unit is ©Copyright 2004
by Cindy Downes. All rights reserved. Permission
is given to homeschooling parents to use these units free
of charge in their own homeschool only. These units may not
be reprinted in any other form, for any other purpose (commercial
or otherwise) without permission from Cindy Downes. Contact
Six-Week Unit by Cindy Downes
© 2002 by Cindy Downes, All rights reserved.
unit is designed to be completed in six weeks,
completing two, 1 - 2 hour lessons per week;
however, you can customize it to any length, depending upon
how much material you cover and how long you take to cover
Read over General Directions for
Cindy's Unit Studies for information on how to teach the
unit introduces your children to Ben Franklin, the printer,
scientist, revolutionary, and diplomat. While studying
Franklin, children will write their own “Autobiography”
as well as learn about book printing, fire fighting, fire
safety, the structure of the eye, how paper is made, and
how eyeglasses were invented.
Reading Assignment. Choose one book.
Divide the number of pages in the book by 6. This is the number
of pages you will need to read each week to complete the book.
Personal reading for 4th-6th: Ben
and Me by Robert Lawson.
Personal reading for 7th+: The Autobiography of Benjamin
Franklin. Print a free copy at: http://www.earlyamerica.com/lives/franklin/.
Main Project: Write an autobiography as follows:
Grades K-5th: Picture Autobiography. Select and make copies
of photos of each child from birth to their current age.
Have them mount the photos, one to a page, on lined or unlined
paper, as desired. Use the backs and fronts of each page.
Have them write captions about the photo on each page. For
younger children, have them dictate captions to you as you
write down their exact words. Be sure to write in sound
effects! This makes it more fun to read later! Do this over
the five week period. During the last week, have them create
a cover, laminate the covers (or use plastic sheet protectors),
and bind into a booklet (binding service available at copy
Grades 6th-12th: Written Autobiography.
1: Make a list of major events in your life. Organize
them in chronological sequence. If you are going to add
pictures to your autobiography, choose pictures and make
2: Create an outline of your autobiography. Begin to write
the first draft
3: Complete the first draft of your autobiography.
4: Read your first draft out loud to yourself. Edit for
word usage only. Rewrite sentences that are fragments,
run on, or unclear. Do not worry about spelling and grammar
errors at this point. Write second draft.
5: Read your second draft out loud. Edit again for content.
Edit for spelling and punctuation errors.
6: Type final copy and add photos and/or drawings if desired.
Create a cover, laminate covers (or use plastic sheet
protectors), and bind into a booklet.
Research Benjamin Franklin’s Life using one or
more of the following sources:
Composition: Begin personal autobiographies. See instructions
Activity: Fly a Kite. Learn the science behind how a kite
flies and how to fly one at : http://www.aka.org.au/kites_in_the_classroom/student.htm
4. Watch Benjamin
work on autobiography.
a fire truck craft:
a Fire Safety brochure or poster. Include a home fire
escape plan and a fire drill schedule. (3rd+)
Lab: Create your own “fire extinguisher.”
Place baking soda and water in a glass. Light a candle
and place in the center of an aluminum pie plate. Pour
vinegar into the baking soda mixture. As the baking
soda and vinegar react, pour the carbon dioxide gas
over the candle and watch it go out. (Try this ahead
of time. The placement of the glass is critical.) (all
Research Fire Safety:
work on autobiography.
a home fire drill. (all ages)
trip: Oklahoma Firefighter’s Museum. Website: http://www.osfa.info/muse.html
Clifford the Firehouse Dog (Clifford, the Big
Red Dog) by Norman Bridwell, (K-3rd)
Eyeglasses and How Vision Works
5 & 6:
Read Poor Richard’s Almanack.
Research papermaking and book printing
Project: Typeset and bind your completed autobiography.
sure to enter these topics on your copy of The
let me know if any of these links do not work. Email: