Thursday, February 23, 2006

Renaissance Man

I've been caught up in Olympic fever and haven't posted for awhile. There is quite a bit to catch up on. But I'll start with our trip yesterday to see an exhibit about this man:

I have been anticipating this exhibit for quite awhile but was put off by the price. Organizing a group made it much more reasonable. If you can't go with a group, consider getting a NCC membership if you have a family of 4 or more; you'll see the Franklin exhibit and then you can come back another time to do the permanent exhibit (both in one day was a little much). If you organize your own group schedule the tour time in the afternoon. (It was as if they said yes to every school group who wanted to come at 10 am and didn't seem to put a limit on how many people should be in the exhibit at any one time.)

Overall I was very pleased with the exhibit. My 10 and 8 year olds learned quite a bit and didn't have too much problem staying focused. Not so with the 5 year old, but she was good enough to allow the rest of us almost 1 and a half hours in the exhibit. In that time there were still whole sections that we missed and if you aren't careful, children can get caught up with pushing buttons that make lights go on without any idea about their meaning. There is a lot of reading and the objects need explaining to make sense of their significance. Knowing a bit about Franklin yourself or offering children age appropriate biographies before hand will greatly aid their interest in and attention to the exhibit.

I also allowed us the freedom to skip over parts of his life that we had studied in detail before. I am sure there was much in those parts that we hadn't touched, but Franklin lived a massive life during a very important time in history, the children were saturated and ready for lunch!

Thanks to everyone who came out for the trip! It was a nice sized group of us and the children did a great job all day!

Some related sites/resources:

A Dangerous Engine - My 10 year old is reading and enjoying this new biography for ages 9-12 about Franklin.
What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin - One of my favorite books for younger children, a nice read aloud book.

PBS's Franklin site.

A Ben Franklin Web Portal- search for anything related to Ben, including curated educational resources.

Franklin's 300th Birthday- listings of events all over the world to celebrate the birthday of Benjamin Franklin.


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