C is for… Content!
Disciplinary Content Vocabulary:
S is for… Standards!
FOURTH GRADE STANDARD SS.4.E.1.1 Standard 1: Beginning Economics
Identify entrepreneurs from various social and ethnic backgrounds who have influenced
Florida and local economy.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and
publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and
multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word
parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and
domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse
media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally
“What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?”
By Jean Fritz
Search: What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?
Ben Franklin came from a family of entrepreneurs and small businessmen. What is
an entrepreneur? What types of businesses did his family run?
An entrepreneur takes the risk to develop a new product or start a business. father - candle
and soap business, Samuel – blacksmith, James and uncle - printers.
What were entrepreneurs/business people who worked with their hands and had a
trade called during this time in history? Why?
Leather Aprons - because they wore leather aprons when they worked.
How did Ben’s father cultivate the skills – academic and practical - that would help
Ben become an entrepreneur?
He sent Ben to ordinary writing and arithmetic school for two years. He later had him
become an apprentice in the printing business with his Uncle James.
At only age 24 Ben Franklin was well on his way as an entrepreneur owning and
running several businesses. List the many businesses he owned.
A print shop, his own newspaper, a variety store that sold many types of practical items.
Was it a sure thing that Ben’s businesses would succeed?
No! Many businesses fail. Ben’s succeeded because he had good ideas and worked
hard. Entrepreneurs always take some risk when they start a new business.
Ben helped his city of Philadelphia in other “entrepreneurial” ways that were not directly
related to his own businesses. What were they?
Formed the first circulating public library
Organized the fire department
Suggested ways to light streets, deepen the rivers, dispose of garbage, and keep people from
slipping on ice during winter
As Postmaster General, he organized a speedy mail delivery system.
He helped organize a fire insurance company and a hospital.
What are some of Ben Franklin’s other inventions?
The Franklin stove, which provided more heat that an ordinary fireplace, was less
smoky, and was less costly to operate.
A stepladder stool with a folding seat.
An automatic windmill to turn meat as it was roasted.
There are many inventions that are not successful in a business sense – they don’t
make a profit for the inventor. Why is this?
There are many reasons: inventors are sometimes not good business people and don’t know
how to run a business; sometimes the new product isn’t marketed well – it’s a great idea, but
people just don’t learn about it.
Explain how one of Ben Franklin’s inventions greatly benefited the community by
reducing the number of building fires due to lightning strikes.
He invented the lightning rod, which attracts lightning and leads it harmlessly through a
wire into the ground.
Describe a good that Ben Franklin printed for 25 years that helped make his printing
business so successful.
“Poor Richard’s Almanack was a collection of calendars, weather forecasts, the schedule of
tides, the time the sun rose and set, advice on when to plant, how-to’s about many subjects,
and some humorous comments.
What do you think are some characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?
Persistence (this is maybe the most important characteristic), creativity, hard work, being
able to work with people to meet a goal, no fear of failure, “see a need” and meet it, etc.
Madam C.J. Walker, Black
1. Why do you think Madame C.J. Walker was such a
2. What strategies did Madame C.J. Walker use to help
make her products successful and popular?
3. How was she able to include her consumers to help her
business gain popularity?
4. Madame C.J. Walker’s business took off in the 1920s. How
was the economy different then, compared to now?
5. Do you think it’s possible for someone to start their own
business and be successful, like Madame C.J. Walker?
Why or why not?
Have students watch the video above on their own as many times as they like, and have them
take notes as they watch it on their own. When they feel ready, let them take the quiz that
goes along with it.
Have students create “Trading Cards” for Benjamin Franklin or Madame C.J. Walker.
Students will use what they’ve learned about them and how they are entrepreneurs to fill out
the trading cards.
Have students look through this presentation for ideas before completing the task below!
Have students create a flyer to be distributed within the classroom, advertising their own
business. Have students convince their classmates to work for them!