A new exhibit helps us understand why Ben Franklin is such a popular figure in U.S. history.
Before reading, ask students to tell what the word "great means to them. Explain that it is often said of someone that "She is a great person or "He is a great leader. But what does it take to be a great person or a great leader? What are the characteristics of a "great person? As students share their thoughts, write them on a sheet of chart paper or on the black/whiteboard.
Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: anniversary, convince, exhibit, propose, wealthy, and Declaration of Independence. Discuss the meanings of any of the words that might be unfamiliar to students. Then ask them to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:
Read the News
Click for a printable version of this week's news story Ben Franklins 300th Birthday Bash.
More Facts to Share
You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.
You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:
Think About the News
Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to questions you asked before reading the news story. Then discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might use the think-pair-share strategy with students; they can use it to discuss the characteristics and qualities of a "great American and the people they think qualify to be called "great Americans.
Think some more. Benjamin Franklin liked to study things and work on inventions. What types of devices have you thought about inventing? Explain how one of your inventions would work.
For older students. When he was in his late twenties, Ben Franklin listed 13 virtues that he felt were an important guide for living. Have students arrange those 13 virtues from most to least important. Then you might have students use the think-pair-share strategy above to discuss and come to an agreement about the five most important virtues on the list.
Critical thinking. Ben Franklin is one of the most-often quoted people in American history. You can find a long list of Franklin quotes at The Quotable Franklin. Share some of those quotes with students. Ask students to interpret the quotes for you. Do they agree or disagree with the messages behind those quotes?
Civics and service-learning. Ben Franklin believed in civic duty -- in doing things to better the community, and the world, where he lived. Ask students to help you list some of the things Franklin did to better his world. In order to celebrate the anniversary of Ben Franklins birth, Starbucks Coffee and the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary partnered to present a Ben Franklin Coffeehouse Challenge. That grassroots program was designed to encourage lively and informal discussions during which a diverse range of civic-minded individuals 21st century Ben Franklins -- could share their thoughts on particular local issues and, most importantly, generate potential solutions. Six of those proposals were awarded grants of $3,000 to carry them out. You can share with students some of the actual contest proposals. After sharing some of the ideas, arrange students into small groups and have them brainstorm proposals that would help make their community a better place to live.
Language arts. This epitaph activity from the Franklin Institute shares Ben Franklins desired tombstone epitaph and challenges students to write their own. It is one of many activities from the Institutes collection of Ben Franklin Enrichment Activities.
More cross-curriculum activities. The folks at the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary have created these Ben Across the Curriculum Activities. Click one of the grade-level links at the top of the page to find activities appropriate for your classroom.
Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.
Lesson Plan SourceEducation World
National StandardsNational Standards
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
GRADES K - 12
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data
NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
SOCIAL SCIENCES: U.S. History
GRADES K - 4
NSS-USH.K-4.1 Living and Working together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago
NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
GRADES 5 - 12
2: Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)
NSS-USH.5-12.3 Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.
Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
Copyright © 2006 Education World