Thomas Edison Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

What was the legacy of Thomas Edison? This lesson plan makes use of a fact-filled text lesson to engage students while an activity has them compare Thomas Edison's inventions to modern technology.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • outline the life and work of Thomas Edison
  • list Thomas Edison's most influential inventions


  • 1 to 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.



  • Begin by drawing a light bulb on the board.
  • Ask the students to name the individual who created the light bulb and write their ideas on the board.
  • Pass out the paper copies of the text lesson now.
  • Have students read the 'An Introduction to Edison' section of the text lesson now.
    • Did anyone guess that Thomas Edison created the light bulb?
  • Tell the class to read the 'Edison's Introduction to the Telegraph' section of the text lesson next.
    • Were you surprised that the 'electric vote recorder' was Thomas Edison's first invention?
  • Now have the class read the 'Marriages and Building his Inventing Empire' section of the text lesson.
    • Why would a telegraph have been important in Thomas Edison's day?
    • What is a patent?
  • Have the class read the rest of the text lesson now.
    • Did anyone realize how many things Thomas Edison invented?
    • What do you think was Thomas Edison's most influential invention?
    • What is Thomas Edison's legacy?
  • Have the class complete the worksheet now.

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