Lesson Plan

Benjamin Franklin: Man of Many Talents Elementary Lesson

Benjamin Franklin

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Subject:
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
3.RI.2, 3.RI.3, 3.RI.7, 3.RI.8, 4.RI.2, 4.RI.3, 4.RI.7, 4.RI.8, 5.RI.2, 5.RI.3, 5.RI.7, 5.RI.8, 3.SL.1, 3.SL.5, 4.SL.1, 4.SL.5, 5.SL.1, 5.SL.5
State Standards:
Pennsylvania State History Standards:
8.2 Social, political, cultural, and economic contributions of individuals and groups from Pennsylvania
8.3 Social, political, cultural, and economic contributions of individuals and groups in US History
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Objective

*Why is Benjamin Franklin considered a significant figure in US history?

*How did Benjamin Franklin's many talents contribute to his achievements in US history?

Background

Through this lesson, students will gain an understanding of the life and times of Benjamin Franklin in a series of activities that carry Franklin's ideas to the present day.

Each step in the lesson contains two basic components: the Background Dossier and the Assignment. Individual steps may be taught in isolation or may be used together as part of a unit of study.

Use the Background Dossier to frame steps. These sheets will provide you with information that may be shared with students orally, or may be listed on wall charts. Students may complete all or part of the Assignment portion of these step plans as a whole class or in small groups. 

Preparation

*Choose whether the students will work independently, in pairs, or in groups.

*Each of the five assignments focuses on a different talent of Benjamin Franklin. You should determine whether you want each individual/group to complete all five of assignments, a certain number of the assignments, or just one of the assignments. Note: The five Assignments presented within these plans are: Franklin the inventor, Franklin the musician, Franklin the community leader and diplomat, Franklin the writer and printer, and a man of multiple intelligences.

*Make one copies of the assignment based on the number of assignments to be completed by each student. 

*Make one copy of per student of the Project Pre Test and Project Post Test. 

*Print and cut out the timeline cards included in these plans. Important events in Franklin‘s life are listed on these 32 cards. Note: the most basic events are written in black, while the red cards include world events. Some red cards also include no date to make it even more challenging for students. The teacher can choose which cards to use depending on age and background knowledge.

 

Materials

Administer Project Pre Test to measure student background knowledge on Benjamin Franklin's many talents and achievements in US history. This is most effective when used in conjunction with the Project Post Test.

Download Project Pre Test

Cards to be used in the preview activity. Note: Red cards involve world events and may lack a date to challenge the thinking of students.

Download Timeline Cards

Investigation to be completed by students.

Download Assignment One - Franklin as Inventor

Investigation to be completed by students.

Download Assignment Two - Franklin as Musician

Investigation to be completed by students.

Download Assignment Three - Franklin as Community Leader

Investigation to be completed by students.

Download Assignment Four - Franklin as Printer

Investigation to be completed by students.

Download Assignment Five - Multiple Intelligences of Franklin

For students searching for an additional challenge or enrichment, use one of these activities.

Download Project Extensions

Use as an anchor for students who complete assignments or tests quicker than others. You can make this a competition for creativity.

Download Sayings of Benjamin Franklin

Includes links and print suggestions for both teachers and students.

Download Additional Online and Print Resources on Franklin

Lesson Hook/Preview

*Optional: Administer Project Pre Test to measure student background knowledge on Benjamin Franklin's many talents and achievements in US history. This is most effective when used in conjunction with the Project Post Test. 

Create a Living Timeline (15 minutes) 

*Start by asking the class to name a scientist, an inventor, a diplomat, a writer, a printer, a musician, and a leader. List all of the answers on the board.

*Then, challenge the students to name one person who did all of these things. Discuss all answers and if Benjamin Franklin was not mentioned, suggest his name to the class and discuss his candidacy.

*Introduce the term Renaissance Man. Explain that the word Renaissance means ―rebirth. Leonardo Da Vinci was considered such a man because he was knowledgeable in a wide range of fields. Today, a man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field is considered to be a Renaissance Man (or Woman). Record this information on a wall chart for students to refer to during their study of Franklin.

*Distribute one timeline card to each student.

*Students will assemble themselves in chronological order to create a living timeline.

*Call on individuals to share the important event on their cards. This may be done orally, by acting out the event or by illustrating it on a small poster. By creating this timeline, students will create a visual representation of the scope of Franklin‘s many accomplishments. 

*Return to the definition of a Renaissance Man. Why might Franklin deserve this title? Discuss. Teacher should refer back to this term while teaching this study of Franklin.

Procedure

If students are completing one of the assignments: 90 Minute Lesson

1.  The teacher will choose the number of assignments to be completed. Each of the groups will complete one of the assignments in approximately 30 minutes.

2. Groups will be given their assignment packet either chosen or assigned. All students will begin by reading the Background Dossier on Benjamin Franklin. Then, students will read and begin the assignment. 

3. Each group will present their work to the whole class as a culminating activity. Students should take notes on each presentation to use on the project post test. (25 Minutes - 5 minutes per group including questions) 

4. After the groups present, ask students what they think the "top ten list" of Benjamin Franklin's accompishments should be and record those answers on the board. Ask how our life would be different today without his accomplishments. (5 minutes) 

5. Administer the Project Post Test to students to measure growth in comprehension of Benjamin Franklin's impact on Pennsylvania and US History. (15 minutes) 

If students are completing several or all of the assignments: Approximately 180 Minute Lesson depending on age and number of assignments

1. The teacher will divide the class into cooperative learning groups of 3 students and explain project directions. Each of these groups will complete all or a specific number of the tasks involved in this unit of study. Assign roles to each member of the group: Organizer, Coordinator, and Initiator. (10 minutes) 

  • The organizer will keep all materials organized and make sure that assigments are ready to be turned in.
  • The coordinator will make sure that everyone is participating and the project is keeping pace to be done by the due date.
  • The Initiator will start the conversation and task by reading directions and asking questions. 

3. The teacher should distribute packets of Background Dossiers and Assignments.  Students in each group will work as a team to complete all of the assignments. Students can decide to divide up the assignments by interest or work collectively on all assignments. (Approximately 60 minutes) 

4. When students are done with their assignments, the last step is for each group to create a poster arguing what they believe are Benjamin Franklin's top three intelligences from Howard Gardner's Theory. They should cite examples and evidence from their research. (20-30 Minutes) 

5. These posters will be presented to the class in a 2 minute presentation. (Approximately 30-40 minutes) 

5. Debrief any similarities and differences between the groups arguments of Benjamin Franklin's strongest intelligences. (5 minutes) 

6. Administer the Project Post Test to students to measure growth in comprehension of Benjamin Franklin's impact on Pennsylvania and US History. (15 minutes) 

Vocabulary

Renaissance Man - A person with many talents or areas of knowledge.

Multiple-Intelligences - A theory developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner that suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead there are seven different areas of intelligence. 

Patenta government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.

Propaganda - Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

Civic Action Group - Members of the community working together to make a difference in the civil life of a local area and developing the combination of skills, knowledge, values, and motivation in order to make that difference. 

Diplomat - An official representing a country abroad.

Assessment Materials

Project Post Test

Administer the Project Post Test to students to measure growth in comprehension of Benjamin Franklin's impact on Pennsylvania and US History.

Project Post Test

Download Assessment

Supports for Struggling Learners

*Teacher chosen heterogenous groups 

*Some of the assignments that include less reading are three and two. 

*Highlighted copies of the assignments and dossiers. 

Enrichment Activities

*Encourage students to choose one of the extension activities. 

*Give students the "Sayings of Benjamin Franklin" anchor and have a contest to see who can come up with the best original sayings. 

Additional Resources

Web Resources for teachers and students Benjamin Franklin:

PBS on Benjamin Franklin: http://www.pbs.org/benjaminfranklin/

Benjamin Franklin: Glimpses of the Man http://sln.fi.edu/franklin/rotten.html

Ben’s Guide http://bensguide.gpo.gov/benfranklin/

Benjamin Franklin In His Own Words http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/franklin-home.html Franklin Court https://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/franklin-court.htm

For additional print resources for both teachers and students, see document in the materials section titled "Additional Online and Print Resources on Franklin". 

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