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Benjamin Franklin: An Extraordinary Life. An Electric Mind.
A rich resource from PBS on this American legend.
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This site is part of the larger PBS site and was published as a companion site to the program that aired on PBS in 2002. The content, however, is still very relevant for anyone wanting to learn more about one of the "most remarkable and multi-talented human beings the world has ever known." It includes background information, quizzes, a teacher's guide, and animations.
This well-designed site is easily navigated. The main page has a top navigation bar with the four major sections of the site as well as a bottom navigation to other areas of the site. Subsequent pages have a left side menu. Each of the main sections has its own top navigation menu for navigating the section. Real Player and Macromedia Flash 5 Player are needed to fully enjoy the site.

This site explores the life of the remarkable Benjamin Franklin: writer, inventor, diplomat, businessman, scientist, humorist, civic leader, international celebrity . . . genius. Each of the four major sections -- Citizen Ben, Wit and Wisdom, Inquiring Mind, and World of Influence -- explores Franklin's life from a different perspective. The site includes a wealth of information plus transcripts of speeches and text of his writings such as his first Silence Dogood article and his Self-Improvement Plan. Visitors can learn about his scientific discoveries, listen to a composition on the Glass Armonica, or read about some of his lesser-known inventions such as swim fins and the extension arm. Students will enjoy "How Shocking!", the interactive electrical experience where they can make a spark, fly a kite, and build a lightning rod. Other interactive features include a trip through "Ben's Town," where users can see the many ways he improved our lifestyle, an interactive map of his travels and influence, and a quiz to see how you measure up in the virtue department. Franklin's design for a kite is available with instructions for making your own. Included are a teacher's guide, an interactive timeline, an A-Z list of Franklin's many interests and accomplishments, and an extensive list of online and print resources.


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