Welcome to Clip from Spiral logo

Interactive video lesson plan for: 5 FALSE History Facts Everyone Knows | What the Stuff?!

Activity overview:

We would like a word with our fifth-grade teachers...

Article: 10 False History Facts Everyone Knows

What the Stuff?! episodes are available every Monday and Friday at Noon ET.

Subscribe http://bit.ly/1AWgeM7
Twitter https://twitter.com/HowStuffWorks
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HowStuffWorks
Google+ https://plus.google.com/+howstuffworks
Website http://www.howstuffworks.com
Watch More https://www.youtube.com/HowStuffWorks

Image Attribution:

crappers valveless waste preventer


Music Attribution: "Tilt" by Avaren

History is full of false facts. Time to set the record straight.

Napoleon was abnormally short. What does everybody say about a short man who’s always picking a fight? “Napoleon Complex.” OK, so the French commander Napoleon Bonaparte might have been a bit on the pugnacious side, but his height? About 5’6” or 5’7” -- totally average for Frenchmen of the time! The misconception seems to come from a bad unit conversion between French and English measures – another case for why we should all go metric.

Ben Franklin discovered electricity flying a kite. Almost everything you’ve heard about this story is wrong. People already knew about electricity, even if they didn’t understand it very well. What Franklin was supposedly investigating was the electrical nature of lightning, but here’s the problem: We’re not even sure whether Franklin actually performed the experiment, or if he did, what the true details were. Our main account comes from his friend Joseph Priestly, recounted 15 years later. But Franklin did actually invent the lightning rod.

Columbus was trying to prove the Earth was round. Wrong, wrong, wrong. By the time Columbus set sail in 1492, almost every educated person knew the Earth was round. In fact, the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth with amazing accuracy 2200 years ago. So what was Columbus’ gambit? Based on bad information about that very circumference, Columbus thought he could quickly reach trading sites in India by sailing West, rather than sailing East around the southern tip of Africa. He was spectacularly wrong. Even after his journey, he still thought he had visited Asia.

Einstein flunked math when he was in school. This is serious nonsense. Albert Einstein didn’t flourish in every subject, and he even failed the entrance exam to Zurich Polytechnic School in Switzerland on his first try. But Einstein was always good at math. He even tried to clear up the matter himself, once saying: "I never failed in mathematics. Before I was 15 I had mastered differential and integral calculus." But this myth lives on.

Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet. This one goes straight down the tubes. Now for those who can’t bear to lose this mirthful factoid, it’s almost true: Crapper was a big name in the 18th-century poop removal biz, and did manufacture a popular brand of “water closet.” But the true honor goes to the English poet Sir John Harington, who rigged up a flush toilet for Queen Elizabeth in the late 1500s. Oh my.

What’s your favorite misconception to correct? Let us know in the comments and subscribe! And learn more by reading 10 False History Facts Everybody Knows at HowStuffWorks!

Tagged under: false history facts, , stuff,false,wrong,history,facts, stuff works,Napoleon,short,Napoleon complex,Ben Franklin,electricity,discovered,flying kite,kite,Columbus,Earth (Planet),sail,voyage,flat,Africa,Asia,sailing,Einstein,Albert Einstein (Academic),flunked math,failed math,incorrect,calculus,flush,toilet,invented,poop,water closet,bathroom,misconception,Benjamin Franklin,key,Thomas,Crapper,mathematics

Find more lesson plans like this:

'Out, Damned Spot': Meaning & Overview

Clip makes it super easy to turn any public video into a formative assessment activity in your classroom.

Add multiple choice quizzes, questions and browse hundreds of approved, video lesson ideas for Clip

Make YouTube one of your teaching aids - Works perfectly with lesson micro-teaching plans

Play this activity

1. Students enter a simple code

2. You play the video

3. The students comment

4. You review and reflect

* Whiteboard required for teacher-paced activities

Share on:

Share 5 FALSE History Facts Everyone Knows | What the Stuff?! on Google+ Share 5 FALSE History Facts Everyone Knows | What the Stuff?! on Twitter Share 5 FALSE History Facts Everyone Knows | What the Stuff?! on Facebook Pin 5 FALSE History Facts Everyone Knows | What the Stuff?! Email 5 FALSE History Facts Everyone Knows | What the Stuff?!

Ready to see what else Spiral logo can do?

With four apps, each designed around existing classroom activities, Spiral gives you the power to do formative assessment with anything you teach.


Carry out a quickfire formative assessment to see what the whole class is thinking


Create interactive presentations to spark creativity in class

Team Up

Student teams can create and share collaborative presentations from linked devices


Turn any public video into a live chat with questions and quizzes

1000s of teachers use Spiral to deliver awesome, engaging activities that capture students' understanding during lessons.

Now it's your turn Sign up

Spiral Reviews by Teachers and Digital Learning Coaches

Review of Spiral by teacher: Kathryn Laster @kklaster

Tried out the canvas response option on @SpiralEducation & it's so awesome! Add text or drawings AND annotate an image! #R10tech

Review of Spiral by teacher: Room 220 Math Stars @3rdgradeBCE

Using @SpiralEducation in class for math review. Student approved! Thumbs up! Thanks.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Miss Ord @ordmiss

Absolutely amazing collaboration from year 10 today. 100% engagement and constant smiles from all #lovetsla #spiral

Review of Spiral by teacher: Adam J. Stryker @strykerstennis

Students show better Interpersonal Writing skills than Speaking via @SpiralEducation Great #data #langchat folks!

Review of Spiral by teacher: Dr Ayla Göl @iladylayla

A good tool for supporting active #learning.

Review of Spiral by teacher: Brett Erenberg @BrettErenberg

The Team Up app is unlike anything I have ever seen. You left NOTHING out! So impressed!

Get the Clip Chrome Extension & Create Video Lessons in Seconds

Add Clip to Chrome