Monday, November 15, 2010

Ben Franklin

When you hear the name Benjamin Franklin, you probably think of a guy from long ago who had something to do with our country, but aren't really sure what. Hey, it's in the past. What does it matter to me today? What makes this guy so special that HE gets to be on our hundred dollar bill? This week, Britches and Little Man went back in time to meet up with one of the greatest men in our country's history, and to find out just what DOES make this man so special.

To help us on our time travels, I, of course, turned to Download N Go, who has a FANTASTIC Ben Franklin unit. Already prepared for me were great lesson plans, fascinating online links to videos, and really cool templates.

I started out by printing off the pages I wanted to use, and then put together the lapbooks (because I don't want to spend the precious little time I DO have trying to get the kids to cut everything out on their own). DNG provides a book list that you have the option of using during the unit. In truth, there is enough information already included in the unit that you really don't HAVE to use any of these. But since I LOVE the library and using actual physical BOOKS, I did borrow several from the list.

One of the first things we learned about Ben was the fact that he had a large - VERY LARGE - family! We learned about his parents and his siblings, where they lived, and things he enjoyed doing as a kid. Then, after learning a little about Ben's family tree, we made our own. The kids thought that part was pretty cool.

Britches and Little Man found it amazing how many lives this one man lived! Among some of the amazing things that this guy did, he was an inventor, a printer, a writer, a world traveler, and a statesman. How did that man do so many things in his life? Well, that's just it. He DID THINGS. He didn't just talk about what needed to be done, but he went out and found solutions.

We learned that Ben started a weekly club that met to talk about important matters. So I asked the kids what kind of club they would start, who they would invite, and what they would talk about. Both went straight to work designing their clubs. Here is what they came up with.

Little Man decided that his club was going to be called "Boys Bible Group." WOW! I was pretty impressed. He said he would invite the boys from church, and they would discuss things in the Bible. 

Britches, of course, wanted to start an all girls club. She named it "G.I.A - Girl's Improvement Association." They would meet to discuss things like self improvement, fashion, and whatever other "girl things" they wanted to talk about.

On the day that we learned about Ben's printing press and business, we started the day by watching the video link about how the press actually worked. It was REALLY cool to see the machine that took the place of hand-writing documents! My plans were to go from the video straight to working on our lapbooks. But as soon as the video went off, both kids told me they were off to build a printing press. Well, who am I to stand in the way of creativity?! So they both headed to the recycling bin, pulled out some cardboard, and got to work. Here are their finished products. 


Britches got all her supplies together and started on her printing press.

This is the open printing press, and the paper goes right in the middle.

The cover folds down over the paper. The letter tiles go on the bottom flap, where the "beater" uses an "ink ball" to apply the ink to the tiles. 

The entire press is folded over to press the ink from the tile to the paper.

This is her "ink ball" and she is the "beater."

Little Man began work on his printing press.

It folds over, much like Britches' press, with the "window" opening for the paper to show through and press against the ink.

The cardboard over the "window" represents a piece of paper that would have been in his press. 

Little Man beating ink on his letters.

The finished printing press! Tada! 

One morning, we started out to watch one or maybe two videos of Ben's famous kite experiment, and we ended up spending about an hour and a half watching Youtube videos! What a fun way to learn about how Benjamin Franklin discovered that lightening is really electricity! We began with the video links already provided by DNG, and then just kept watching more! 

There were so many other amazing things we learned during this week of Benjamin Franklin history. I could go on and on telling you about all the amazing things this man said and did, and all the things my kids took away from this lesson. But instead of me telling you, you should get your own copy of Ben Franklin and have some fun with YOUR kids! 

There are many other homeschool mom's using the Ben Franklin unit with their kids. Visit the blog tour to find their blog sites, and go check out the way they used this unit! You will get lots of ideas for when you teach it to your own kiddos!

History is one of my favorite subjects, so it makes it very easy for me to get enthusiastic about teaching it to my kids. We all really, REALLY enjoyed this unit! I am so glad we spent the week traveling back in time to learn about one of the greatest men to ever live.

~I received a free copy of "Ben Franklin" in exchange for my honest review of this product.


“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess