc_large_image.php?doc=46;

at http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc_large_image.php?doc=46; Records of the Patent and Trademark Office; Record Group

Records of the Patent and Trademark Office; Record Group 241; National Archives. Retrieved from http://www.ourdocuments.gov on May 20, 2009

32

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

use only. Blueprints for Biography Young Thomas Edison Records of the Patent and Trademark Office; Record

Records of the Patent and Trademark Office; Record Group 241; National Archives. Retrieved from http://www.ourdocuments.gov on May 20, 2009

May be reproduced for classroom use only

33

priMary source analysis 2

Blueprints for Biography

NAME:

Young Thomas Edison

Step 1. Observation

A.

Study the document for two minutes to gather as many details about the patent as

possible.

B. On what date was this invention patented? In which state was the patent granted?

C. Is the patent typed, handwritten, or both? Describe the appearance of the writing.

Step 3. Inference and Questions

A.

Look at the pictures on both pages. On which page are the pictures used mostly for

decoration? What is the purpose of the pictures on the other page?

B. How does Edison’s light bulb look different from the ones in your home today?

C.

Write at least one question that this document brings to mind. Where could you find an

answer to this question?

34

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

priMary source analysis for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Primary sources are valuable instructional tools for many reasons. Historical artifacts – whether written documents, videos, photographs, or some other objects or pieces of media – allow students to connect with the past in an immediate way. When used to supplement a biography, primary sources can breathe life into the subject of the biography, transforming him or her from simply another character in a book into a real person. Focusing on a primary source also encourages observation and inference on the part of students.

The worksheets on the preceding pages are intended to be used as part of a classroom discussion. Words on the worksheets such as “infer” may need to be defined for students beforehand. If using the sound recording(s), the teacher should play the recording(s) for the entire class. If using the patent of Edison’s light bulb, the teacher should project the image onto a screen for the class to view.

Students should be encouraged to “think as historians” in order to gather information from the primary-source document and answer the questions as a group. (The attention of the classroom should not be limited to the source document itself, as the document’s captions may also include relevant information.)

Finally, if teachers are interested in including more primary-source material to further supplement the biography, many other photographs and documents about Thomas Edison are available online at the sources listed under the “Additional Resources” section at the end of this Blueprint. Further information about teaching with primary source documents can be found at the National Archives at http://www.archives.gov/education

CCSS alignment: This activity fulfills guidelines of the CCSS. See pages 11–12.

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

35

priMary source analysis for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Transcripts of Audio Clips

Audio Clip A

The following partial transcript of “After Dinner Toast at Little Menlo” is provided by the NPS. The speaker is the British composer Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan), co-author of comic operas such as The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.

of this evening’s experiment—astonished at the wonderful power you have developed, and terrified at the thought that so much hideous and bad music may be put on record forever. But all the same, I think it is the most wonderful thing that I have ever

experienced, and I congratulate you with all my heart on this wonderful discovery.”

For myself, I can only say that I am astonished and somewhat terrified at the results

Audio Clip B

The following was transcribed by the Center for Gifted Education from “Electricity and Progress”. The speaker is Thomas Edison. Edison references Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph, and Cyrus W. Field, the businessman responsible for laying the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1858. Field’s endeavor would have been well known to the audience that Edison is here addressing.

News of Field’s successful transatlantic telegraph brought great public celebration in 1858 (the “jubilee” Edison mentions) – and, only a few weeks later, great public disappointment upon the cable’s rapid deterioration and failure. A durable, practical transatlantic line was not installed until 1866. Edison references these events because they were seen as ranking among the most significant technological milestones of the 19th century.

“Ladies and gentlemen—those of us who began our love labors at the operator’s key 50 years ago have been permitted to see and assist in the whole modern industrial development of electricity. Since the remarkable experiments of Morse in 1844 and the unsuccessful efforts of Field in 1858, there have come with incredible rapidity one electrical art after another—so that in practically every respect, civilization has been revolutionized.

It is still too early to stand outside these events and pronounce final judgment on their lasting value. But we may surely entertain the belief that the last half of the 19th century was as distinct in its electrical inventions and its result as the first half was in relation to steam. The lesson of the jubilee of the Atlantic cable of 1858 is one of encouragement

36

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priMary source analysis for teachers

to all who would add to the resources of our race and extend our control over the forces of nature. Never was failure more complete, never was higher courage shown, never was triumph more brilliant than that which since 1866 has kept the old world forged alongside the new by …cables of steel and copper, the family prize of the civilized world.

When I look around at the resources of the electrical field today as shown in this exhibition, I feel that I would be glad to begin again my work as an electrician, and inventor – and we veterans can only urge upon our successors, the younger followers of Franklin and of Kelvin, to realize the measure of their opportunities and to rise to the heights of their responsibilities in this day of electricity.”

Patent Application Text

To the Honorable Commissioner of Patents:

Your Petitioner Thomas A. Edison of Menlo Park in the State of New Jersey prays that Letters Patent may be granted to him for the invention of an Improvement in Electric Lamps and in the method of manufacturing the same set forth in the annexed specification. (Case no. 186).

And further prays that you will recognize Lemuel W. Serrell, of the City of New York, N.Y., as his Attorney, with full power of substitution and revocation, to prosecute this application, to make alterations and amendments therein, to receive the Patent, and to transact all business in the Patent Office connected Therewith.

May be reproduced for classroom use only

37

point-of-View analysis

Blueprints for Biography

NAME:

Young Thomas Edison

Many people think that Edison invented the light bulb, but this is incorrect – other inventors had created light bulbs before him. The special thing about Edison’s bulb is that it could glow for days, while earlier versions could last for only a few minutes before burning out. Edison’s light bulb worked well enough to be sold commercially, which means that it was something many people wanted to buy. (This is one way in which Edison showed his genius as both an inventor and an entrepreneur.)

However, Edison might never have created his improved light bulb if earlier inventors had not done their important work. Some people believe that these earlier inventors should get more credit for their work. Is it more important to create something entirely new, or to create something that is practical? First, imagine you are an inventor who created an early version of the light bulb. Write a paragraph arguing that you should be given credit for the light bulb rather than Edison. Then, imagine you are Thomas Edison. Write another paragraph arguing that you should continue to be given credit for the light bulb.

38

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

point-of-View analysis

NAME:

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

39

point-of-View for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Students should use evidence from the book to argue for both sides of their issue in turn and may or may not favor one position over the other. In the first prompt, both responses should reference the same event of Albert frightening his tutor. In the second prompt, Albert’s letter may mention his great talents in math and the fact that he finds it hard to learn a subject he does not love. The teacher’s letter should warn Albert that he may fail to get into college if he neglects his studies. Responses may also include different arguments entirely. The following rubric may assist in evaluating writing responses.

Category

4: Above Standards

3: Meets

2: Approaching Standards

1: Below

Standards

Standards

Position

The student shows a clear understanding of both sides of the issue and demonstrates some sympathy towards both.

The student shows general understanding of both sides of the issue.

The student shows some understanding of both sides of the issue.

The student shows understanding of only one side of the issue or of neither side.

and

Perspective

Point-of-

The response is consistently written in character for both points-of-view.

The response is mostly written in character.

The response is sometimes written in character, or only one of the two positions is written in character.

The student

View

does not

adopt a

 

character’s

 

point-of-view

for either

position.

CCSS alignment: This activity fulfills guidelines of the CCSS. See pages 11–12.

40

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

point-of-View for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Category

4: Above Standards

3: Meets

2: Approaching Standards

1: Below

Standards

Standards

Support

The student provides at least one clear and compelling argument or piece of supporting evidence for both positions. One or both of the positions directly address points that are raised by the opposing position.

The student provides at least one argument or piece of evidence for both positions.

The student provides arguments or evidence for only one position.

The student does not include compelling arguments for either position.

for

Arguments

Sentence

All sentences are well-constructed, and there is some variation in sentence structure.

Most sentences are well- constructed.

About half the sentences are well-constructed.

Most sentences are not well- constructed.

Structure

Grammar

The student makes no more than one error in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content.

The student

The student makes 4-5 distracting errors in grammar or spelling.

The student makes 5 or more distracting errors in grammar or spelling.

&

makes 2-3

Spelling

distracting

errors in

grammar or

spelling.

 

Caitalization

The student makes no more than one error in capitalization or punctuation that distract the reader from the content.

The student makes 2-3 distracting errors in capitalization or punctuation.

The student makes 4-5 distracting errors in capitalization or punctuation

The student makes more than 5 distracting errors in capitalization or punctuation

&

Punctuation

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

41

experiMent 1

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Introduction for Students

Before Thomas Edison and his amazing inventions, most ordinary people never used electricity at all. Today, we use electricity for thousands of different purposes in our daily lives. When we plug a computer into the wall or turn on a light switch, we expect that the electricity will do its job and make the device work. But how? What exactly happens when we turn on a computer or a light?

Electric current flows through the device. Current is the word we use to describe the movement of electricity. Do the words “current” and “flow” make you think of anything else besides electricity?

Such words might make you think of a river or stream. In some ways, current acts very much like water. Just as water flows through your plumbing, electricity flows through the wires in the walls of your house. When you turn the knob on a sink, water flows from the faucet. In a similar way, flipping a light switch causes electricity (current) to flow through a light bulb.

Whenever you finish using the sink, you have to turn the knob to make the water stop flowing. However, when you unplug a laptop from the wall, you don’t have to turn off the electricity in the wall afterwards. Why not? For that matter, why doesn’t the current flow out of the wall and fill the room with electricity?

One reason is that current can only flow through some materials. Some materials conduct electricity, which means current will flow through them easily. These materials are called conductors. Materials that do not conduct electricity are called insulators. One example of an insulator is the air around us. Because air does not conduct electricity, the current inside a wall socket cannot flow out into the room.

Another fact about electricity is that current must follow an unbroken path. The path taken by an electric current is called a circuit. If we were to open up a computer, a lamp, a washing machine, a toaster, or any other kind of electrical device, we would see the circuits inside. Sometimes circuits are very complicated, with many loops and twists and turns, and sometimes they are very simple. For a circuit to work, though, its path cannot have any gaps or holes.

In this experiment, you will build your own circuit and test which kind of materials are insulators and which are conductors.

42

May be reproduced for classroom use only.

experiMent 1

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Important Safety Rules

(1) This experiment must be done with an adult present and supervising!

(2) Always wear safety glasses and gloves when doing experiments!

(3) NEVER play with wall sockets or household electric currents!

Procedure

1. Tape the two batteries together, with the negative end of one to the positive end of the other. Take two pieces of insulated wire and tape one end of one wire to the positive terminal. Tape one end of the other piece of wire to the negative terminal. You should now have two loose, exposed ends of wire.

2. Screw the bulb into the socket

3. Touch the wire to the screws on the bottom of the bulb socket. What happens? Does it matter which wire touches which screw? What happens if both wires touch the same screw?

4. Keeping the wires on the screws, carefully cut one of the pieces of wire in two. What happens to the bulb? Why?

5. Your teacher will come by your table to strip away the insulation from the two new tips you have just created and tape them to the table.

6. Without removing the tape from the wires, light the bulb. You may use one item from the box of materials.

7. What other items would also help you to light the bulb? Make predictions.

8. Now, try each item. Record your results. Were your predictions correct?

9. The items that allowed you to light the bulb are called that did not light the bulb are called between the items that allowed you to light the bulb?

The items Do you notice any similarities

Congratulations, you have built a circuit! The electric current is following a path from the batteries to the wire to the light bulb. It then flows through the second piece of wire back to the batteries.

May be reproduced for classroom use only

43

experiMent 1

experiMent 1 for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Draw a picture of your circuit. Then, draw arrows to show how the electricity is moving through the different parts of your circuit.

44

May be reproduced for classroom use only.

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

NOTE: The current generated by the batteries in this experiment is too small to cause injury, but, children should be given a safety talk beforehand about the dangers of household electricity. Batteries are fine to experiment with, but wall sockets are not!

Materials

• Teacher only: Wire strippers (scissors can be used as wire strippers if necessary)

• Two lengths of insulated copper wire with about a half inch of insulation stripped from both ends. Speaker wire works well.

• Two “D” batteries

• Small light bulb – the kind usually found in a flashlight

• Bulb socket (available at Radio Shack or other electronic stores)

• Masking tape

• Scissors

• Box of various metal and nonmetal materials – a paper clip, aluminum foil, cardboard, chalk, a nail, coins, a slice of lemon, and/or any other small objects

Procedure

This is an experiment for small groups or individuals. Divide students into groups and distribute materials. See student section on previous page for step-by-step instructions.

Guide students as necessary to secure their batteries together and attach the wires to their bulb sockets. After students have cut their lengths of wire in step 4, go around the room and strip off another half-inch of insulation from the two new loose ends.

Conclusions

Students should observe that some objects conduct electricity and some do not. They may have an intuitive sense beforehand that objects made of metal make better conductors – although they should also observe that some metals seem to work better than others. Also, some nonmetal materials make good conductors: a lemon slice, for example, should complete the circuit.

NGSS/CCSS alignment: This activity fulfills guidelines of the NGSS and CCSS. See pages 11-12.

May be reproduced for classroom use only

45

experiMent 2

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Introduction for Students

Edison’s light bulb was an incandescent light, which means that it glowed with heat. As electricity passes through the small wire in an incandescent light bulb, the electricity heats the wire to very high temperatures. This wire is called the filament. As the filament heats up, it begins to give off light. (Today, we also have ways of creating light that do not produce heat, such as the fluorescent tubes that probably light your school. These light bulbs work differently than Edison’s invention.)

Light and heat often go together. Some electrical devices such as toasters or electric stoves will glow as they heat up. A campfire also gives off both light and heat.

However, think about the difference between a campfire and a light bulb. A fire will only give off light as long as there is plenty of wood or other fuel to burn, but an incandescent light bulb will glow for hundreds of hours before the filament burns out. If a light bulb is so hot, why doesn’t it burn up like the wood in a campfire?

Part of the answer is that different materials burn in different ways. A piece of paper burns much more quickly than a piece of wood, for example. Edison designed his light bulb so that it gave off a great deal of light yet did not burn up for a very long time.

In this experiment, you will copy Edison’s work on the incandescent light.

Important Safety Rules

(1) This experiment must be done with an adult present and supervising!

(2) Always wear safety glasses and gloves when doing experiments!

(3) Be careful handling the filaments and wires - they will be HOT!

(4) NEVER play with wall sockets or household electric currents!

46

May be reproduced for classroom use only.

Results

experiMent 2

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison tried hundreds of times to make filaments that would glow and not burn up. He used many different materials, from metal to cardboard to bamboo. Edison was persistent—he never gave up trying until his project worked!

Test #

Number of strands of iron wire used

Number of seconds the filament was lit

1

   

2

   

3

   

4

   

5

   

6

   

7

   

How does the number of strands that you use affect the amount of time the filament stays lit before burning out?

Examine the filament of a commercially sold incandescent light bulb. Is it thick or thin? Do you notice anything interesting about the shape? Try out different filament shapes with the iron wire and note which one seems to work best.

May be reproduced for classroom use only

47

experiMent 2 for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Materials

• Wire strippers (scissors can be used as wire strippers if necessary)

• Small jar with a lid or cork stopper

• 1-inch nail

• 3 feet of insulated copper wire

• 6-volt battery (find one at a hardware store)

• Thin iron wire (unraveled picture-hanging wire works best)

• Stopwatches for students

• Clear glass incandescent light bulb (to examine)

Procedure

1.

Cut the copper wire in half and strip off an inch of insulation from both ends of each length of wire.

2.

With a nail, drill two holes into the lid or stopper of the jar. Push the wire through the holes so that about 2 inches of wire can be seen in the jar.

3.

Bend the exposed copper ends into hooks. Twist one or more strands of iron wire together and stretch them between the two copper hooks to form the filament.

4.

Secure the lid or cork stopper (with the filament) onto the jar.

5.

Carefully hook up the other ends of the copper wire to the battery and watch your filament glow! (Note: the filament will become very hot. Do not touch!)

6.

Students should use a stopwatch to time how long the filament glows, and use the Results Form to record the time.

7.

Try the experiment again with a different number of iron wire strands twisted together. Record your times in the Results Form.

48

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

experiMent 2 for teachers

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Conclusions

Students should draw a connection between the thickness of the filament – that is, how many strands of iron wire are used – and how long it takes for it to burn up.

NGSS/CCSS alignment: This activity fulfills guidelines of the NGSS/CCSS. See pages 11–12.

fulfills guidelines of the NGSS/CCSS. See pages 11–12. @Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

49

additional resources

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Published Resources

Baldwin, N. (1995) Edison: Inventing the Century. New York: Hyperion.

A biography of the inventor that focuses on placing him within the cultural and

economic context of his time. Biography. Reading level: Adult.

Brown, D. (2010) A Wizard from the Start: The Incredible Boyhood & Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison. New York: Houghton Mifflin Books.

Recommended as a supplemental source for this Blueprint. A biography focusing on the childhood and young adult life of Edison. Biography. Reading level: Ages 6 and up.

Josephson, M. (1959) Edison: A Biography. New York: McGraw-Hill.

A comprehensive biography of Edison that contains ample quotations and primary-

source materials. Biography. Reading level: Adult

Internet Resources

Edison National Historical Site, National Park Service http://home.nps.gov/edis/

Excellent educational site with biographies of Edison and others, hundreds of photos and sound recordings, resources for teachers, and kids’ activities.

The Thomas A. Edison Papers, Rutgers University http://edison.rutgers.edu/

Contains thousands of pages of primary-source documents from Edison’s life and work and readable, illustrated descriptions of many of his inventions.

“Edison’s Miracle of Light”, PBS. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/edison/index.html

A companion to the PBS American Experience documentary.

Instructional Resources

College Board Pre-AP. (2002). The AP vertical teams guide for English (2nd ed.). New York:

College Board.

The definitive source on literary analysis, close reading, rhetoric, and writing tactics.

50

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

additional resources

Jackdaw Publications, www.jackdaw.com

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

This company offers for sale thematic collections of authentically reproduced documents with support materials.

Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/teachers

A government source that provides free, downloadable lesson plans and activities with

media analysis tools for more than 10 million primary sources online.

National Archives, www.archives.gov/education

A government source that provides free, downloadable primary sources, lesson plans,

activities, analysis tools, and teacher training.

@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

51

Blueprints for Biography

glossary

Young Thomas Edison

Autobiography is a biography of a person written by that person.

Bias is a personal and often unreasoned preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.

Biography is an account of a person’s life written, composed, or produced by another.

Constructed conversation is undocumented, created dialogue between characters in a biography.

Corroboration is the process of strengthening or supporting with evidence that some fact or statement is true.

Diary is a personal daily record of events, experiences, and observations.

Diction is word choice intended to convey a certain effect.

Document analysis is the process of critically inspecting artifacts, cartoons, written documents, maps, photographs, posters, or sounds and making connections and inferences regarding them.

Engraving is a print made from an engraved or etched plate or block.

Foreshadowing is the use of hints or clues in a narrative to suggest future action.

Group biography is a biography of a collective number of individuals sharing a common characteristic.

Historical fiction is a story set in a specific time period, having characters, setting and plot which are both imaginary and historically documented. Where fictional, the characters, settings and plot events are portrayed authentically as if they actually could have happened.

Imagery is the written representation of people, objects, actions, feelings or ideas through works or phrases which appeal to the senses.

Letter is a written message addressed to a person or organization.

Memoir is a written account of the personal experiences of an individual.

Milieu is an environment or setting.

Glossary terms adapted from the following sources: AP Vertical Teams Guide for English (College Board, 2002), www.dictionary.com, http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/litweb/glossary, http://www.gale.com/warehouse/glossary/

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May be reproduced for classroom use only.

glossary

Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Mood is the atmosphere or predominant emotion in a literary work.

Narration is the telling of a real or invented story in speech or writing.

Point of view is the perspective from which a narrative is told.

Portrait is a painting, drawing, or photograph for which there was a consciously posed person or group and in which the sitter’s identity is the main object of study.

Primary sources are original works in various media that are recorded at the time of an event.

Secondary sources are works that record an event which are removed from that event by time or place.

Self-portrait is a portrait in which the artist is the subject.

Setting is the time and place of the action in a story, novel, play, or poem; also, surroundings or environment.

Sitter is a person who poses or models as the subject of a portrait.

Tone is the attitude a literary work or author takes toward its subject and theme.

Unreliable narrator is a speaker whose version of the details of a story are consciously or unconsciously deceiving; such a narration is usually subtly undermined by details in the story or the reader’s general knowledge of facts outside the story.

Glossary terms adapted from the following sources: AP Vertical Teams Guide for English (College Board, 2002), www.dictionary.com, http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/litweb/glossary, http://www.gale.com/warehouse/glossary/

May be reproduced for classroom use only

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Blueprints for Biography

references

Young Thomas Edison

Cox, C. (1926). The early mental traits of three hundred geniuses. Stanford, CA: Stanford

University Press.

Hollingworth, L.S. (1925). Introduction to biography for young children who test above 150

I.Q. Teachers College Record, 2, 277–287.

Parke, C. (1996). Biography: Writing lives. New York, NY: Twayne.

Robinson, A. (2009). Blueprints for biography: Differentiating the curriculum for talented

readers. Teaching for High Potential, Fall, THP-7–8.

Robinson, A. & Cotabish, A. (2005). Biography and young gifted learners: Connecting to

commercially available curriculum. Understanding Our Gifted, Winter, 3–6.

Robinson, A. & Schatz, A. (2002). Biography for talented learners: Enriching the curriculum

across the disciplines. Gifted Education Communicator, Fall, 12–15, 38–39.

Additional photo credits

Front cover: http://edison.rutgers.edu/patents/00091527.PDF

Back cover: Electric lamp patent to Thomas Edison, National Archives, retrieved from http:// www.ourdocuments.gov May 20, 2009.

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@Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

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Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

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Blueprints for Biography

Young Thomas Edison

Please send your feedback to:

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56 @Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Education, UALR. May be reproduced for classroom use only.

STEM Series Blueprints for Biography are guides for teachers and students engaged in the study of a specific biography of a great figure in science, mathematics, or engineering. Each Blueprint contains questions, activities, and resources to be used in the classroom.

For more information, please contact the Jodie Mahony Center for Gifted Edication at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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