Applied Science - Built Environment (5)
Post Lab

  • Investigating how knowledge of light and sound can change society.
  • Exploring the life of Thomas Edison.


  • inventor

Students research Thomas Edison.


Thomas Edison left school when he was twelve to sell candy on a railroad train. In between sales, he did experiments in the baggage car. He learned how to be a telegraph operator and began to invent better ways to do things. By the end of his amazing career he had developed the light bulb, motion pictures, the phonograph, directed installation of New York City's electrical system, and had made improvements in the telephone and in almost every other means of communication. He brought about a revolution in living: people now could work and read after the sun went down, and could hear each other over vast distances.

Edison is one of the most famous inventors of our time because he was not only curious, but loved to find a problem and solve it. Stress that Edison was not a college graduate, but a man of immense commitment who always searched for solutions. If anything, Edison serves as a model of a human whose talents allowed him to explore new worlds. Edison used his ability to solve problems and his wealth to continue exploring. A profile of his life can help students realize that creativity is inside anyone, not necessarily the rich and educated.


  1. Emphasize that Thomas Edison not only worked with electromagnetic waves (light) but he also worked with physical waves (sound). Edison understood the properties that physical and electromagnetic waves shared, and could extent his inventions. Edison used his information across many diverse fields. An invention in one field was an inspiration for the next invention in another field. The vi deo on Thomas Edison outlines the historical progression of his work. Although the film is a Hollywood version of his life, it does portray the essence of his creativity.
  2. There are probably books on Edison in your library. If you need help, contact:
         Edison National Historic Site
    National Park Service
         West Orange, New Jersey

  3. There are many sites on Thomas Edison. Use an Internet search engine to find the most recent sites. These are two sites that have information on Edison.

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