50-minute English Lesson
ESL listening skills exercises like these ones help ESL students improve their English listening and speaking skills. This English lesson talks about Edison and the history of the lightbulb.
Read the story
ESL Listening Skills Exercises
People around the world know Thomas Edison. Students learn he made things, like the light bulb. They also learn he worked alone at night. Edison worked a lot, but some stories are not true.
Edison once said he didn’t need to make new things. He could buy ideas from people. That’s what happened with the light bulb.
A man from England made it in 1845. Edison gave him some money for the idea. Then people at Edison’s company changed it. In 1879, they made a better bulb. People bought it and Edison made lots of money.
Some people think he worked alone all night. Not true. He had a team working for his company. Sometimes there were 14 people. For example, he did not make the light bulb better. He paid other people to do that.
Edison was good at starting companies. One company made electricity. Today, that company is still working. It is called General Electric.
He used companies to buy ideas. Today, big companies like Google do the same thing. They buy small companies with a good idea.
The true story about Edison helps us understand how to make a new idea. It doesn’t always come from hard work. We can sometimes find a new idea if we find an old one and change it.
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esl Listening Skills Exercises
Here is the listening file for this lesson.
Audio file: 1:43 min
Story length: 212 words
Did you understand the story?
Let's check with a True-False quiz.
English listening lesson: Gap Fill
Listen to the esl Listening skills story again and fill in the blanks.
People around the world __________ Thomas Edison. Students learn he made __________ , like the light __________ . They also learn he worked alone at __________ . Edison worked a lot, but some stories are not __________ .
Edison once said he didn’t __________ to make new things. He could buy __________ from people. That’s what __________ with the light bulb.
A man from England made it in __________ . Edison gave him some __________ for the idea. Then people at Edison’s company __________ it. In __________ , they made a better bulb. People __________ it and Edison made lots of money.
Some people think he worked alone all night. Not true. He had a team working for his __________ . Sometimes there were __________ people. For example, he did not make the light bulb better. He __________ other people to do that.
Edison was good at __________ companies. One company made electricity. Today, that company is still __________ . It is called General Electric.
He __________ companies to buy ideas. Today, __________ companies like Google do the same thing. They buy small companies with a good __________ .
The true story about Edison helps us __________ how to make a new idea. It doesn’t always come from __________ work. We can sometimes find a __________ idea if we find an old __________ and change it.
ESL discussion questions
Talk about the esl Listening story.
- What kind of story is this?
- Summarize evolution of the lightbulb.
- What are the pros and cons electricity?
- Retell the story of lightbulb from the perspective of the British inventor.
- Compare and contrast the two types of companies mentioned in the story.
- How did Edison’s invention of movie camera change the world?
MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.
ESL listening activity: anagrams
MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE ESL LISTENING STORY.
Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.
- make / he / once / need / said / Edison / new / to / things / didn’t
- it / made / bought / of / and / lots / People / Edison / money
- He / buy / to / used / ideas / companies
- and / find / find / a / idea / We / new / old / if / we / one / change / sometimes / can / it / an
- working / a / team / for / his / had / He / company
Another ESL listening story for adults
Ready for more online English learning? Try this free English listening comprehension lesson about Google.
Watch a video and take notes
Did you like this free online English lesson about jeans? Try this short video activity – it’s a TV commercial for a special lightbulb – and take notes.
- Watch the video.
- Take notes.
- Make a list with at least six facts.
Get the worksheet
Want to print out these ESL listening activities? Click to download the PDF worksheet for the Edison lesson plan.
Click to see the answers for these ESL listening exercises about Edison.
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