Overcoming Obstacles Lesson Plan: The Power of Resilience

Overcoming Obstacles lesson plan

In this lesson, we will embark on an inspirational journey through the lives of three remarkable individuals: Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Kodi Lee. Each of these figures faced significant challenges but climbed their personal mountains to achieve greatness. Through their stories, we will explore the themes of persistence, resilience, and the beauty of embracing our differences. This lesson aims to teach students about these inspiring individuals and encourage them to reflect on their own challenges and how they can overcome them.

Learning Goals

  • I will be able to understand the importance of persistence by analyzing Thomas Edison’s approach to failure and success.
  • I will be able to explain how Stephen Hawking’s resilience in the face of physical limitations expanded our understanding of the universe.
  • I will be able to appreciate the power of embracing differences through Kodi Lee’s musical journey, despite his blindness and autism.
  • I will be able to conduct research on an inspiring figure who has overcome significant challenges, demonstrating the universal capacity for resilience and achievement.



  1. Begin with a discussion about challenges and obstacles students have faced or are currently facing.
  2. Introduce the stories of Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Kodi Lee by reading through the Overcoming Obstacles handout.
  3. Have students complete the questions in the handout.
  4. Split the class into small groups and assign each group one of the three figures to discuss.
  5. Each group will identify the key challenges their figure faced and how they overcame them, focusing on the themes of persistence, resilience, and embracing differences.
  6. Facilitate a class discussion on how these themes can be applied in the students’ lives.
  7. Research Project – Finding Inspiration in Adversity: Each student will choose an inspiring figure who has overcome significant challenges. This could be a historical figure, a contemporary public figure, or even someone from their community.
  8. Complete the tasks in the handout: they will present their findings in a creative format of their choice (presentation, essay, video, etc.), highlighting what can be learned from their figure’s journey.

Overcoming Obstacles: The Inspiring Journeys of Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Kodi Lee

Picture this: you’re standing at the base of a gigantic mountain, its peak lost in the clouds, an insurmountable challenge that tests your very spirit. But instead of turning back, you take a deep breath and start the climb, one determined step at a time, driven by an inner fire that whispers, “I can do this.” This is not just any adventure; it’s the real-life journey of three extraordinary individuals who faced towering obstacles and rose above them with unwavering courage and determination. Thomas Edison, the master inventor who lit up the world; Stephen Hawking, the brilliant physicist who unraveled the mysteries of the universe from his wheelchair; and Kodi Lee, a musical prodigy who, despite being blind and autistic, captivates hearts with his voice and piano. Each of them, in their own unique way, climbed their personal mountains and stood victorious at the summit, proving that the human spirit knows no bounds.

Thomas Edison: The Light of Persistence

Let’s start with Thomas Edison, a name synonymous with invention and creativity. But did you know that Edison faced numerous challenges on his way to becoming one of the greatest inventors in history? He had hearing problems from a young age and struggled in school. In fact, his teacher once called him “too stupid to learn anything.” Instead of giving up, Edison turned his obstacles into opportunities.

Edison is famous for inventing the light bulb, but it wasn’t an easy journey. He failed thousands of times before finally succeeding. He once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison’s story teaches us the power of persistence. No matter how often you fail, getting up and trying again matters. His light shines as a beacon of perseverance, showing us that determination can turn the impossible into reality.

Stephen Hawking: A Mind Beyond Limits

Next, let’s explore the life of Stephen Hawking, one of our time’s most brilliant theoretical physicists. Hawking was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 21, which gradually paralyzed him. Despite being given only a few years to live, Hawking defied all odds and continued his groundbreaking work on black holes and the universe.

Hawking’s determination was as vast as the cosmos he studied. Even when he could no longer speak or move, he communicated through a computer and continued to share his discoveries with the world. Hawking showed us that physical limitations cannot limit the power of the mind. His legacy is a universe of knowledge and inspiration, proving that we can reach the stars with passion and resilience.

Kodi Lee: A Voice That Defies Darkness

Our final hero is Kodi Lee, a young musician who captured hearts on the television show “America’s Got Talent.” Kodi is not only a phenomenal singer and pianist but also blind and autistic. In a world that often focuses on limitations, Kodi’s story is a testament to the incredible capabilities of each person.

Kodi’s journey reminds us that everyone has a unique gift to share with the world. His music transcends barriers, touching souls and uplifting spirits. When Kodi performs, it’s not about what he can’t do; it’s about the beautiful art he creates. Kodi teaches us to see the beauty in our differences and to embrace our individual talents with courage and joy.

Lessons Learned

The stories of Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Kodi Lee are beacons of inspiration. They teach us important lessons about facing challenges:

  • Persistence: Like Edison, we learn that success is not about never failing but how many times you’re willing to stand up and try again.
  • Resilience: Hawking’s life shows us that our spirits can soar beyond physical limitations and our minds can explore the furthest reaches of the universe.
  • Embracing Differences: Kodi Lee’s journey illustrates the power of embracing and sharing our unique abilities with the world, lighting up the darkness with our talents.

Reflect and Grow

Now, think about your own life. What challenges are you facing? Remember, every obstacle is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become stronger. Whether it’s a subject in school that seems too difficult, a skill that’s hard to master, or a personal goal that feels out of reach, remember the stories of Edison, Hawking, and Kodi. Their journeys teach us that we can overcome any obstacle with determination, resilience, and belief in our abilities.


Thomas Edison, Stephen Hawking, and Kodi Lee climbed their mountains and showed us the view from the top. Their stories are not just about the challenges they faced but about the incredible potential within each of us to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness. So, remember their stories next time you’re faced with a challenge. Let their light guide you, and who knows? One day, your story will inspire others to climb their mountains too.

Reflective Questions

  1. Which of these stories resonated with you the most, and why?
  2. Think of a challenge you’ve faced recently. How can you apply the lessons of persistence, resilience, and embracing differences to overcome them?
  3. How can you use your unique talents to make a positive impact in your own life or the lives of others?

Finding Inspiration in Adversity: Research Project

Objective: To explore the lives of inspiring individuals who have overcome significant challenges and to learn from their journeys.


  • Choose an Inspiring Figure: Select a person who has faced and overcome significant challenges. This could be a historical figure, a contemporary public figure, or someone from your community.
  • Research: Gather information about your chosen figure, focusing on:
    • The challenges they faced.
    • How they overcame these challenges.
    • The impact of their journey on themselves and others.
  • Presentation Format: Present your findings in a creative format of your choice. This could be a:
    • Written essay
    • Oral presentation
    • Video documentary
    • Artistic representation (e.g., a painting, sculpture, or collage)
  • Content: Your presentation should include:
    • An introduction to your chosen figure.
    • A detailed account of the challenges they faced.
    • A description of how they overcame these challenges.
    • A conclusion highlighting what can be learned from their journey.

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