Thomas Edison Timeline


Track how Edison's inventions changed everyday life. Imagine a world without lightbulbs or sound recordings!


1. Read about U.S. inventor Thomas Edison. What years did he work? With what resources did he work? What challenges did he overcome? Find the dates and names of his major discoveries. What did his first lightbulbs, phonographs, and other items look like?

2. Work with a small group of classmates to compile a list of Edison's most important inventions, and their dates, with Crayola® Colored Pencils. Be ready to explain why you think they are so important.

3. Count out one button for each invention, or make small Crayola Model Magic replicas of each one.

4. Glue the invention buttons or replicas in a line along the top of a large paper with Crayola School Glue. Connect them with a line of Crayola Glitter Glue. Dry.

5. Write the dates and any information that is important about each invention on the timeline with Crayola Fine Line Markers. If you used buttons, draw a picture to represent the invention. Label each one. Title your Thomas Edison Timeline.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Glitter Glue— WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. Not for use on skin.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.


  • Tally which inventions students chose as Edison's most important. Which were chosen most often? Why?
  • Write about what it was like to live in Thomas Edison's time era. Edison was a lighthouse keeper and a carpenter in his early years, before some of his 1,093 ideas were patented, setting a world record. Compare and contrast how people live today, and what kind of inventions are popular now.
  • Work individually or in small groups to create 3-D inventions. Write or tell the class about the invention's purpose. Draw blueprints to scale of how it was constructed.
  • Create similar timelines for other important people, events, or inventions. Find out what other scientific breakthroughs were necessary BEFORE Edison could come up with his ideas. For example, the unit of electrical current, ampere, is named for André Ampere, a French physicist who founded the science of electrodynamics.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Fine Line Markers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Model Magic®
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Glitter Glue
household supplies
  • buttons



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Children research information about U.S. inventor Thomas Edison, who is best known for inventing the lightbulb and the phonograph.

  • Students find information about the dates of Edison's inventions, what these inventions did, and how they looked.

  • Students create a pictorial timeline of Edison's inventions, listing them in chronological order.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards