Benjamin Franklin Lesson Plan

Objective: To provide high school students with an understanding of the life, achievements, and impact of Benjamin Franklin on American history, science, and literature.

Lesson Duration: 60 minutes

Lesson Procedure:

I. Introduction (10 minutes)

A. Begin the lesson by engaging students in a brief discussion on the concept of a “Renaissance Man” or polymath and its significance in history.

B. Introduce Benjamin Franklin as an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

C. Provide a brief overview of the colonial period in America and the events leading to the founding of the nation.

D. Explain that today’s lesson will focus on the life of Benjamin Franklin, his many accomplishments, and his impact on various aspects of American history and culture.

II. Benjamin Franklin’s Early Life and Career (15 minutes)

A. Distribute the handout on Benjamin Franklin’s timeline and key events.

B. Discuss Franklin’s early life, including his family background, education, and apprenticeship as a printer.

C. Explain Franklin’s move to Philadelphia and his career as a printer, writer, and publisher, including his work on Poor Richard’s Almanack.

D. Encourage students to take notes and ask questions throughout the discussion.

III. Benjamin Franklin’s Inventions and Scientific Discoveries (15 minutes)

A. Detail some of Franklin’s most well-known inventions, such as the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove.

B. Discuss Franklin’s scientific discoveries, including his experiments with electricity and his work on understanding the Gulf Stream.

C. Explain the significance of Franklin’s inventions and discoveries for his time and their impact on modern life.

D. Show a video clip on Benjamin Franklin’s inventions and scientific discoveries (optional).

IV. Benjamin Franklin’s Role in American History and Politics (10 minutes)

A. Discuss Franklin’s role in the founding of the United States, including his involvement in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

B. Explain Franklin’s diplomatic efforts during the American Revolutionary War, particularly his time in France as an ambassador.

C. Discuss Franklin’s views on slavery and his eventual support for abolition.

V. Conclusion and Class Discussion (10 minutes)

A. Summarize the main points of Benjamin Franklin’s life, his many accomplishments, and his impact on American history and culture.

B. Engage students in a discussion about Franklin’s legacy and how his diverse talents and achievements have contributed to the shaping of America.

C. Encourage students to share their thoughts on Franklin’s ability to excel in multiple fields and what lessons they can learn from his approach to learning and innovation.

D. Assign students to research and prepare a short presentation on another influential polymath or inventor (e.g., Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein) for the next class.