Interactive activities and lessons about founding father Benjamin Franklin and his successes as a scientific genius, writer, and statesman.
Subject Area: Social Studies, Math
Reading Level: 3.0
Ben Franklin was many things: a writer, a scientist, a statesman, and an inventor. One of his many inventions is the magic square, in which columns and rows of numbers, when added together, result in the same sum. Readers will find Franklin's story interesting and his magic squares fascinating!
Students will see that math is a part of their everyday lives
Standard: Students will gain an understanding of using basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation.
How Many Books?
Help children see the power of computation with this personal activity.
- Pass out to each student a blank piece of unlined paper and a sharpened pencil with an eraser.
- Ask each student to follow along, using the paper for all mathematical exercises.
- Have each student write down the age at which he or she started reading.
- Ask each student to figure out how many months he or she has been reading (using multiplication, if possible, or addition).
- Have students estimate how many books they read per month.
- Ask each to figure out how many books they have read since they began reading. They may use multiplication or addition, whichever you feel is most appropriate.
Ben's Time Line
Help your students to see that math is everywhere…and fun!
- Do this activity as a class or ask each student to work independently.
- Start with the year of Ben's birth — 1706.
- The author provides the ages at which Ben came up with many of his inventions. For instance, "when Ben was 36 he invented a special stove."
- As you read through the book, call out these numbers to your students. Ask them to record them on the class, or their individual time line(s). Using their math skills, they should compute during what year Ben was 36 and record this year on the time line.
- Work your way through the book until you've got a complete time line of Ben Franklin's life. When clues are not concrete ("in the middle of his life" for instance) ask students to estimate what year the invention might have occurred.
- If students are working independently, have them compare timelines when they're done. Post time lines on a classroom bulletin board.
My Own Magic Square
Follow the directions found at the back of the book to help each student create his or her own Magic Square.
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