Thomas Edison Scavenger Hunt

Thomas Edison Scavenger Hunt

$1,000 Prize

Edison Innovation Foundation invites you to participate in the Thomas Edison Scavenger Hunt to win a grand prize! The questions will be broken up into three categories. Only one winner for each!

Ages: Up to 14 – questions 1-20
Prize $250 Apple Gift Card

Ages: 15-18 – questions 1-30
Prize $500 Apple Gift Card

Ages: 18+ questions 1-40
Prize $1,000 Apple GiftCard

Questions will be released on September 26th on our social media platforms including: thomasedison.org and facebook.com/ThomasEdison.

You will have two weeks to complete and the answers must be submitted to info@thomasedison.org by October 10th.

Contestants may use only Edison Innovation Foundation Social Media Platforms to find answers, i.e.:

A more detailed description of the Rules will be released with the questions on September 26th.

Stay Tuned and Good Luck!

Share

Thomas Edison – Relevant in the Classroom

Teaching Thomas Edison in the classroom is the fundamental expression of what STEM/STEAM is all about, how he changed the world with his invention process-the so-called invention factory, later re-named R&D labs. It was his greatest invention.

Many teachers and educators write in to us, access our websites and visit the Thomas Edison National Historic Park [TENHP] to learn how to bring his lessons into the classroom. Shown below are some tips for integrating Edison into the classroom.

Edison at his office desk-always studying new things.

Edison at his office desk-always studying new things.

The roots of his 1093 patents always began with detailed notebooks of his experiments and findings. Whenever student teams work on developing new ideas, have them keep track of their work in a team notebook, practicing the important skill of documenting their findings. This will help them continually improve their inventions—something Edison would heartily applaud.

Original Edison sketch for the phonograph!

Original Edison sketch for the phonograph!

The invention process you encounter in STEM literature is basically the one Edison used to codify the iterative invention process:
1) Identify a problem worth solving
2) Evaluate the economics/market needs
3) Identify constraints, impacts, challenges
4) Identify/test potential solutions-invent!
5) Validate invention against 1), 2) and 3)
[repeat 1) thru 5) as necessary-re-design/re-evaluate original problem]
6) Market the invention
7) Grow and improve the invention

Use this process to empower students to ask questions. The quality of solutions is dependent upon the quality of the questions asked. Teach them how to ask tough questions! Let your students be like “hard boiled” detectives when they have problems to solve-to get in there and turn every problem inside-out, learning as much as possible about the problem and how proposed solutions could be used.
The questions are especially important to step 3) above…dealing with constraints and limits that can affect any new invention.

A smiling Edison

A smiling Edison

Host a website/newsletter in your class/school. What a great way to promote and practice communications! Have students develop a website accessible to the entire school, and perhaps other schools within your district. Students can write articles about how Edison changed the world, influencing us yet today. All things Edison can be explored and discussed, along with publicly available photos of the great inventor and his work.

Invite inventors into the classroom, modern day inventors so they can explain how to use creativity techniques to develop solutions to problems. Allow your students to learn first-hand from men and women who invent as a living or as a vital part of their jobs as engineers, technologists, scientists…etc. Consider writing articles about the meeting with inventors and publish them on the school website mentioned above.

Which was Edison’s greatest Invention? Study the many inventions created by Edison, fostering a debate about the pros and cons of his introduced technologies. How did his technologies impact the economy, society, environment, culture, and standards of living? Make sure your students marshal their arguments as quantitatively as possible.

Check out these websites for additional information and classroom projects and activities:

Have a wonderful school year and happy inventing!

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Share

Thomas Edison – Impact on the Music Industry

1903 ad for the Edison phonograph

1903 ad for the Edison phonograph

Back in the 1870s, if you wanted to hear music, it was basically a communal experience. You went to hear a concert, attended a school auditorium or show hall to hear and see a production, or perhaps you gathered around a gazebo on a warm summer night to hear popular tunes of the time.

Along comes Thomas Edison who makes a practical, affordable, and portable device to record and play music, and allow you to enjoy it all by yourself if you so desire. For all purposes, the great inventor “decentralizes” music, decoupling it from a group experience. Does this sound vaguely familiar? It should.

iPods and other personal listening devices do this too, decoupling people from radios that are electromagnetically linked to broadcasting stations, and allow you to store huge amounts of songs for play on demand…without the need to carry tapes, discs and other old bulky forms of storage media.

To this day, in his legendary West Orange labs, Edison’s original recording studio can be seen—the world’s first recording studio. It sits directly above his iconic library/office. There the great singers of the time, operatic and popular, came to record their music for sale by Mr. Edison. [see photos below]

Edison recording studio today

Edison recording studio today

Invention factory with location of recording studio indicated by blue lines

Invention factory with location of recording studio indicated by blue lines

It was truly an art form to situate the instruments and singers around a recording horn for optimal sound reproduction, with lots of trial and error. No way to change the volume of sound like we do today via simple electronic controls; and certainly no mixing consoles to blend sound tracks. Sound mixing would have to wait until musical innovators like Les Paul [the man who also gave us the electric guitar] came along…100 years later.

Take a look at the photo below of a large group of musicians crowded around a recording horn to get the instrument sounds all into the small horn. It was a tough way to make music back then. Today, 140 years later we have a robust industry we all enjoy…..but it all started with a recording studio on the third floor of Thomas Edison’s magic invention factory, an entrepreneur’s dream come true.

A private off-site recording session-with musicians crowded in close to recording horn

A private off-site recording session-with musicians crowded in close to recording horn

“Of all my inventions, I liked the phonograph best….” -Thomas Edison

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Share