When Ken Burns’ four-hour Benjamin Franklin documentary premiered this spring, NPT received a grant to help make the Founding Father’s story relatable to young social studies students. Partnering with local teaching artists, NPT focused on Franklin’s background as a printer – a subtle nod to Nashville’s history as a printing center. Fifth graders at Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Margret Allen Middle School learned printmaking techniques and created a zine featuring their art and words inspired by Franklin’s “13 Virtues.”
This video shows some of the students working with poet laureate Cameron Mitchell, illustrator/animator Michael Lapinski, and Tori Zemer from Hatch Show Print.
To see a digitized version of the kids’ zine, click here.
Finally, the two-part Benjamin Franklin series is available to stream with NPT Passport. Free extra features and series clips are also available here. If you’re looking for lessons for history-intrigued students, PBS Learning Media’s Ken Burns in the Classroom section includes information and activities.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, D.C. Corporate funding for BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was provided by Bank of America. Major funding was provided by David M. Rubenstein. Major funding was also provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by The Better Angels Society and its members Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine; University of Pennsylvania; Gilchrist and Amy Berg; Perry and Donna Golkin; Kissick Family Foundation; Deborah and Jon Dawson; Diane and Hal Brierley; McCloskey Family Charitable Trust; Cappy and Janie McGarr; Lavender Butterfly Fund; and Susan and Charles Shanor Charitable Trust.