Developed by Sandra Marrazzo
Students will research a number of websites on Benjamin Franklin’s
inventions. Students will work in pairs to research about two of Franklin’s
inventions. Students are to find out what the item is (including the name, use
for the item, and a picture of it), why he invented the item, and what
importance the item has to society. They must also find out whether or not
the inventions they chose are still being used today. Students will present
their finding to the class by answering the questions that was assigned to
them. Finally, students will provide at least one visual aid and hand in a
paper (at least half a page, no more than a page and a half) on each of the
two inventions by answering the questions.
United States History, middle school, 6th grade
Academic Standards for Social Studies
8.1 A Understands chronological thinking. Distinguish between past/present
8.1 B Explain and analyze historical sources (data, graphs, and tables)
8.1 D Utilize primary sources
8.2 A, 8.3A Identify individuals who contributed to PA and US history (Ben
8.2 C Identify and explain how change has influenced PA history
Students will be given class time to go to the library or computer lab to
conduct research, collaborate answers to the questions, and write their paper.
Students will also need to print out at least one visual aid and time to prepare
for their presentation.
Benjamin Franklin is one of the most remarkable and influential Americans
in any generation. He was a scientist, inventor, diplomat, philanthropist, and
entrepreneur. Franklin was well known for his inventions that were
extremely useful in his time period. He even invented objects that are still in
use today. Why was it necessary for Benjamin Franklin to create these
inventions? Why did Franklin feel that it was his responsibility to invent
these inventions? How could these inventions help the people in the society
back in Franklin’s time period? How do these inventions help people in his
time period? What would today be like without Franklin’s inventions? Could
we function today without his inventions? What would be the pros and cons
to some of Franklin’s inventions?
Students are put into pairs to research two inventions of Benjamin Franklin.
In these pairs, students are to answer questions about the inventions.
Once the research is over, students will present their findings to the class and
explain each invention. A visual will be presented to the class on each
Using this information, students will write a half a page to page (for each
invention) on what they learned about each invention. One student will write
about one invention and the other student will write about the other
With these websites, students can start to look up information on each of
Benjamin Franklin’s inventions. Additional research should be done if all
information is not found.
http://fi.edu/franklin/inventor/inventor.html This site talks about Franklin’s
inventions and why he invented them.
http://www.antiquespectacles.com/topics/franklin/franklin.htm This explains
about the invention of the bifocal.
http://fi.edu/franklin/scientst/electric.html Explains about electricity.
about the Franklin stove.
http://www.glassarmonica.com/ This explains about the Glass Armonica,
Franklin’s musical invention.
about the odometer.
http://www.pbs.org/benfranklin/l3_inquiring_medical.html Explains about
Franklin’s invention of the catheter.
http://library.thinkquest.org/22254/inventions.htm This is a website of all of
the ideas and discoveries that Benjamin Franklin has come up with and
Gathering & Sorting
Students must be organized while gathering information. Print out or write
down all needed information. The more information a student has, the easier
it is to present and to write about each invention. Students should keep all of
their information together in a folder or some kind.
Students should be looking up information on:
o what the invention is
including the name
use for the item
a picture of it
o why he invented the item
o what importance the item has to society
o whether or not the invention they chose is still being used today
o any other useful information students feel should be mentioned
With these answers, students should be able to have enough information for
their presentation and the written paper.
Students will have class time to go to the library. While at the library, there
are many books that can help them with the information they need on their
inventions. The pair of students should be working together to find all of the
information. Students will also have access to the Internet so that they can
look up information online.
In the pairs, students should come up with what they want to say and present
their information to the class.
The presentation should provide enough background so that the classmates
will gain an understanding of the topic.
Also in the pairs, students should come up with what they want to put in
their paper and make sure that all of the questions are answered.
The paper should provide enough background so that the students have the
understanding of the topic.
Each member will be evaluated.
Each student will be graded by a rubric. The rubric will be based on the
presentation and the paper.
Rubric for assignment
5 Points 3 Points 1 Point
Content Has an understanding Somewhat conveys No evidence of
of the content. All understanding of understanding the
five questions are content. At least three content. At least one
answered. of the questions are question is answered.
Grammar All work is free from Few grammar errors. Multiple grammar
any errors. (2-4). errors. (5 or More).
Presentation All questions were At least three At least one question
answered and questions were was answered and
presented well to the answered and presented poorly to
class. presented somewhat the class.
well to the class (the
class did not get a full
Overall Presentation and Presentation and Presentation was
paper was well paper was not done poorly done and not
thought out and completely and fully. thought out at all.
presented well. Students worked Students did not work
Students worked well somewhat well well together.
Grade __________/20 Points
Name of Student Content Grammar Presentation Overall Total Grade