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Benjamin Banneker Activities

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Are your students learning about the very successful African American Benjamin Banneker? This lesson provides various opportunities for students to engage in meaningful activities while gaining knowledge of the famous Benjamin Banneker.

Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker was a famous free African American who was a great mathematician, astronomer, and a well-known creator of almanacs. Your students may be learning about him in history class, during a study of famous African Americans, or other studies about successful people.

The following activities are a great addition to deepen students' understanding of Benjamin Banneker and his accomplishments. Each activity can be adjusted according to student need and teacher preference. If you want to evaluate your students' knowledge with these activities, rubrics are a great tool.

Benjamin Banneker Activities

Benjamin Bag

Students get to do a biography of Benjamin Banneker in a unique way!

Materials:

  • Computers/laptops for each student if available
  • Paper Lunch Bags
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils
  • Resources about Benjamin

Procedure:

  • Students will work independently.
  • Explain that students will get to create a bag of information all about Benjamin Banneker. Students get to work on the computer if possible, or they can do everything by hand. They will work to include the following information:
    • Picture and brief introduction of Benjamin Banneker on front.
    • Childhood and early years on right side.
    • Education and interesting facts on left side.
    • Accomplishments and successes on back.
    • Inside the bag - at least 5 meaningful objects that tell you about Benjamin's character, personality, and accomplishments. Example, a clock or almanac.
  • Allow students ample time to complete this assignment. Decide if you want it completed during class time, at home, or a combination of both.
  • Students will display and/or share their finished Benjamin Bags.

Your Own Almanac

Students get to explore what it's like to create their own almanac.

Materials:

  • Computers/laptops for each student if available
  • Notebooks or small composition books/journals
  • Crayons, colored pencils, pencils, pens
  • Sample almanacs (either online or printed)
  • Resources about Benjamin Banneker's contributions to almanacs

Procedure:

  • Students may work in groups of 2-3.
  • Ask students if they know what an almanac is? Discuss and show examples. Talk about Benjamin Banneker's almanac.
  • Explain that students will get to create their own almanac for one month in 2018.
  • They can use their notebooks, journals, or computer programs if available.
  • Students must include their predictions on the 2018 almanac for at least one month. Here are some topics the almanac should cover:
    • Astrology - phases of the moon, rising and setting of the sun, lunar or solar eclipses, etc.
    • Weather - hurricane seasons, blizzards, type of winter/spring/summer/fall, etc.
    • Other information - facts, quotes, or poems, for example, that make their almanac unique.
  • Allow time for students to research and work on almanacs. Students may refer to previous examples to create a more meaningful, realistic almanac.
  • Students can share their almanacs with another group.

Interview with Benjamin

What would it be like to interview Benjamin Banneker?

Materials:

  • Resources with information about Benjamin Banneker
  • Notebook or computer/laptop to type on

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