en’s Travelling Suitcase
Ben’s Travelling Suitcase is a valise full of Franklin at Craven Street-related objects with corresponding activities which the Education Manager shares with children and young people in local schools. There are three main offerings:
- Become an Inventor, designed for ages 7 to 11 (Key Stage 2)
- Look At Me! designed for ages 7 to 11 (Key Stage 2)
- Our Constitution, designed for ages 15 to 18 (Key Stages 4 and 5/Sixth Form)
Become an Inventor
Encompassing Science, Verbal Communication, Art, Design and Technology, Creativity
Benjamin Franklin was one of the most inventive individuals of his age. His discoveries, including electricity, changed his world and helped shape ours. Sometimes he improved on the ideas of others (like bifocals), sometimes he created something entirely new (like lightning rods).
Become an Inventor explores the process of invention - some discoveries come about accidentally; others are the result of many years of research and experimentation. And it highlights how inventions may have both positive and challenging consequences. With the help of facsimiles, the workshop delves into some of Franklin’s key inventions and allows students to become inventors for the day: they consider a problem and propose an innovation to make life easier, as Franklin did before them. Pupils draw their creations and then share their designs in a short presentation to classmates following.
Look At Me!
Encompassing Art & Design, History
Benjamin Franklin was the subject of a great many portraits during his life, an art form which enjoyed great popularity during the 18th century. During this time, portraits would take many forms, including framed oil paintings, watercolour miniatures, bracelets, and brooches. In these days before photographs, portraits were a wonderful reminder of one’s family and friends.
Look At Me! introduces children to the concept of portraiture as practised in Georgian times. Using famous 18th century portraits of Franklin, as well as other prominent figures such as King George III, and architect Sir Christopher Wren, children discover how to look for clues in a person’s portrait as to their profession or role in society. They then apply their learning to create their own self-portrait collage: their silhouette surrounded by images that reflect their interests, and the people and things important to them.
Encompassing Politics, History, Citizenship
Benjamin Franklin was a genuine statesman – as the chief representative of the American colonists in London, and later as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Franklin regularly had to advance his opinions. While in London, this was often in the face of real criticism from Parliament, the King’s Privy Council, and others. Franklin is considered a Founding Father for the role he played in creating the United States. He is the only one that helped draft, negotiate, and sign the four key documents that created an independent America: The Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris establishing peace with Britain (1783) and the Constitution (1787).
Our Constitution helps develop pupils’ understanding of the arguments for and against a codified British Constitution, taking the US Constitution which Franklin helped craft, as both inspiration and challenge (considering controversial elements such as the Second Amendment instituting the right to bear arms and the Thirteenth which abolished slavery). To encourage political interest and democratic participation, pupils are challenged to choose five key principles they would like to see enshrined in a hypothetical, codified British Constitution.
This in-school session is designed to complement our main visitor offering the Historical Experience, and as such we recommend that KS3+ teachers book a visit to Benjamin Franklin House as a precursor to Our Constitution. Our Constitution can, however, be delivered as a standalone activity.
To book, or for more information, please contact our Education Manager on 0207 839 2013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.