Meet Founding Father Benjamin Franklin
Students will hear of Ben Franklin’s early life in Boston and Philadelphia, stories of printing and inventing, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and how Ben was able to help win the Revolutionary War… with his kite!
About Stephen Smith
A popular performer at Colonial Day at the Capitol, Smith describes himself as an “edutainer,” presenting a fun and fascinating look at Benjamin Franklin as a statesman, scientist, publisher and printer. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in technical theater from Oklahoma City University and later earned his master’s degree in religion with an emphasis in communication from United Theological Seminary. His acting career has taken him to locations throughout the United States and to Russia. He served many years as a State Arts Council Artist-in-Residence and portrays a variety of characters, from inventor Orville Wright to the wacky scientist Professor B. Looney.
Click below to see additional responses to students’ questions submitted during our February 12 program.
Suggested Classroom Activities
A. Invention Convention
Many of Franklin’s scientific inventions came out of his ability to see a need or problem and then come up with a solution. Sometimes he made improvements on other people’s inventions. Students become inventors by identifying a problem or need, and inventing a solution.
B. Calling All Volunteers
Benjamin Franklin’s practicality combined with his strong sense of duty made him a model of good citizenship. For example, he founded the first public library and helped organize volunteer fire-fighting clubs and a public hospital in his hometown of Philadelphia. In this activity, students identify a need in their community and then plan a project to address the need. This activity will encourage students to work in groups and to volunteer time in their community.
C. Brain Games
Get your synapses firing with these puzzle games to help keep your brain connections healthy, strong and growing!
D. Draw Benjamin Franklin
Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute alumna and art teacher Beth Howard shares this fun, step-by-step guide for your students to learn about and draw Ben Franklin.