Ben Franklin Half Dollar


Students will research Franklin's contributions to American culture and technological progress through his quotes and inventions. They will also analyze research in order to design a coin honoring Ben Franklin's contributions.

Coin Type(s)

  • Half Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • N/A


  • Students will research Benjamin Franklin's contributions to American culture and technological progress through his quotes and inventions.
  • Students will analyze research in order to design a coin honoring Franklin's contributions.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Technology
  • Art


  • K
  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th
  • 7th

Class Time

  • Sessions: One
  • Session Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • Ben Franklin half dollar
  • Coins
  • Quotes
  • Research
  • Turkey
  • Writing


  • Internet access
  • Art Materials: chart paper, markers, white paper, compasses, pencils, colored pencils, black fine line pens

Lesson Steps

  1. Ask your students to share what they know about Benjamin Franklin. Use a graphic organizer, such as a web, to organize the student's responses. Guide the students to understand that Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, author, statesman, philosopher, scientist, and printer.
  2. Have the students in small groups investigate Franklin's inventions using the Internet, books and other library resources.
  3. Have the students compile a list of at least five of Benjamin Franklin's inventions with a brief written description of each. Have the students rank the inventions in order of importance to American culture and progress. Record the rankings and discuss them as a class.
  4. Have the students search for examples of quotes from Benjamin Franklin. Invite the students to share the quotes with the class. As a class, discuss the meaning of the quotes.
  5. Discuss how these quotes reflect life during Benjamin Franklin's time and how those quotes might be interpreted today. For example, "Mind Your Business" was Franklin's proposal for a national motto and he meant that if each American paid attention to his or her own business, all America would prosper.
  6. Have each of the students select an invention or quote. Invite the students to develop a coin that best represents how Benjamin Franklin contributed to American culture and progress.
  7. Have the students share their coin. They can share it orally or have a checklist of requirements.
  8. As a class, discuss how Benjamin Franklin may have reacted to having his likeness on a coin.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have students write a focus statement paragraph, reason paragraph, or conclusion paragraph.
  • Have students dictate their writing to a scribe.


  • Have students research how the United States Mint chooses who and what are featured on coins.
  • Have students write newspaper articles from the 1770s announcing a new Benjamin Franklin coin.

Technology Extensions

Have students create a new coin on computer and then write a letter explaining the designs. Have students submit the designs to the United States Mint for consideration.


Use the coins and quotes to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

National Standards

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes
  • Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses
  • Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
  • Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner