MFW Adventures: Edison, Ford and the Wright Brothers


I’ve compiled a list of fun (short!) history videos for Ford, Edison and the Wright Brothers along with several fun activities. You will find the list at the end of the post.



Things got intense around here on Wright Brothers Day. Fresh off our Wind Turbine science project from the week before, there were a hundred and one questions about airplanes that I could not answer because 1) Math and 2) Airplanes. I hate flying and my reasoning has always been that the less I know about how airplanes actually work, the better off I will be. But since I am their teacher I had to smile and nod and say, “Sure! Lets learn about drag and lift and thrust.” While my brain was quietly self destructing, I guided the boys to NASA’s Wright Brothers Index which has a wealth of information on the Wright Brothers and all things flight related.  The kids page on Aeronautics is geared towards younger students and they had a blast with it.


Our main read aloud this week was “The Story of Thomas A. Edison” by Frances M. Perry. Simply Charlotte Mason has released an excellent edition which includes some of Mr. Edison’s notes, drawings, patents and pages from his diary. There is also a $2 version on kindle but without the extra drawings, patents, etc. We loved reading this book and delving deeper into the life of this brilliant man. I highly recommend it!

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We spent some time looking through pictures of Ford’s first engines and automobiles. The boys were riveted by these! We went outside and popped the hood on the ole’ minivan to take comparison notes. Above is the picture of Ford’s first engine from Neil Butterfield’s site which has great pictures and notes about the engine. Check it out!

Obviously, we made a sandwich assembly line that day! This was messy, but fun. And of course the assembly line theme stretched into every aspect of our life that day. Toothbrush assembly line anyone?

We’ll be visiting Edison and Ford’s winter estates next month and we are very excited to walk through Edison’s lab and learn more about both of these men.

Crafts, Activity Books and Videos

NASA has kindly provided instructions for building a 1902 Wright Brother’s Glider.
And if the above idea makes you want to cry, Crayola has a fun Wright Brothers craft.
And if the above idea still makes you want to cry, have the kids build some paper airplanes. Line your hallway with black construction paper to make a runway and let them have at it!
Happy Birthday Author has a fun plane model activity based off of Wendie Old’s book “The Story of the Wright Brothers.”
Thomas Edison for Kids: 21 Activities by Laurie Carlson. This was a great library find for us!  We had fun with it.
Be sure to check out video of the Wright Brothers in flight! Great details provided in timeline form.
CBS segment on the 100th Anniversary of Henry Ford’s Assembly Line
Another video on the Ford Model T 100 year later
 video of Edison discussing the invention of the incandescent light bulb.
Newsreel on the death of Thomas Edison





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