Computer Science (X) - ELA (X) - Elementary (X) - Elementary Social Studies (X)

Edison: Boyhood and Teen Years

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Find out how young Thomas Edison’s curiosity got him into trouble, and how, during his teen years, he lost his hearing but gained confidence as an aspiring inventor, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Edison. As portrayed through reenactments, we learn that Edison, who had just three months of formal schooling, grew up reading and conducting chemistry experiments. His job as a newsboy on a train inspired his fascination with the telegraph. After teaching himself Morse Code so he could send and receive messages, Edison took a job as a telegraph operator at the age of 15. Through his work, and despite premature hearing loss, he developed an understanding of how the telegraph system operated and how he might improve it. He began to think of himself as an inventor. This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

Click on the links below to download a customizable Student Handout, Student Reading and transcript for this resource.

Student Handout | Student Reading | Transcript

City of Gold: The Story of South Pass City | Mining Techniques and Hazards

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Learn about the techniques gold miners used to collect gold ore from the area around South Pass City, as well as the hazards they faced during the mining process. 

In the accompany lesson plan (found in the Support Materials), students will watch a video that explains the mining process and hazards, and then create caution signs to show their understanding of the challenges the miners faced. Finally, the students will take part in a collaborative STEM challenge to build a working hoist using a limited amount of supplies. 


  • Students will develop grade level appropriate speaking and listening skills, as described by the standards. 
  • Students will understand how technology impacted the mining process of early gold miners, as well as the hazards the miners faced. 
  • Students will define a design problem and use limited resources to solve it.