First Grade

Create Your Own Sound Recording

Creative Communicator


Thomas Edison is a famous inventor. His work with the telegraph and telephone led him to invent the phonograph, which recorded sound as indentations on a sheet of paraffin-coated paper. Students can listen to his first recordings at the NPS (National Park Services) archives.  

Students will learn how to create their own recordings at Online Voice Recorder or Voice Recorder. Check out both websites and decide which one works best on your network or devices. 

This is a good STEAM activity to use with your students. 

Students will:

  • Be able to identify who Thomas Edison is.
  • Be able to tell others about the different inventions that he created. 
  • Be able to create their own sound recording. 

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Invention: An invention is an act of inventing something that has never been made or used before.
  2. Phonograph: A phonograph is a record player that plays sounds and songs. 
  3. Telegraph: A telegraph is a system for transmitting messages from a distance along a wire, especially one creating signals by making and breaking an electrical connection.
  4. Sound recording: A sound recording is an act or process of making a record of sound; a film, disc, or tape recording of sound.
  • Borrow or purchase an illustrated biography to read to the students. Here are some ideas:
    • Timeless Thomas: How Thomas Edison Changed Our Lives by Gene Barretta
    • Thomas Edison and His Bright Idea by Patricia Brennan Demuth
    • When Thomas Edison Fed Someone Worms by Mark Weakland
  • View the information about Edison and listen to some of his original recordings
  • Read about him, view short videos and listen to recordings on Edison. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the Online Voice Recorder program. 
    • Watch this video tutorial to learn how to use it. 
    • All you have to do is press the button and begin recording. When you are done speaking, you can save the file as .mp3 file. 
    • You do need to make sure Flash is enabled on your browser. (If you don’t see the record button then it might be due to flash needing to be enabled.)

Note: You are not limited to the Online Voice Recorder. Any mobile device recorder will be fine. 

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. Introduce Thomas Alva Edison to the students as a famous inventor over 100 years ago. 
  2. Read one or more biographies to the students. 
  3. Tell them that he is the inventor of capturing sound using a phonograph which evolved into people listening to record players, then tapes, CDs and now iTunes!
  4. The students will then learn how to use a microphone and capture a small piece of their work. 
    • The students can record a short story that they made up. 
    • The students can record a short poem that they made up or memorized. 
    • They can sing a song. 
  5. The teacher will save and play the .mp3 clips back to the students. 

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Create a short rubric to measure the sound recordings. 

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Creative Communicator
6a. Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
6b. Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
6c. Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
6d. Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac (NEEDS Flash)

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Listen to Edison Sound Recordings

Online Voice Recorder

Voice Recorder

Online Voice Recorder Video Tutorial

Thomas Edison - Inventions


Students will write a short story or poem to record as an audio recording. 

  • The students will write their own songs to sing. 

  • The students will sing a song familiar to them to create a recording. 

Students learn about inventors and inventions. 

Students are read biographies on Thomas Edison. 

This task card was created by Melissa White, 21Things Project Manager, REMC Association of Michigan, April 2018. Updated October 2023