Benjamin Franklin is a unique specimen in the history of the United States. Always the eccentric, Franklin carved quite a legacy among many strong personalities. He is a founding father of a different ilk. Where others were statesmen, Franklin was a charmer. When others were innovators, He cut new trails. While others were writers, Franklin had a bold voice that was heard beyond the words in a pamphlet.
(Liberty) Bell Work
Analyze the painting, Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky. Notice the details.
What do you notice about the painting? What questions come to mind?
We will use a portion of the materials at this link to accompany this video: Franklin's Spark: Student Educational Materials. Check out the extensive collection of Philadelphia materials at History of Philly.
an Electric Personality
It's high time we learned about electricity in our class. What is it? How does it work? How is it tamed? We will use a couple of days in our class to investigate forms of electricity that Benjamin Franklin could only dream of. Go to our Electrical Circuits page for more.
In addition, take some time out to answer some lingering questions in this Wonderopolis article: Who Discovered Electricity?
Go Fly a Kite...
...But do not fly one in a storm! What do you say, we make our own kites to decorate the classroom? Let's think about which Franklin Facts we should include on your kite and what "tales" of fiction to place on the tail.
Ink in His Veins
Let's try to partially replicate the printing process that Franklin seemed to enjoy so much.
When I was in high school, I went into the newspaper business, even owning my own community paper for a while - collecting advertising, interviewing eyewitnesses, photographing sporting events, regularly visiting with the chief of police, laying out and pasting up the paper, delivering it to the printer, and distributing it. It was definitely hard work, and I learned much from my mistakes. Let me share my crude results with the class. What do you notice about my papers? What do you wonder?
Allow the music of Franklin's Armonica to transport you into a scene that has yet to be written. Draw the scene as you listen. Then write, using all the visual imagery you can muster.
Here are some Music Appreciation videos to help with your reading fluency (and they might even roughly apply to lessons learned from Benjamin Franklin):
He Signed 'Em
Our friend, Franklin, was one of the founders the United States of America. A key figure in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin also signed the Constitution of the United States, making him one of only six people to sign both documents.
Ben & Me
Here's a different account of this interesting figure. This cartoon is an example of how our history has been "romanticized" through the years, making it appear that everything happened with positive grandeur and leaving the dirty realities by the wayside. Still, Ben & Me is a classic that hits many of the highlights of Benjamin Franklin's life.
Inventing the Future
Benjamin Franklin was a man ahead of his time, often inventing items that filled massive needs for the people. From bifocals to the Franklin Stove, BF was a visionary with a knack for solving problems. Take a look at our Tomorrow's Technology Today page for some inventions that are arriving on the scene for the 21st Century. Are they worthy of the same kind of recognition as Franklin's inventions? Do these inventions fill gaps in our needs, or are they merely luxuries that we could do without?
Franklin came up with the Volunteer Fire Department concept as a better response to the fires in Philadelphia. We will work through an active bucket brigade activity in teams to try to put out a fire.
While we're on the Subject
Can Kids Be Inventors, Too?
Can You Make Music with Water Glasses?
Why Do We Change the Clocks Twice a Year?
Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?
In your group, use markers and a code key to create a timeline about Benjamin Franklin (Make sure you take the time to plan your route first!). Ask the teacher to place an Ozobot on your timeline. Use the Seesaw app to record the Ozobot following your line, and narrate what is happening as the robot passes each point on your line.
We will now proceed to "invent" some creations for ourselves, using K'Nex building materials.