Out of the Blue
from “What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?”
by JEAN FRITZ
Genre: Classic Biography
Reading Skill: Main Idea and
Author’s Purpose: Inform
Ben Franklin loved learning how to do things. As a
young man in Philadelphia, he joined the Leather
Apron Club, a group of people who liked to read
and try out new ideas. Later, when he was 24, he
married Debbie Read. Together, they ran a store.
Though Ben Franklin was busy with the store and
with a printshop, he never stopped thinking about
and trying out new ideas. A big idea that made him
famous was that electricity and lightning were the
• A biography is a story of a real person’s life,
written by another person.
• It is written in the third-person. The author
writes, “He was free! He found a job with a
• A biography can cover a person’s whole life or
part of it.
• An autobiography is also a story of a real
person’s life, but it is written by someone else.
• Make a Biography
Compehension Skill: Main Idea and
A topic is what a story is about. Themain idea is
the most important idea about the topic.
Supporting details are small pieces of information
that tell more about the main idea.
In “Out of the Blue,” the topic is Ben Franklin. The
main idea is the fact that Ben Franklin was a
creative person who had lots of useful and
interesting ideas. Some supporting details are the
names of the things that Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franlkin enjoyed making up magical
squares. In this magic square, the numbers in
each row, column or diagonal add up to the sum
of 45. Try constructing your own magic square!
24 9 12
3 15 27
18 21 6
1. What kind of activities did Franklin enjoy for
2. How did Franklin earn his living in his
3. What are some of the traits that can be used
to describe Franklin?
4. In what ways did Franklin show creativity?
5. How did Franklin help make life better for the
people of Philadelphia?
6. What kind of selection is “Out of the Blue”?
How can you tell?
7. Which details best show that Franklin was
creative when he published the almanac?
8. What was the most important idea that
Franklin wanted to investigate?
9. Which of Franklin’s experiments did you find
10. What did Franklin mean when he said,
“What I meant to kill was a turkey. Instead I
almost killed a goose”?
11.Explain Franklin’s big idea about electricity.
12.What are the different areas in which Mr.
Franklin used his curiosity and creativity to
accomplish important things?
WORDS TO KNOW
MORE WORDS TO KNOW
annual publication with information about many
• chart showing months, weeks, days, and dates
of a year
• form of energy
• trial or test
• hard to explain or understand
• explanation based on observation and
• Unpaid assistants who learn a trade through
• Paths over which electrical currents flow
• A place where printing is done.
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