This Month in STEM—Thomas Edison’s Phonograph

Nov 30, 2022

In November, we celebrate one of the most famous inventions in history. Over 100 years ago, on November 21, Thomas Edison announced the plans for his phonograph invention. The phonograph was able to record sounds that could be played back. This allowed people to listen to whatever music they wanted to, paving the way for inventions like stereos, boomboxes, and eventually, iPods.

Interestingly though, the phonograph was created by accident. Edison was looking to create a device that would record his phone calls. In his experiments, he discovered how to record vibrations and imprint them on a wax cylinder. Using an instrument known as a stylus, he found he could then re-play the sound.

Edison’s invention still influences sound recording today.

So how can we connect his invention to coding? In our Content Library Junior, students can take lessons in the Play Me a Song module, which teaches them how to create music using three different platforms- Scratch, MakeCode, and Sonic Pi.

In using all three platforms, students expand upon their programming knowledge by working with different text languages, as well as versions of block code.

As you probably know, Edison is also responsible for inventions like the motion picture camera and improving the light bulb. His problem-solving skills and persistence led to these successes, and this is no different from our students today!

By engaging in STEM courses, students have the chance to develop the same creativity and investigative skills used by Edison to create world-changing inventions. When we give students the opportunity to explore technology and engineering, we open them to a world of possibilities. We can help fuel the minds of the many Thomas Edisons of the next generation!

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