Benjamin Franklin Project Ideas

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of America and is also known to have been an inventor, writer, scientist, and diplomat (among other things). Utilizing a variety of skills, including research and writing, students will learn more about this important figure through these projects.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin is undoubtedly one of the most well-known figures in American history. The following projects, created for use with a variety of ages, can be used to make learning about Ben Franklin, and all that he contributed to the American way of life, fun and interesting for students.

Ben Franklin and Me

In this project, using research and creating a Venn diagram, students will compare themselves with Benjamin Franklin.

Materials: computers and/or other sources of information about Ben Franklin, drawing paper and markers

  • Begin by having students gather some research about Ben Franklin including character traits, hobbies, achievements, etc.
  • Have students compose a 3 - 5 paragraph essay sharing what they find.
  • Next, provide all students with drawing paper and markers.
  • Instruct students to create a Venn diagram on their papers (demonstrate if needed).
    • One circle of the diagram will be labeled ''Benjamin Franklin.''
    • The other will be labeled with the student's name.
  • Explain that each student is to complete the Venn diagram by using the information they gathered in their research to compare themselves to Ben Franklin. Items to consider might include (but are certainly not limited to):
    • Time period lived in
    • Personality/character traits
    • Work ethic
    • Interests/hobbies
    • Physical appearance
    • Goals and achievements
  • Encourage the use of both words and pictures to make the diagram even more interesting.

Quotable Quotes

Ben Franklin is known for a variety of famous quotes. In this project, students will identify and explain some of his quotes.

Materials: computer access (to search for Ben Franklin quotes), writing paper and/or computer access for writing, poster board, markers

  • Have students conduct research to identify some of Ben Franklin's more well-known quotes.
    • If computer access is not available for a search, the teacher will need to gather a variety of quotes ahead of time.
  • Then, put students into groups of 2 - 3 and have the groups select a given number of quotes (2 - 3 for younger students, 4 - 5 for older).
  • Instruct each of the groups to write out and correctly cite each quote they have chosen.
  • Then, students will need to write an explanation for each quote:
    • What does the quote mean, literally?
    • Is there a hidden meaning in the quote?
    • Why do you think Ben Franklin said this?
  • Next, have each group select one of their quotes and create a poster displaying that quote. Also have them prepare a presentation to give to the class explaining that quote and applying it to today's world.
  • Once each group is done with their work, allow them to present to the class.

Paper Bag Artifact Report

This project is a fun and interactive way for students to learn about and report on Benjamin Franklin.

Materials: brown paper bags, artifacts that students will collect

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