Benjamin Franklin was a writer, inventor, postmaster, scientist, and politician. Some of his most well-known stories sound more like a tall tale than fact. Our Benjamin Franklin Unit teaches about the eventful life of this American patriot, including his life as a printer and his many inventions. Your students will love learning more about the man on the 100 dollar bill. Here are 5 cross-curricular lesson ideas to share with your students from our Ben Franklin, Electricity, Nutrition, and Inventions Units.
Franklin is probably most famous for his kite experiment, which you read about in Franklin’s Kite Experiment. Lightning is a form of static electricity. Suggest that students use balloons and wool or a hair comb covered in paper and their hair to demonstrate static electricity. Encourage them to provide a scientific explanation during their demonstrations. Create a lesson that is truly cross-curricular by incorporating one of seven Topics from our Electricity Unit.
In the Topic called Young Ben, your students will learn that Benjamin Franklin became a vegetarian. Have students work on a lunch menu that Franklin might enjoy. Students might work together to prepare a vegetarian lunch that they and their classmates can share in the school cafeteria. They learn even more about healthy eating in our Nutrition Unit.
In 2006, the United States Postal Service celebrated the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birthday by unveiling a limited edition stamp. Have students design their own postage stamp honoring Franklin’s birthday. Encourage students to be creative. They may wish to use symbols as well as or instead of Franklin’s image on the stamp design.
After reading about Poor Richard’s Almanack in Printing and Publishing, students might plan an abbreviated almanac of their own. Have groups of students write an almanac for an upcoming week. They might include weather predictions, wise sayings, as well as other information. Display copies of Poor Richard’s Almanacks and a modern-day almanac that students can use as models.
Benjamin Franklin was many things, but inventor should be at the top of the list. You can read about some of his work in Scientist and Inventor. Have students select five inventions based on a theme, such as transportation or music, and find out who invented them. Ask students to research the cities where each of the inventors was born or created the invention. Have students plan a route to visit these five cities and design a travel brochure that advertises the “tour.” You can read about a wide variety of creators and innovators in our Inventions Unit.