Time Out for Benjamin Franklin


This 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 her at contact@oklahomahomeschool.com.

A Six-Week Unit by Cindy Downes
© 2002 by Cindy Downes, All rights reserved.

This 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 it. Read over General Directions for Cindy's Unit Studies for information on how to teach the unit.

This 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.

I. 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.

A. Family reading.

B. Personal reading for 4th-6th: Ben and Me by Robert Lawson.

C. Personal reading for 7th+: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Print a free copy at: http://www.earlyamerica.com/lives/franklin/.

II. Main Project: Write an autobiography as follows:

A. 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 stores).

B. Grades 6th-12th: Written Autobiography.

  • Week 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 copies.
  • Week 2: Create an outline of your autobiography. Begin to write the first draft
  • Week 3: Complete the first draft of your autobiography.
  • Week 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.
  • Week 5: Read your second draft out loud. Edit again for content. Edit for spelling and punctuation errors.
  • Week 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.

III. Weekly Activities:

Week 1:

1. Research Benjamin Franklin’s Life using one or more of the following sources:

2. Composition: Begin personal autobiographies. See instructions above.

3. 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 Franklin's Kite!

Week 2:

    • Continue work on autobiography.
    • Make a fire truck craft:
      Website: http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/transportation/mfiretruck.html (K-2nd)
    • Create a Fire Safety brochure or poster. Include a home fire escape plan and a fire drill schedule. (3rd+)
    • Science 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 ages)

Week 3:

1. Research Fire Safety:

    2. Project:

    • Continue work on autobiography.
    • Conduct a home fire drill. (all ages)
    • Field trip: Oklahoma Firefighter’s Museum. Website: http://www.osfa.info/muse.html (all ages)
    • Read: Clifford the Firehouse Dog (Clifford, the Big Red Dog) by Norman Bridwell, (K-3rd)

Week 4:

1.Research Eyeglasses and How Vision Works

2. Project:

Week 5 & 6:

1. Read Poor Richard’s Almanack.

2. Research papermaking and book printing

3. Project: Typeset and bind your completed autobiography.

Be sure to enter these topics on your copy of The Checklist.

Please let me know if any of these links do not work. Email: contact@oklahomahomeschool.com.




Copyright © 2004 - Oklahoma Homeschool