Lesson Plan on Benjamin Franklin

Teacher: Christine Emolo  Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 5   Date: 3-24-03

I.                   Content: I want my students to understand that Benjamin Franklin was a successful inventor whose contributions helped to make our lives easier and more practical.

II.                Prerequisites: The students should know what the concept of an invention is.  They should be able to explain it and give some examples of helpful inventions.  It is also important that the students are aware that Benjamin Franklin was alive during the 1700s (1706-1790) in a time when people lived very differently than we do today. 

III.             Instructional Objective: Upon request, the students will describe, via an oral presentation, how Benjamin Franklinís inventions helped to make our lives better.  Included in the description must be reference to at least the following: the name of the invention, Benjamin Franklinís purpose for creating it, what we use the invention for, and why we do or do not still use this invention today. 

IV.       Instructional Procedures:

Lesson-initiating activities: The lesson begins with the teacher naming and showing pictures of bifocals, a lighting rod, a Franklin stove, and an odometer and asking what they all have in common.  Once the answer is established that all the items named were inventions of Benjamin Franklinís, the class will discuss exactly what an invention is to make sure the students are familiar with the term. 

Core activities:  The teacher will take the students to the computer lab to look up information on the Internet.  The students are to get into pairs and research the various inventions of Benjamin Franklin.  They are to pick two of his inventions and find out what the item is (including the name, use for the item, and, if possible, 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. 

Closure activities:  The children will present their findings in the pairs they were initially placed in.  They must incorporate one visual along with a report (at least half of a page but no more than one page in length) on each of the two inventions they researched together answering the questions requested by the teacher.  The teacher will then finish the lesson with a review by summing up the information discovered by the students and stressing the most important aspects mentioned. 

ESOL considerations: The teacher will provide pictures of the inventions mentioned at the start of the lesson so the students can associate the words with something concrete.  The children will also find their own visuals for the presentations.  They will be working in pairs to research the requested information.  Therefore, ESOL students will have the assistance of a peer to guide them through any trouble they may have. 

V.                 Materials and Equipment: The materials for this lesson include pictures (bifocals, a lightning rod, a Franklin stove, and an odometer), computers with Internet access, poster board, markers/crayons, paper, and writing utensils for the students. 

VI.              Assessment: The teacher will assess the students based on their findings on the Internet and their presentation of that information.  They must be able to clearly explain what their chosen inventions are, why they were created, and how they help(ed) society. 

VII.           Follow-up Activities:  The students have one week to look around outside of school for some of the inventions discussed during this lesson.  They are to figure out how it works, write a brief paragraph, and share their discoveries with the class, taking a picture to show or bringing in the item, if possible.  If they cannot find any of these inventions, they can look for pictures of them or ones similar to them in magazines or newspapers. 

VIII.        Self-Assessment:

        Were the students successful in their findings on the Internet?

        Did they present their material properly?

        Were they able to follow my directions with little or no confusion?

        Were the activities age-level appropriate?

        What did I do well?

        What could I do better?

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