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Lesson Plans
Will the Real Ben Franklin Please Stand Up?
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

As we look toward identifying our leaders in the new millenium, it will help students to reflect upon those who have represented that role in the past, and what their contributions were. In this lesson, students will research and debate Benjamin Franklin's most significant role and contribution to the history of the United States. Which was most important to American History - Benjamin Franklin's work as a printer, a writer, a statesman or an inventor?

After completing their research, students will have to prepare 10-minute oral and visual presentations to support their position. After presenting their work, they will also be expected to answer questions and ask them of the other groups.

Grade Level: 7th grade through 12th grade

Time Allotment: The entire unit should take the class anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks (based on four periods per week)

Subject Matter: American History, Colonial America, The Beginning of American Government, Scientific Inventions of Colonial America

United States History Standards for Grades 5-12 from the National Center for History in the Schools.

National Standards related to Historical Thinking:

Standard 1: Chronological Thinking
  • Distinguish between past, present and future time.
  • Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration.
  • Interpret data presented in time lines.
  • Establish temporal order in constructing historical narratives of their own.
Standard 2: Historical Comprehension
  • Reconstruct the literal meaning of a historical passage.
  • Identify the central question(s) the historical narrative addresses.
  • Read historical narratives imaginatively.
  • Draw upon visual, literary and musical sources.
Standard 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation
  • Identify the author or source of the historical document or narrative.
  • Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors and institutions.
  • Consider multiple perspectives.
  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causation, including the importance of the individual, the influence of ideas, and the role of chance.
  • Challenge arguments of historical inevitability.
  • Evaluate major debates among historians.
  • Hypothesize the influence of the past.
Standard 4: Historical Analysis and Interpretation
  • Obtain historical data.
  • Interrogate historical data.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  •  Research information about Benjamin Franklin using the Internet and traditional methods, such as the use of primary and/or secondary source materials.

  •  Give an oral and visual presentation of their argument and findings.

  •  Participate in a question-and-answer session during an in-class debate.

  •  Make a persuasive speech.

    This lesson was developed by Anna Chan Rekate.