What our Benjamin Franklin lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Benjamin Franklin teaches students about Franklin’s personal life and history, his inventions, and his status as a historical figure. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify Benjamin Franklin and list some of his inventions and contributions to society and the United States. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson are colored pencils, paper, scissors, glue, and the handouts.
Options for Lesson
Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. If your students don’t have access to the internet, an optional adjustment to the lesson activity is to have them use alternate resources or hand out copies of important years in Franklin’s life. For an additional activity, you can assign each student an aphorism to further investigate and interpret through conversations with adults in their lives. You can also have students create an image using one of the aphorisms. Finally, you can assign each student an invention to research.
The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
The Benjamin Franklin lesson plan includes two pages of content. When people see the words kits and storm together, they usually think of Benjamin Franklin. He contributed a lot to the United States and the world as a whole. Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers as well as a famous inventor and diplomat.
Kites and storms refer to his work with electricity. Through that experiment, he learned that lightning is actually electricity. This allowed him to invent the lightning rod, which protect buildings from lightning strikes. It also revealed that there are two types of electricity, positive and negative.
Franklin was also involved in the early struggles of the colonies against the British. He was a diplomat, or a person appointed by a country to spend time in other country representing their home country and protecting its interests, trade and commerce, promotion, and more.
Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was the 15th of 17 children and his father was a candle maker. He stopped attending school at age 10 but never stopped learning on his own.
At age 12, he started an apprenticeship with his brother to be a printer. Apprentices work with masters to learn skills so that they can someday work on their own. His brother printed the first fully American newspaper, the Courant. Ben wrote letters to the paper under the pseudonym Mrs. Silence Dogood and his brother published them without knowing it was Ben the whole time.
When he was 17, Ben broke his apprenticeship and went to Philadelphia to become a printer. He lived there for the rest of his life. He bought a newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, in 1729. It was one of the most successful newspapers in the colonies. He published the first maps and editorial cartoons. During this time, he married a woman named Deborah Read. They had three children, the first of whom was born in 1731.
In 1732, he began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack and continued to do so for the next 25 years. He sold the newspaper in 1748 and retired from printing. At this time, the newspaper included weather reports, recipes, predictions, and useful sayings called aphorisms.
Benjamin Franklin was one of the five men involved in drafting the Declaration of Independence, though Thomas Jefferson was the main author. During this time, he was Pennsylvania’s representative at the Second Continental Congress, who met in 1775 in Philadelphia. They decided to declare war on Britain and made George Washington the commanding general of the army.
Franklin was the only American who signed all four of the following documents: the Declaration of Independence, a Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitution of the United States. He served as ambassador to France and convinced the French to help them fight the British for their independence.
He was also an inventor, and invented bifocal lenses for glasses, swim find, the Franklin stove, the odometer, library ladders, glass harmonicas, and medical catheters.
Franklin also started the first public library in the United States and the first fire station in Pennsylvania. He reorganized the American postal system while working as the Postmaster General. He founded the University of Pennsylvania and supported projects to help clean, pave, and light the streets in Philadelphia. Franklin also proposed the idea of daylight savings time.
Franklin died in 1790, at ago 90. During his lifetime, he was one of the most famous early founders. You can find his picture on the $100 bill.
Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:
- Founding Fathers: The people who helped found the United States of America
- Lightning rods: An invention that protected buildings from being struck by lightning
- Aphorisms: Memorable useful sayings
- Declaration of Independence: An important document that Benjamin Franklin helped draft
- Second Continental Congress: A group of representatives who declared war on Great Britain
- University of Pennsylvania: The school that Benjamin Franklin founded; started as a hospital and school
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Benjamin Franklin lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.
TIMELINE ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
For the lesson activity, students will create a timeline for Benjamin Franklin’s life using the years the teacher gives them. They will cut out the years, glue them on the timeline, and write a brief explanation for a significant event from each year. They can also include five additional years/events, and can use the content pages and the internet for research. Students will include drawings and images for each year as well.
Students can also work in pairs for this activity if you’d like them to.
QUOTES PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet asks students to read quotes and aphorisms from Benjamin Franklin and write their meanings in the space provided.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
For the homework assignment, students will fill in the blanks in 20 sentences using the words from the provided word bank.
Worksheet Answer Keys
This lesson plan includes answer keys for the activity worksheet, the practice worksheet, and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.