Swim Paddles

Swim Paddles

Even at a young age, Ben was a good observer and inventor. When he was swimming, he saw that some kids could swim faster than others. Ben decided to experiment with ways to make himself go faster both on the surface and under the water. He believed that the size of a swimmer's hands and feet might be the difference, so when he was around 10 years old, he invented swim paddles. Now you have a chance to make your...
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A Monumental History

A Monumental History

From Reconstruction

Monuments designed to honor places, events, or people stand in public places across the United States. Some, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Statue of Liberty, are classic icons. Others, such as the 2,000-pound African Killer Bee located in Hidalgo, Texas, are less than traditional. Monuments are often controversial. What is honorable to one person may be offensive to another. Also, the meanings of monuments change as the culture around them evolves. What do...

Does Racial Inequality Exist in Your School?

Does Racial Inequality Exist in Your School?

From Changing Laws

It can sometimes be hard to recognize racial inequality when it doesn’t directly affect you. Take a look at the statistics relating to your own school and see if anything surprised you.



From Singing for Equality

Music of the Civil Rights Era arose from several different styles of music, most notably gospel, folk, blues, and jazz. What did these different styles offer? How did they combine to form music that was completely new?

Planning a Boycott

Planning a Boycott

From Boycotts, Strikes, and Marches

Segregated buses and trains were only one of the ways whites discriminated against African Americans in the Jim Crow South. A boycott is the act of refusing to buy, use, or participate in something as a form of protest. Why didn’t the African American community use boycotts more often in their fight against segregation?



Children's Literature Review
“Ben Franklin is one of the most famous Americans. His contributions to the worlds of government, science, publishing, and farming are still with us today. Many of his inventions are simple enough for children to try at home. Van Vleet has not only created a fun, step-by-step guide to some of his inventions, she accompanies each invention with background information about Franklin and relevant history. This book goes far beyond the usual kites and invisible ink common to most books about Franklin. Instructions for making your own watermark paper, thermometers, solar ovens, and even baked apples are included. In addition to having 'Words to Know' sections in each chapter, there is also a thorough glossary and timeline. This book is an excellent source for science experiments, arts and crafts, historical exercises, and just plain fun!”

John C. Van Horne, Director of The Library Company of Philadelphia, founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin
“This imaginative book encourages kids to explore their world and learn some history while building projects relating to Ben's many accomplishments. The projects are both instructive and fun, two things Ben would heartily approve. As Ben himself might have said, Huzzah!”

Blaine McCormick, author, Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneur
“You're never too young to learn about Ben Franklin, and Carmella Van Vleet gives you a great introduction. My own children grabbed the book away from me as soon as a copy arrived. I only wish my library would have had this book when I was a child.”

Detailed Book Description

Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions You Can Build Yourself introduces readers ages 9 and up to the life and times of one of America's greatest thinkers with over 25 hands-on building projects and activities. From his groundbreaking scientific discoveries and inventions to his career as a writer, printer, and politician, Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions gives young readers a comprehensive look at the man who gave us the lightning rod, the armonica, bifocals, the post office, the first public library, Poor Richard's Almanac, and so much more. Amazing Ben Franklin Inventions provides detailed step-by-step instructions, diagrams, and templates for creating each project. Historical facts and anecdotes, biographies, and fascinating trivia support the fun projects and teach readers about the courage, creativity, and determination of Ben Franklin and a young America coming into its own.

Available In:
Hardcover, $21.95
Paperback, $15.95
Includes: Table of Contents | Timeline | Glossary | Resources | Index
Specs: 8 x 10 size | black and white interior | 128 pages
Subject: Social Studies
Content Focus: U.S. History


Swim Paddles
Pennsylvania Fireplace
Bifocals, the Long Arm and the Library Company of Philadelphia
Printing Press
Paper Money
Poor Richard’s Almanac
The Gulf Stream Map
Electricity and the Lightning Rod
The Union Fire Company and the Pennsylvania Hospital
University of Pennsylvania, Street Improvements
Postal Service
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the United States and the Treaty of Alliance