Lesson planning notes for ’Thomas Edison’

These lesson planning notes for teachers are for use with the text of the worksheet entitled ’Thomas Edison’ in the Student Centre.

TOPIC: Thomas Edison

Date:

Class / Level: Intermediate

Students: Adults / young adults

Time:

Length of lesson: 40 minutes

Number of students: 12

Topic: Thomas Edison

Lesson aims:

  1. To provide listening practice.
  2. To provide reading practice; specifically, ordering sentences correctly both logically and grammatically.

New language:

  • genius;
  • patents;
  • inquisitive;
  • freelance;
  • supervisor.

Assumptions:

(In relation to the class being taught.)

Stages:

Step 1. Write the name Thomas Edison on the board. Ask the students if they have ever heard of him. Brainstorm what they know. Add notes to the board.

Step 2. Play the taped passage on Edison. General listening.

Step 3. Replay the tape; ask the students to note down any dates that they hear.

Step 4. Ask the students to tell you what dates they heard. List them on the board. Ask them to tell you what is significant about those dates.

Step 5. Hand out the jumbled sentences. Ask the students to work in pairs and try to re-order them correctly.

Step 6. Tell the pairs to compare their version with a neighbouring pair. If different try to agree on the correct version, or at least one that is logical and grammatically appropriate. Two different versions could both be acceptable perhaps.

Step 7. Go through the text deciding on an appropriate order with the class. Ensure that the linking terms and expressions are clearly pointed out.

Step 8. Take away the jumbled sentences. Hand out the passage with blanks. Ask the students to work independently and complete the passage.

Step 9. Tell the to compare their version with their neighbour’s.

Step 10. Go through the text with the class filling in the blanks.

Step 11. Ask the students to make up 5 questions about Edison.

Step 12. Tell them to put away their passages. They ask each other questions about Edison’s life.

Re-arranging sentence into logical order

Here are the separate sentences from the text. They can be used in two different ways.

  • print and then cut up; the students place them in order;
  • alternatively, use the jumbled version below; print out the pages; the students number the sentences in order.

Thomas Edison 1847-1931

  • Thomas Edison was born on 11 February 1847. He was one of the outstanding geniuses of technology and he obtained patents for more than one thousand inventions including the electric light bulb, the record player and an early type of film projector.
  • He also created the world’s first industrial research laboratory.
  • He was born in Milan, Ohio and he was always an inquisitive boy.
  • By the time he was 10 he had set up a small chemical laboratory in his house after his mother had shown him a science book.
  • He soon became fascinated with electrical currents and it remained the main interest of his life.
  • In 1869, he borrowed a small amount of money and became a freelance inventor.
  • In the same summer, there was a crisis in Wall Street when the new telegraphic gold-price indicator broke down.
  • Edison was called in to repair it and he did it so well that he was given a job as supervisor with the Western Union Telegraph Company.
  • They later commissioned him to improve the Wall Street stock ticker that was just coming into use. He did so and produced the Edison Universal Stock Printer, which immediately brought him a fortune of $40,000.
  • With this money, he set up as a manufacturer in order to produce electrical machines.
  • In 1876 he built a new laboratory so that he could spend all his time inventing.
  • He planned to turn out minor inventions every ten days and a ’big trick’ every six months.
  • Before long he had 40 different inventions going at the same time and was applying for as many as 400 patents a year.
  • The following year, Edison moved to New Jersey in order to build the Edison Laboratory (now a national monument) which was 10 times bigger than his first laboratory.
  • In time it was surrounded by factories employing 5,000 people and producing many new products.
  • Edison died on 18 October, 1931 having had a remarkably productive life.

Below are the sentences from the text in jumbled order.

Thomas Edison 1847-1931

  • He planned to turn out minor inventions every ten days and a ’big trick’ every six months.
  • In 1869, he borrowed a small amount of money and became a freelance inventor.
  • In 1876 he built a new laboratory so that he could spend all his time inventing.
  • He was born in Milan, Ohio and he was always an inquisitive boy.
  • They later commissioned him to improve the Wall Street stock ticker that was just coming into use. He did so and produced the Edison Universal Stock Printer, which immediately brought him a fortune of $40,000.
  • By the time he was 10 he had set up a small chemical laboratory in his house after his mother had shown him a science book.
  • The following year, Edison moved to New Jersey in order to build the Edison Laboratory (now a national monument) which was 10 times bigger than his first laboratory.
  • Thomas Edison was born on 11 February 1847. He was one of the outstanding geniuses of technology and he obtained patents for more than one thousand inventions including the electric light bulb, the record player and an early type of film projector.
  • In the same summer, there was a crisis in Wall Street when the new telegraphic gold-price indicator broke down.
  • Edison died on 18 October 1931 having had a remarkably productive life.
  • Before long he had 40 different inventions going at the same time and was applying for as many as 400 patents a year.
  • In time it was surrounded by factories employing 5,000 people and producing many new products.
  • With this money, he set up as a manufacturer in order to produce electrical machines.
  • He also created the world’s first industrial research laboratory.
  • He soon became fascinated with electrical currents and it remained the main interest of his life.
  • Edison was called in to repair it and he did it so well that he was given a job as supervisor with the Western Union Telegraph Company.

Gap-filling exercise on ’Thomas Edison’

Students can be asked to complete the passage by filling in the blanks with one or more appropriate words, not necessarily identical to the words used in the original passage.

Where a student chooses an unexpected word, this can be used as an opportunity to discuss the appropriateness in terms of grammar, meaning or common usage and collocation.

Some typical appropriate and inappropriate responses are given below in [square brackets].

Thomas Edison [was born] on 11 February 1847. He was one of the outstanding geniuses of technology and he obtained [patents/ protection/ copyright] for more than one thousand [inventions/ ideas/ techniques/ methods/ inovations] including the electric light bulb, the record player and an early type of film projector. He also created the world’s first industrial research laboratory.

He was born in Milan, Ohio and he was always an inquisitive boy. By the time he was 10 he had set up a small chemical [laboratory/ lab] in his house after his mother had shown him a science book. He soon became fascinated with [electric/ electrical/ electromagnetic] currents and it remained the main interest of his life.

In 1869, he borrowed a small amount of [money/ finance/ capital/ investment] and became a freelance [inventor/ engineer]. In the summer of 1869, there was a [crisis/ disaster/ emergency] in Wall Street when the new telegraphic gold-price indicator broke down. Edison was called in to repair it and he did it so well that he was given a job as [supervisor/ engineer/ maintenance man/ caretaker] with the Western Union Telegraph Company. They later commissioned him to improve the Wall Street stock ticker that was just coming into use. He did so and produced the Edison Universal Stock Printer, which immediately brought him a fortune of $40,000. With this money, he set up as a manufacturer ……… electrical machines.

In 1876 he built a new laboratory ……… he could spend all his time inventing. He planned to turn out minor ……… every ten days and a ’big trick’ every six months. Before long he had 40 different inventions going at the same time and was applying for as many as 400 ……… a year.

In 1887 Edison moved to New Jersey ……… build the Edison Laboratory (now a national monument) which was 10 times bigger than his first laboratory. In time it was surrounded by ……… employing 5,000 people and producing many new products.

Edison died on 18 October 1931 having had a remarkably ……… life.


 

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