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Benjamin Franklin Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Alyson Breeding

Alyson is an elementary special education teacher and has a master's degree in special education.

Do you know anyone who has been struck by lightning? Well, in this lesson, you'll learn about Benjamin Franklin, who flew a kite during a lightning storm, and find out why he's known as one of our country's Founding Fathers.

Who Was Benjamin Franklin?

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1706. Franklin started out as an apprentice in his brother's print shop. An apprentice is a person who helps an expert in a trade, like printing newspapers, in order to learn how to do the trade themselves. When Franklin was a young man, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin used his newspaper to get involved in political conversations about the American colonies.

What Did He Discover?

Lightning Experiment
Lightning Experiment

Benjamin Franklin was a great inventor and scientist during the American Enlightenment. The American Enlightenment was a time of many scientific discoveries that occurred in early America.

One of his most important discoveries was electrical charge. Franklin created an experiment to prove that lightning was electricity. He attached a key to the end of a kite string and flew the kite in a lightning cloud. The lightning in the cloud traveled down the string and charged the metal key.

The experiment was very dangerous, and some people who performed it even got electrocuted! Franklin's experiment led him to invent the lightning rod. A lightning rod is used at the top of a building to protect the building from lightning strikes by directing the electricity from the strike down the rod to the ground instead of through the building.

What Made Him a Founding Father?

Benjamin Franklin was one of the United States' Founding Fathers. Franklin spent a lot of time in London, England, arguing for a peaceful separation of the 13 American colonies from British rule. When peaceful discussions did not work, Franklin returned to the colonies, where he spent most of his time writing and speaking about the need for the colonies to become their own country.

Franklin, seated, drafting the Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence

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