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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Happy Birthday, Ben Franklin! (January 17th)

Ben Franklin’s birthday is January 17, 1706. He had lots of sayings on how to live one’s life. For example,” If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him.” He also said, “ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Learn about this famous “founding father” of our country with this webquest!

1. Ben Franklin was a inventor, scientist,writer,statesman and librarian. Believing we could save fuel by using natural light of the sun, Ben first suggested an idea we use today. _______________________Find the answer at:

2. Ben Franklin is the only founding father to sign all four important documents in American History. Name the four documents:______________, _____________, _________________ and _____________An inventor of such things as bifocals and the lightning rod, why didn’t Franklin get a patent for any of his ideas?__________________________Find the answers at this link:

3. Often called the “ First American”, Ben Franklin became a printer, inventor, writer and eventually became ambassador to which country during the Revolutionary War?____________What musical instrument did Franklin invent?___________________ Franklin also started the first________________ and first___________________ in Philadelphia. Find the answers at this link:

Fun Facts about Ben Franklin

1. While swimming, young Ben used a kite to pull him along the water!

2. Young Ben used some money his parents gave him and went to the store to make a purchase.  He noticed a  young boy blowing a whistle and  asked if  he could buy it.  When he got home, his family laughed that he spent much more than he should have done. Later in life when Ben saw people overpaying for things, he said, “They  give too much for their whistles.”

3. As a young man, Ben  became a vegetarian and lived on potatoes, raisins and bread. With the extra savings and time, Ben purchased books and said he had more time to read.

Test your Knowledge on Ben Franklin:
1. Ben Franklin is found on which US currency?
A. One dollar bill
B. Ten dollar bill
C.  Hundred dollar bill

2. In addition to inventing bifocals, a device to reach for items using a  long wooden pole with a grasping claw at the end and an odometer, Franklin invented:
A. electricity
B. lightning rod
C. electronic calculator

3. Ben started the first volunteer fire department , the first free hospital and the
A: first public library in Philadelphia
B. first pizza restaurant in Philadelphia
C. first public school in Philadelphia


Extension Activities:
Illustrate a quote of Ben Franklin

Have one student be Ben Franklin and another be the interviewer. Have students give a short news interview for the class by asking and answering 3 questions.

If you could go back in time and meet Ben Franklin. What would be a question you would ask of him?  Explain why this question would be something you’d like to have Franklin answer.

Discuss character traits such as honesty, helpfulness, trustworthy, etc. Ask the students to find 3 character traits about Ben Franklin. Find evidence from the activity to support the traits given to Franklin.  Have students make a list of 3 character traits they feel they have and why they selected the traits.

Check out the complete resource (9 web questions,more fun facts and additional extension activities).