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America’s Founding Father: Benjamin Franklin Unit Study

Unit studies are a creative way to incorporate several different subjects into a cohesive unit bound by a common theme. Part of the fun is finding out just how many different subjects can be explored through this one topic. If you want to try your hand at creating a unit study for your homeschool, try exploring science, literature, politics, music, and more through the life of  Benjamin Franklin.

January 17 is celebrated worldwide as Benjamin Franklin day. He was born on this day in 1706, and is known as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States due to his political achievements. While he may be most well known for his discoveries about electricity, for co-authoring the Declaration of Independence, and for inventing the lightning rod, bifocal glasses, and the Franklin stove, he was also an author and statesman. He is the only Founding Father whose signature is on all four of the major founding documents of the United States: The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France, and the United States Constitution. Franklin’s legacy of service to his country, furthering the growth of communities, and inventiveness make him a fascinating person to study!

Check out these tips for creating a simple unit study from Mama’s Learning Corner. This video details how to use the free planner using a Thanksgiving unit study as an example.

You and your students won’t believe your eyes when you see Franklin’s musical invention, the glass armonica, put to use in this video. Learn more about this rare instrument here.

This issue of Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette can provide some fascinating insight into an average day in early American society and makes a great addition to a study of Benjamin Franklin as an author.

Find dozens of topics to explore with this A-Z list of Benjamin Franklin’s attributes and interests. You could easily allow students to select a few of the items they are most interested in investigating to incorporate some student-directed learning into your study. Many of the words on this list would also make excellent vocabulary words for older students, as they will likely run across several of the terms in their research and reading.

An effective way to illustrate Benjamin Franklin’s worldwide influence is with this interactive map, which provides a solid overview of a multitude of his contributions to the fields of politics and international relations, science and inventions, literature, music, and more. 

A fun book to add to this unit study for your grade-school students is the historical fiction Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos, by Robert Lawson. This fantastical tale tells the story of Benjamin Franklin and his numerous inventions with humor and wit, through the eyes of a mouse named Amos.

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