151 West 26th St. New York, NY 10001 (212) 647-1100 www.theatreworksusa.org presents THOMAS EDISON: Inventor, Lecturer, and Prankster STUDY GUIDE Thomas Edison was arguably one of the most influential people in all of history. He is variously credited with leading the transition from the Age of Steam to the Age of Electricity, “inventing” the Twentieth Century and developing the modern research laboratory, a cornerstone of corporate structure. Seventy years after his death, he still holds the record for the greater number of US Patents ever awarded to an individual – 1,093. It’s hard to imagine a world without his gifts of electric light, recorded music and motion pictures. In Edison we find a true rags-to-riches story of a poor, selftaught boy who grew up to be the greatest inventor of his or any other age. In this assembly program about Edison’s life and work, students are presented with real-life lessons first-hand by one of America’s favorite sons. THE FOUR BIG LESSONS OF EDISON The life and inventions of Edison are presented in our presentation but an even greater effort has been made to present four lessons from the inventor’s life and work that the individual child can use over and over again: The Value of Hard Work – Edison’s most famous quote is “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” This comes from a man who was known to sleep and average of four hours a night, surviving on short cat-naps throughout the day. He periodically worked for seventy-two hour stretches in order to perfect an invention. But unknown to most is his balancing ethic of playing hard. Edison employees were treated to impromptu sing-alongs, poetry contests and satirical writing to help break the tension of difficult work sessions. Edison was a great prankster. Each of his laboratories was equipped with a pipe organ for sing-alongs. Is it chance his greatest inventions all focused on leisure? The Value of Mistakes – Edison contended there were no such things as mistakes as long as you learned from them. This has become a spirited chant in the presentation. The pressure placed on students to succeed often blinds them to what can be learned from the attempt, perhaps making them fearful of the attempt itself. As Edison said, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is just one more step forward.” Childhood is filled with mistakes; it’s the child’s duty to accept the responsibility of finding a lesson from their failings. The Value of Viewing a Problem from a Different Angle – Many children are familiar with young Edison’s being kicked out of school for asking too many questions. Education at the time was a matter of learning by rote. Anathema to a creative mind like Edison’s. Luckily today students are presented with different methods of achieving a task, ref. Multiplication tables vs. lattices. By looking at problems from a different angle, a child discovers the approach that parallels his talents. Another aspect of this lesson is Edison’s ability to “turn a liability into an asset.” Historians acknowledge this as perhaps the secret to Edison’s success. How could a man who was almost totally deaf perfect the phonograph?! Edison found that by biting the sounding horn of his phonograph and “listening through his jawbone,” he could “hear” sound qualities undetectable to the human ear, improving the quality of his recordings. Edison’s resourcefulness made him a success! The Value of Enjoying One’s Work – Edison truly found his calling. He had found something that he loved to do. Something he (and the world) found important. And something he could take pride in. (A modern HR person would say “Something you love. Something you’re good at. And something they’ll pay you for.”) Edison’s work always evolved out of what he loved to do. He loved inventing! As he said, “I always invent to obtain money to go on inventing.” From the age of seven on, Edison always had a laboratory in which to experiment. His final patents were awarded posthumously because he was inventing until days before his death!” Looking at all this from a different angle: if you’re truly doing work you enjoy, the line between work and play blurs and mistakes are just another part of the game! A TIP FROM THE WIZARD Edison prided himself as an inventor, not a scientist or a discoverer. A scientist performs an experiment to see what will happen. A discovery is often an unexpected outcome. An inventor seeks to solve a specific problem or fulfill a specific need! “I find out what the world needs, then I go ahead and try to invent it… None of my inventions came out totally by accident. They came about by hard work.” If your students are involved in creating their own inventions, one of their most important steps will be defining the problem or need they are trying to address. When the invention wheel seems out of kilter, try redefining the problem or need first! PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE BIG FOUR LESSONS One of the big four lessons we try to convey with THOMAS EDISON: INVENTOR, LECTURER & PRANKSTER is the ability to look at a problem from a whole new angle. Is there a problem in your classroom that the students can try to rephrase from a new angle? EXAMPLE: Students are late entering class after recess. OLD SOLUTION: Just go faster! NEW ANGLE: Student lockers are too crowded to accommodate extra winter clothing. NEW SOLUTION: Have students perform seasonal change-over several times a year. Another lesson is enjoying your work. Explain to your students why you chose teaching as a career. What would they like to be and why? INVENTIONS CAN BE FUN! RUBE GOLDBERG (1883-1970) was a very popular sports and editorial cartoonist in the first half of the last century. His most famous creations were intricate inventions to accomplish simple tasks. His inventions were never practical, efficient or plausible but they were always a lot of fun. Modern college students still compete in “Goldberg Contests” to see who can invent the silliest and most complicated way to crack an egg! SELF-OPERATING NAPKIN As you raise spoon of soup (A) to your mouth it pulls the string (B), thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I) which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off skyrocket (K) which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin. Have your class develop a silly invention to accomplish a simple task. A game many students enjoy is creating a machine using body movements of the whole class (Hint: start with a task and work backwards.) JUST SOME OF THOMAS EDISON’S 1,093 INVENTIONS Telegraph innovations Carbon transmitter Dynamo generators Magnetic ore separator Printing telegraph (ie: Stock-ticker) Light bulb Vacuum pumps Mining equipment Light switches Electric meters Motion picture camera Light sockets Fluoroscope Miner’s lamps Electric meters Fluorescent lamp Storage battery Insulated wire Electric railway Synthetic carbolic acid Mimeograph machine Phonograph Talking dolls WHAT IF…? Imagine how many little ways the world would be different if Edison hadn’t invented recorded sound with his phonograph: no answering machines. None of your students would know what Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, or Martin Luther King sounded like. We’d still be watching silent movies. No muzak in elevators. By the time Britney Spears became a superstar she’d be middle-aged. Ask your students to consider how the world would be different if there was no Light Bulb. How would this affect our daily routines? Architecture (buildings would be smaller to light interior rooms.)? All the machines that use bulbs – televisions, projectors, car headlights, refrigerators, light houses, airport runways, cameras, EasyBake ovens, Christmas trees, and Menorahs. WHAT DO YOU THINK? What do you think was the greatest invention ever invented and why? Was it the greatest invention for the whole world or just for you? Possibility: Gutenberg’s Printing Press. When the History Channel was choosing its most important of the millennium they chose Guttenberg. His printing press made it possible to disperse other’s knowledge and inventions throughout the world (LIFE Magazine chose Thomas Edison!) WHAT IF…? How might your everyday life be affected if a simple invention like the wheel had never been invented? Native American tribes lived for thousands of years without any knowledge of the wheel and yet many tribes were nomadic! ARE YOU AN INVENTOR? An invention doesn’t have to be a machine! Any new solution to a problem is an invention. Can you think of a problem that you’ve solved in a new way recently? THE TIME LINE Use the time line (following page) to discuss with your students what life was like before and after Edison’s life. Why do you think Edison is sometimes called “The Man Who Invented the 20th Century?” ANCILLARY WORKSHEETS are attached for your class. K-2 Worksheets consist of puzzles and illustration to remind the students of Edison’s inventions and philosophy. Answers to the puzzles are included somewhere in the worksheet. 3-5 Worksheets include exercises designed to help the students apply the presented lessons to their own life. There are very few right or wrong answers to these pages. Imagination is encouraged. The students’ responses provide springboards for classroom sharing discussion. FOR FURTHER READING AGES 4-8 There are lots of introductory books on Edison at your Public Library Thomas Edison (Live and Times) by Jane Shuter; Heinemann Library; ISBN: 157522305; (October 2000). Thomas Alva Edison: Young Inventor (Easy Biographies) by Louis Sabin, George Ulrich (Illustrator); Troll Communications; ISBN: 0893758426; (January 1990). AGES 9 – 12 Thomas Edison: The Great American Inventor (Barron Solution Series) by Louise Egan, Louise Betts; Barrons Juveniles; ISBN: 081203922X; (November 1987). Thomas A. Edison: Young Inventor (Childhood of Famous Americans Series) by Sue Guthridge, Wallace Wook (illustrator); Aladdin Paperbacks; ISBN: 0020418507; (May 1988). The Story of Thomas Alva Edison (Landmark Books) by Margaret Cousins; Random House (Juv); ISBN: 0394848837; Reissue edition (March 1997). A Picture of Thomas Alva Edison (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler, etc al; Holiday House; ISBN: 0823414140; (April 1999). The Thomas Edison Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments by James G. Cook, Thomas Alva Edison Foundation (Contributor); John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471620904; (Jukly 22, 1988). GROWN-UPS At Work with Thomas Edison: 10 Business Lessons from America’s Greatest Innovator by Blaine McCormick, John P. Keegan; Entrepreneur Media Inc.; ISBN: 1891984357; (November 2001). Edison: A Life of Invention by Paul Israel; John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471529427; (October 1998). Edison: Inventing the Century by Neil Baldwin; University of Chicago Press (Trd.); ISBN: 0226035719; (April 2001). FUN WEB SITES www.nps.gov/edis/home.htm www.tomedison.org www.thomasedison.com http://americanhistory.si.edu/edison/index.htm Edison National Historic Site Edison birthplace museum Thomas Edison homepage The films Young Tom Edison with Mickey Rooney and Edison the Man with Spencer Tracy, while not very accurate historically, are very entertaining! EDISON FUN Just Some of Thomas Edison’s 1,093 Inventions: T homas Alva Edison, “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” recently paid a visit to your school. Mr. Edison is known as the world’s greatest inventor. He holds the record for US patented inventions at 1,093. Mr. Edison told the students about his life of inventing and what his most famous inventions had taught him. Telegraph innovations Printing telegraph (i.e. stock ticker) Mimeograph machine Phonograph Talking dolls Telephone improvements “Hello!” Light bulb Light switches Insulated wire Mr. Edison recalled for his listeners his childhood in Michigan working on trains as a “candy butcher,” or newsboy, traveling the country as a “tramp” telegrapher and establishing himself as an inventor. His “rags-to-riches” story is a shining example of the American Dream. “Hard work” is what Mr. Edison credits for his success. The inventor spent most of his adult life in nearby West Orange, NJ. There he built his second “invention factory.” Inventions such as the alkaline battery and the motion picture camera were developed there. Many students were surprised to learn that the very first movies were filmed in northern New Jersey! Dynamo generators Vacuum pumps Electric meters Electric railway Magnetic ore separator Mining equipment Motion picture camera Storage battery Wax paper Crossword answers Thomas Edison: Inventor, Lecturer & Prankster An historic Presentation from Patrick Garner’s History’s Alive! Presented by 151 West 26th Street New York, NY 10001 (212) 647-1100 www.TWUSA.org A Tramp Telegrapher’s Morse Code I roamed the Midwest as tramp telegrapher for several years. This is the actual code that we used to send messages to other telegraphers! A . _ H . . . . O _ _ _ U . . _ B _ . . . I . . P . _ _ . V . . . _ C _ . _ . J . _ _ _ Q _ _ . _ W . _ _ D _ . . K _ . _ R . _ . X _ . . _ E . L . _ . . S . . . Y _ . _ _ F . . _ . M _ _ T _ Z _ _ . . G _ _ . N _ . Use Morse Code to find out the first words ever to be recorded on a phonograph! Write the alphabet letter under its Morse Code symbol _ _ ____ . _ ____ . _ . ____ . _ ____ _ . _ _ ____ . _ . . ____ . . ____ . _ ____ . . . . ____ _ ____ . _ ____ _ ____ _ _ ____ Grand Trunk Railway Detroit Port Huron Line . _ ____ _ . . ____ . _ . . ____ . ____ _ . . . ____ ! The Amazing Incandescent Lamp (or The Light Bulb) The light bulb may have been my most important invention. It changed the whole world! NAME THREE WAYS TO USE LIGHT BULBS 1. 2. 3. When people first saw my light bulb they gave me the name “The Wizard of Menlo Park!” For example: A car’s headlights, movie projectors, E-Z Bake ovens! “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration!” This is probably the most famous thing I ever said. But what does it mean? INSPIRATION = AN IDEA PERSPIRATION = SWEAT PERCENT MEANS “HOW MANY OUT OF 100 PARTS” GENIUS = + So, what that saying means is: “It takes a lot more than just an idea to be a genius. It takes a lot of hard work!” THE WONDERFUL P HONOGRAPH (our first sound recorder) “Of all my inventions, I liked the phonograph best. Life’s most soothing things are sweet music and a child’s goodnight.” WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TIMES TO LISTEN TO MUSIC? An Edison Crossword Puzzle! Don’t be afraid to ask for help! The Clues ACROSS DOWN 3. Where were the first movies made? 1. I am the world’s greatest _________________. 4. What lit city homes before electric light bulbs? 2. I worked as a “_____________ telegrapher” for several years. 6. What was my favorite invention? 5. What’s my middle name? 8. I was called “The _____________ of Menlo Park.” 6. I have more of these than anyone else in the world! 10. I was a “candy butcher” on a ___________________. 7. __________ = 1 percent inspiration + 99 percent perspiration. 12. It’s not a ________________, as long as you learn from it! 8. __________ hard and play hard! 13. What’s my last name? 9. I put small phonographs into talking __________. 11. Telegraphers talk by using Morse __________. Possible Answers ALVA GAS MISTAKE TRAIN CODE GENIUS PATENTS TRAMP DOLLS INVENTOR PHONOGRAPH WIZARD EDISON NEW JERSEY THOMAS WORK 151 West 26th Street New York, NY, 10001 212.647.1100 www.TWUSA.org Patrick Garner’s HISTORY’S ALIVE presents BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: America’s First Citizen STUDY GUIDE Thank you very much for inviting me to perform for your students. I formed HISTORY’S ALIVE! in an attempt to present history in an exciting, interesting context in which your students don’t merely learn history, but learn from history. It’s my hope that they will leave the assembly program with life and learning tools they can use that very day. And the fact that those “life lessons” propelled these ordinary people into the pages of history shows that they do indeed work! In BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: AMERICA’S FIRST CITIZEN, the nation’s favorite founding father – the man who tamed lightning and conquered crowns – comes to life to demonstrate how a life of self-discipline, inquiry, public service and a genuine love of life led to international fame and the gratitude of a nation. Volunteers Needed! For most of my shows, the volunteers selected are a little specific as to size and such. For BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: America’s First Citizen , I need a boy and a girl to play all the male and female parts of the story. These volunteers are very important to this program as a lot of the show rests on them acting out the story I tell. So, your top notch students, the ones you would rely on for such an important task. During the show I’ll also be pulling about six more boys and girls for a Fireman’s Bucket Brigade Race. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t give me your class clowns. As a reformed class clown myself, I know what a handful we can be. Pick some kids who will take part but not take over. I’m sure, as teachers, you know exactly the type of children I’m hoping for. There will be absolutely nothing embarrassing for them to do. Nor will any jokes be directed at them. They don’t need to come early. Just point them out to me as you come in. Don’t tell the kids beforehand. I only need two main kids for the whole show so I may have filled the slots before you arrive. THANK Y OU VERY MUC H. I HOPE Y OU E NJOY T HE S HOW ! THE PHILADELPHIA GAZETTE Printed by B. FRANKLIN, Postmaster At the New-Printing-Office, near the Market OWNER BENJ. FRANKLIN UNDERTAKES TOUR OF COUNTRY’S YOUNGEST PATRIOTS Perhaps our foremost forefather has undertaken a tour of the country he had such a huge hand in forming. Benjamin Franklin, printer, has launched a series of talks on his life and the lessons it might hold for today’s young Americans. “First and foremost,” Franklin counsels, “Never give up!” Indeed it may be Franklin’s perseverance that most impresses his young audiences. Born the last son of a soap-maker, Franklin grew to be the most famous American of his time. His name was known throughout the world ...as it is to this day! Through a disciplined system of self-improvement, he bettered himself at every turn. “You have to believe in yourself!” And when he became the success about which he had always dreamed, he continued to give of himself...to his city, to his country, to the world! Even after his departure, Franklin continues to give to mankind as he serves as an inspiration to all who would become all that they can be! A BRIEF FRANKLIN TIMELINE 1706 1717 1718 1723 1727 1728 1731 January 17, Franklin born in Boston, tenth son of Josiah & Abiah Franklin Invents swim fins for his hands and feet Apprenticed to brother James as printer Runs away from apprenticeship, goes to New York and then to Philadelphia where he works as a printer Forms Junto, a society who meet for “Self-improvement, study, mutual aid and conviviality.” Starts own printshop and takes Deborah Read as his wife Forms first Subscription Library 1732 1736 1737 1741 1749 1752 1774 1776 1784 1787 1790 1st POOR RICHARD’S ALMANACK Organizes the Union Fire Company Appointed Postmaster of Philadelphia Invents Franklin Stove Starts University of Pennsylvania Conducts kite experiment Humiliated in London’s Privy Council Helps write and signs Declaration of Independence Invents Bifocal Spectacles Signs Constitution Dies in Philadelphia at age of 84 FRANKLIN’S INVENTIONS BIFOCALS By combining lenses of different shapes and strengths within a single frame. Ben managed to eliminate the need to change reading glasses for distance glasses and vice versa. GLASS ARMONICA Possibly Ben’s favorite. Bowls of differing size are touched by moistened fingers to produce musical notes. Beethoven and Mozart composed music for this instrument. LIGHTNING RODS Possibly Ben’s most important. Countless lives and property were saved by these metal rods that attracted lightning strikes that were safely carried to the ground. FRANKLIN STOVE Air baffles throughout the stove channel heat into a room making it much more fuel efficient. Franklin never obtained a patent for his stove. He gave the plans away to anyone. THE POLITICAL CARTOON These were published in his newspaper the Philadelphia Gazette. Here Ben warns the American colonies to join in the coming Revolutionary War SWIM FINS Although his were made from wood, young Ben managed to increase his swimming speed by inventing paddles for his feet and hands! While very few people swam at that time, Ben enjoyed swimming his whole life. ...AND A FRANKLIN DISCOVERY! On one of his early Atlantic Ocean crossings, Ben measured the water temperature throughout the trip and wound up discovering the Gulf Stream! This ocean current allows sailors to shorten their trips. FACT OR FICTION? Did Ben Franklin actually fly a kite in a thunderstorm to discover electricity? Probably. The source for the story is Ben’s own autobiography. That book is surprisingly accurate in all other matters. So it’s doubtful Ben would have made the story up. Many other scientists were killed performing similar experiments! However, Ben didn’t “discover” electricity (the ancient Greeks did that). Ben discovered that lightning was a form of electricity! FRANKLIN’S MAGIC SQU ARES! You think Sodoku is tough? When Ben was the official printer for the government of the Pennsylvania Colony, he had to sit through long, boring meetings. To pass the time he made up “magic squares.” Magic squares place numbers on a grid so that the sums of the columns, diagonals and rows are all equal. 34 in the example below, and 260 in the example to the right. WORDS OF WISDOM FROM POOR RICHARD For many years Ben published one of early America’s favorite books, Poor Richard’s Almanac. Like most other almanacs, it was filled with recipes, first aid tips, calendars, tidal tables, horoscopes, eclipse schedules, farming advice and general what-not. What set Ben’s apart were the clever sayings he peppered throughout, all attributed to the fictional “Poor Richard.” • • • • • “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!” “God helps those that help themselves!” “A penny saved is a penny earned!” “Haste makes waste!” “He that lies down with dogs, wakes up with fleas!” DID YOU KNOW… Ben Franklin is one of only two non-presidents to be honored on US currency. Can you name the other one? Answer: Alexander Hamilton, 1st Secretary of the Treasury, on the $10 bill HELP BEN UNTANGLE HIS KITE Ben turned his back for a second while his son William minded the kite. A gust of strong wind made a mess of their kite string. Help Ben and William find their way from the kite string spool to their kite. Better hurry before the next lightning strike! FURTHER READING ON BENJAMIN FRANKLIN For our Youngest Readers: • The Remarkable Benjamin Franklin by Cheryl Harness; National Geographic Children’s Books; Reprint edition (September 23, 2008) • Time for Kids: Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many Talents by the Editors of Time for Kids; HarperCollins (July 26, 2005) For our Mid-Level Readers: • Benjamin Franklin (DK Biography) by Stephen Krensky; DK CHILDREN (December 17, 2007) • Ben & Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 30, 1988) For Adult Readers: • The First American: The Life & Times of Benjamin Franklin by H.W. Brands; Anchor (March 12, 2002) • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson; Simon & Schuster (May 4, 2004) For the Serious Franklin Reader: • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin; various editions. FEEDBACK I am constantly changing my shows to accommodate the needs and concerns of you, the teachers. Your feedback, negative and positive, is always appreciated. There’s no reason for me to come into your schools if I’m not helping you in our common goal of producing better students. Every little bit of feedback helps me develop better shows, so I hope you’ll do me the great favor of providing your thoughts on Benjamin Franklin: America’s First Citizen. (When I first started with my Thomas Edison show, the phonograph would heckle a poetry reading Edison by shouting, “Shut up!” After two years a teacher pointed out that they didn’t tolerate that type of language in their school. In trying to find a replacement phrase, I found out that “Put a sock in it” was actually how people muffled their phonographs... by putting a sock in them! Now my show not only complies with school policy: it’s historically accurate! ) So if you’d like to send along any feedback please contact me by email [email protected] or by phone 973-420-5268. THANKS AGAIN! 151 West 26th Street New York, NY, 10001 212.647.1100 www.TWUSA.org Patrick Garner’s HISTORY’S ALIVE! presents THE WRIGHT BROTHERS (& Sister!) STUDY GUIDE Thank you very much for inviting me in to perform for your students. I formed HISTORY’S ALIVE! In an attempt to present history in an exciting, interesting venue where your children don’t merely learn history but learn from history. It’s my hope that they will leave the assembly program with life and learning tools they can use that very day. And the fact that those “life lessons” propelled these ordinary people into the pages of history shows that they do indeed work! With THE WRIGHT BROTHERS (& SISTER!), we learn how three people solved the riddle of the ages—-man-powered flight. And they did so with tools you teach your kids. Their efforts fall under several banners: logic, problem-solving, The Scientific Method, cause-and-effect, etc. I mention the Scientific Method in the show, but please use whatever you’re currently introducing in your classroom. The most important themes I try to introduce to your charges are: • • • • • Use all your available sources for information Use everything you know Look for solutions everywhere Define your problem before trying to solve it And, of course, think outside the box! VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! If this is the only part of the Teacher’s Guide you read… READ THIS!!! During the course of the show I will be using two of your students to portray Orville and Katherine Wright. I need your help in selecting them! Would you please confab with your fellow teachers and select a boy and a girl from your students. General guidelines: Pick kids who will take part but not take over. Good-natured kids. (Please don’t give me your class clowns. As a reformed class clown, I know how difficult we can be.) ORVILLE: A slightly built boy from your lower grades. (He’ll sit on a folding table that easily holds my weight but why take chances?) KATHERINE: A good reader from your upper grades. Tell the two volunteers they’ll be acting as my assistants in the show. There will be absolutely nothing embarrassing for them to do. Nor will any jokes be directed at them. A few days ahead of the show, ask if they can wear white shirts on the performance day (if not, not a big problem). And if they could come to the performance space about ten minute early, I tell them what we’re going to do. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE SHOW! MEET THE WRIGHT FAMILY Wilbur, Orville & Katherine, along with their father Milton, were a very close-knit family. Milton was a bishop of the United Brethren Church. The love of learning the parents instilled in them taught them how to research, discuss and attack any problems. The family library carried many tomes that contradicted Milton’s own teachings but he thought all sides of an argument should be explored. Wilbur was the go-getter of the family. Taciturn and studious, he was destined for college when Mother Susan’s slow death to consumption, a serious athletic accident and the nursing of Orville through a bout of typhoid fever, made college all but impossible. Orville was the out-going practical joker. He skipped college in order to join Wilbur in his new printing business. First brother to fly. Katherine, the forgotten Wright, was the only child who attended college. She had a promising teaching career in motion when she returned home to help her brothers run their business and home during the invention of the airplane. THE WRIGHT BUSINESS You and your students may know that the Wrights ran a bicycle shop before inventing the airplane. But that wasn’t their first business. They started as printers but were unable to purchase an expensive printing press. Instead they found a broken press and, using the mechanical aptitude their mother had taught them, repaired it. Business flourished. Among their many projects was The Dayton Tattler for Dayton’s African American community. It was written by Paul Laurence Dunbar (see “Dayton, Ohio”). The Wrights left printing to subordinates while they joined America’s latest fad, bicycling. At first they sold bicycles. Then again using their mechanical skills began manufacturing. Their work on bicycles gave them unique insights to mechanics and motion. The Wrights pursued manufacturing airplanes until Wilbur’s untimely death in 1912. Shortly after his death, Orville accumulated all existing Wright Brothers stock, settled all out-standing lawsuits and sold everything to their biggest competitor, Glenn Curtis. Orville and Katherine had a falling out when she married late in her life. There was rumored to be a secret pact between the three Wrights to never marry. They made a death-bed reconciliation when she passed in 1929 Orville enjoyed a retirement of tinkering and celebrity to the ripe age of 77. He passed in 1948 while tinkering with a doorbell. THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD In the space of just over four years, the Wright Brother solved a problem that had been vexing man for thousands of years—man-powered flight. Their approach to the problem was very methodical. They researched all available data on previous experiments. They used all of the resources at their disposal. They used their own experiences. And when problems arose they attacked them using the Scientific Method: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. State the Problem Research Hypothesis Test & Experiment Record Data Check Hypothesis Conclusions Repeat if needed PRECURSORS & RIVALS TO THE WRIGHTS Here are a few scientists who explored man-powered flight before the Wrights. There’s plenty of information on them on the web. Leonardo DaVinci Conceived the “ornithopter.” Completely impractical to fly a man but a wind-up flying machine still manufactured today. Alphonse Penaud One of the first theorists on flight. Designed the Wright Bat flying toy that Orville credited as the inspiration of their interest in flight. Otto Lilienthal Glider inventor and developer of wing shape vs. lift formula. His death in a crash spurred the Wrights on. Dying words: “Sacrifices must be made.” Octave Chanute Contemporary and sponsor. Proposed bi-wing as most stable type of glider. Samuel Pierpont Langley President of Smithsonian Institute. Major competition. Got government funding for steam-powered aerodrome which crashes twice just before Wright success. Associates claimed he was first flyer for over forty years. Glenn Curtis Huge innovator immediately after Wrights. Major manufacturing competitor. Developer of ailerons which replace wing-warping. DAYTON, OHIO Dayton, Ohio was quite an important town around the turn of the last century. The Wright Brothers (& Sister!) may be their most famous citizens but by no means the only ones. Paul Laurence Dunbar was in the same high school class as Orville Wright. The Wright printing business helped Dunbar produce a newspaper for African Americans. Although that paper soon folded, Dunbar soon achieved international fame as a poet. His first collection was published by the Wrights. He was the most published African American author in the world until the 1950s. The International Cash Register Company was headquartered in Dayton. Their cash registers, adding machines, etc. made them the IBM of the early 1900s! SUMMARY OF THE SUMMERS AT KITTYHAWK 1900 The Wrights test their theory of wing-warping by flying their glider as a large kite. Only after verifying their theory and proving the glider’s airworthiness did they attempt to pilot the vehicle, always tethered to the ground. 1901 Thinking “bigger is better” they increase the size of their glider and are surprised when it will not fly with any measurable control.. This second glider crashes repeatedly. Tempting fate they unsuccessfully try a manned flight. During the winter and spring they test Lillienthal Formula for wing lift and discover its errors. 1902 With their new understanding of wing lift they construct a new glider which flies beautifully. They make many manned glides, breaking record after record. All they need is an engine. No automaker will reply to the requests for a light engine to power their airplane. They make their own. 1903 After many delays caused by weather, the Wrights assemble their airplane named “The Flyer.” They had manufactured their own engine, propellers and drive shafts. The drive shafts prove to be trouble, warping and cracking. Orville returns to Dayton. He returns with new shafts. After a failed attempt by Wilbur on Monday December 14 (they never worked on Sunday), Orville makes the first successful engine-powered flight on Thursday December 17, 1903. It lasted just twelve seconds and covered 120 feet! TIMELINE RESOURCES Children’s Books on Wright Brothers THE WRIGHT BROTHERS FOR KIDS by Mary Kay Carson AIRBORNE by Mary Collins FIRST TO FLY by Peter Busby Adult books on Wright Brothers THE BISHOP’S BOYS by Tom D. Crouch Really Cool Web Sites with more information and demonstrations: www.fiddlersgreen.net/AC/aircraft/Wright-Glider/glider.php (Free paper model of Wright Glider!) www.first-to-fly.com www.nasm.si.edu/wrightbrothers (Air & Space Museum) www.amazingpapersirplanes.com FEEDBACK I am constantly changing my shows to accommodate the needs and concerns of you, the teachers. Your feedback, negative and positive, is always appreciated. There’s no reason for me to come into your schools if I’m not helping you in our common goal of producing better students. Every little bit of feedback helps me develop better shows, so I hope you’ll do me the great favor of providing your thoughts on The Wright Brothers (& Sister!). (When I first started with my Thomas Edison show, the phonograph would heckle a poetry reading Edison by shouting, “Shut up!” After two years a teacher pointed out that they didn’t tolerate that type of language in their school. In trying to find a replacement phrase, I found out that “Put a sock in it” was actually how people muffled their phonographs... by putting a sock in them! Now my show not only complies with school policy: it’s historically accurate! ) So if you’d like to send along any feedback please contact me by email [email protected] or by phone 973-420-5268. THANKS AGAIN! 151 West 26th Street New York, NY, 10001 212.647.1100 www.TWUSA.org Patrick Garner’s HISTORY’S ALIVE presents AMERICAN TALL TALES STUDY GUIDE Thank you very much for inviting me to perform for your students. I formed HISTORY’S ALIVE! in an attempt to present history in an exciting, interesting context in which your students don’t merely learn history, but learn from history. It’s my hope that they will leave the assembly program with life and learning tools they can use that very day. And the fact that those “life lessons” propelled these ordinary people into the pages of history shows that they do indeed work! Okay, so Tall Tale characters weren’t real people… or were they? Some were definitely based on real people. And what can children learn from “larger-thanlife” fictional characters? Remember “American ingenuity?” And not just nativeborn Americans... Many of these characters were foreign-born! How about “overcoming impossible obstacles?” And all these folks knew how to enjoy themselves! The most important themes I try to introduce to your charges are: • • • • • Do your best with whatever life has given you. Don’t accept limitations on what you can achieve. Look for unique solutions to your problems. Have fun doing your very best. You can change the world! VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! IF THIS IS THE ONLY PART OF THE TEACHERS GUIDE YOU READ... READ THIS!!! For most of my shows, the volunteers selected are a little specific as to size and such. For “American Tall Tales,” I just need two boys to play Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill, and two girls to play Annie Christmas and Bess Coll. Never heard of some of them? No problem: you will. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t give me your class clowns. As a reformed class clown myself, I know what a handful we can be. Pick some kids who will take part but not take over. I’m sure, as teachers, you know exactly the type of children I’m hoping for. There will be absolutely nothing embarrassing for them to do. Nor will any jokes be directed at them. They don’t need to come early. Just point them out to me as you come in. Don’t tell the kids beforehand. I only need four for the whole show so I may have filled the slots before you arrive. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I HOPE YOU ENJOY THE SHOW! IMMIGRATION & WESTWARD MOVEMENT In the show, it is pointed out that the lack of modern electronic media (i.e. television, movies, etc.), lack of books, and the illiteracy of the general public led to a great oral tradition. Stories were literally told “around the campfire,” especially as America continued to expand westward. An influx of immigrants brought together story elements from many lands, as well as a dash of national pride. Tales had already become more secular with the Protestant Reformation, and this was further reinforced by America’s “separation of Church & State.” WHOPPERS Just as a fish you caught grows bigger and bigger with each retelling (so that the minnow you caught in May becomes a whale by December), the stories around the campfires grew. And among friends, the exaggeration became a competition. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, folks vied to see who could tell the biggest whopper. I stress that these whoppers were never meant to deceive but to entertain. You weren’t supposed to believe them. You were meant to enjoy them! In some parts of the country annual lying contests are held. (No teacher has yet told me that the show has led to a rash of lying in their classroom. PLEASE let me know if this ever happens!) THE UNOFFICIAL RULES OF WHOPPERS • • • • Of course, the bigger and more nonsensical, the better. An unwarranted preciseness lends credibility. Unusual units of measurements keep it interesting. If you’re ever questioned about the veracity of your story, you can always claim you didn’t see it but you know someone who did. WHY SO FEW WOMEN CHARACTERS? In researching this show, I saw very early on that there was a dearth of female characters in American folklore. Luckily I found Cut from the Same Cloth by Robert D. San Souci. His preface explains that there were quite few women characters but storytellers were predominately male. So you know what eventually happened; as I tell the kids, history isn’t always fair. But San Souci’s book does a wonderful job bringing together these women characters from many diverse cultures. CHARACTERISTICS Tall Tale characters share many common traits: • Their exploits are always larger than life. Everything is larger-than-life for a Tall Tale character. Paul Bunyan carried an axe that looked as if it had been made by hammering two steam locomotives together! • When faced with problems, they always find a unique way to solve them. Paul Bunyan straightens out a river by freezing its mouth with captured blizzards and fastening Babe the Blue Ox to it with a chain! • They face opposition from the status q uo. In every story I’ve read someone is telling the hero he/she can’t do what they’re attempting. Bess Coll vs. the Englishman, Annie Christmas vs. the steamboat captain. • The problems they face are extraordina ry as the character. Paul Bunyan has to clear the entire Dakota Territory in one year! Annie Christmas is the only person who can paddle her raft back up the Mississippi! • The characters u se everyday language. Language and exaggeration are one of the most fun parts of Tall Tales. Whoppers run wild: “Great horney-toads! Those were good pancakes. I’ve spent the last six months eating nothing’ but beans!” “Aw, you’re fulla soup!” “No. Now I’m fulla pancakes!” ADVERTISING The real widespread popularity of some Tall Tales began at the beginning of the 1900s with the advent of advertising. Although the stories had been around for years, the characters became ingrained in our minds when manufacturers chose them to be their mascots. Paul Bunyan was celected to promote a lumber mill early in the last century. Pecos Bill’s history may be a little shorter! He was introduced in the 1920s, a time when there were still a lot of cowboys out west. He was later made the fictional spokesman for a brand of beef jerky. I think some of you may remember Brer Rabbit molasses? Disney’s movie Song of the South brought Uncle Remus’s Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox characters to life for children of the 1940s. And Disney’s efforts in early television reintroduced Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett to a whole new generation of children. JOHNNY APPLESEED Perhaps you’d like to spend a little more time exploring Tall Tales with your class. Johnny Appleseed has always been a favorite of mine. As you may already know, Johnny Appleseed is one of the Tall Tale characters who actually lived! (Others include Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and in many respects, young Washington & Lincoln.) Young John Chapman entered the newly opened Ohio Territory around 1798. The picture history paints of him entering with two bags of apple seeds is pretty much true. But here is where history and Tall Tales tell a different story. Chapman did not travel through the Midwest scattering seeds willy-nilly. He searched for lands around likely sites for future settlements, generally near well-traveled rivers. He would then find a clearing, plant his seeds, erect a makeshift fence of scrub to mark the area, and then move on to another area. He would return to these nurseries several times throughout the year to tend to his seedlings. After about five years the apples were ready to be distributed to the arriving settlers. But John Chapman did not give the young trees away simply because he loved apples: he was an entrepreneur. Settlers were entitled to a certain amount of cheap land but only under certain provisions to discourage land speculators. For instance, settlers were required to have fifty fruit trees on their property within two years. Guess who was there to sell them their apple trees? The apple was a wonder crop for American settlers! The last fruits of the fall would stay fresh in a root cellar until spring. Dried apples were used all winter long. Apple cider, apple butter and applejack were staples. Cider vinegar not only flavored food but also pickled other crops. Apples could be shipped long distances, too. Other parts of the Johnny Appleseed mythos are entirely true. He roamed throughout what is now Ohio and Indiana. He was known to never wear shoes. Legend says a rattlesnake was unable to bite his foot due to his toughened skin. Only during the worst winter weather did he accept shelter from his hosts. As a lover of all animals, he was a strict vegetarian. He wouldn’t even shoo a mosquito lest he hurt one of God’s creatures. Johnny traveled through lands that had not yet seen settlers, and he became a great friend of the Native Americans. Their trust in him allowed him to warn settlers of an imminent attack by the British in the War of 1812. An interesting side note:he became a member of the Swedenborg church, distributing their materials to his customers. Their main tenets were an inquiry and an acceptance of others’ beliefs. (I know we’re touchy about religion in schools, but how can you find fault with those precepts?) JOHNNY APPLESEED ACTIVITIES • • • • • • Cut an apple crossways to discover the apple’s hidden star! Have a tasting of the different types of apples available at your store. Research which types are best for pies, cider, applesauce. How are the trees with the best fruit propagated? Not by seeds but by grafting! Apple arts & crafts. Find an orchard near you for a field trip. For more ideas, visit www.allaboutapples.com OTHER TALL TALE CHARACTERS There are many more characters that people American Tall Tales. In fact there’s a lot more to be discovered about the four we were able to cover in the presentation. Here’s a partial list to which I’m sure you can add a few of your own: • SLUE-FOOT SUE • SWAMP ANGEL • MIKE FINK & SAL FINK • FEBOLD FEBOLDSON • DAVY CROCKETT • ALFRED BULLTOP • DANIEL BOONE STORMALONG: THE JERSEY • JOHN HENRY DEVIL! • CASEY JONES • SALLY ANN THUNDER ANN • ANNIE OAKLEY (NJ native!) WHIRLWIND CROCKETT • JOE MAGARAC UNCLE SAM Uncle Sam became an icon for the United States of America as far back as the War of 1812. Origins are uncertain but the prevailing theory is that he was modeled after a beef supplier known for sending quality meats to troops, a rarity at the time. The barrels of salted meat were stamped U.S. to label them for army distribution. The soldiers joked that U.S. stood for “Uncle Sam.” His image varied until the late 1800s when political cartoonist Thomas Nast gave him his familiar stars & stripes outfit and white hair & goatee. These cartoons had a tremendous impact on a largely illiterate public: many crooked politicians were forced out of office due to public outcries. Nash’s caricatures were so biting that they inspired the word “nasty.” SUPERHEROES Are superheroes our modern-day Tall Tales characters? In movies, television and comic books, their adventures are always larger than life. Early on, superheroes appeared in fictional cities like Metropolis and Gotham City, but more and more are set in real settings like New York City. Superheroes always seem to have unique occupations: Superman = reporter Clark Kent, Spiderman = student photographer Peter Parker, Batman = carefree millionaire Bruce Wayne (Where do you apply for that job?). And even in a world dominated by male characters (again like Tall Tales), Wonder Woman spent her off-time as Diana Prince, Lieutenant Nurse in the U.S. Army. FEEDBACK I am constantly changing my shows to accommodate the needs and concerns of you, the teachers. Your feedback, negative and positive, is always appreciated. There’s no reason for me to come into your schools if I’m not helping you in our common goal of producing better students. Every little bit of feedback helps me develop better shows, so I hope you’ll do me the great favor of providing your thoughts on American Tall Tales. (When I first started with my Thomas Edison show, the phonograph would heckle a poetry reading Edison by shouting, “Shut up!” After two years a teacher pointed out that they didn’t tolerate that type of language in their school. In trying to find a replacement phrase, I found out that “Put a sock in it” was actually how people muffled their phonographs... by putting a sock in them! Now my show not only complies with school policy: it’s historically accurate! ) So if you’d like to send along any feedback please contact me by email [email protected]m or by phone 973-420-5268. THANKS AGAIN!
© Copyright 2018