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5th Grade: Ben Franklin Interviews

posted Feb 1, 2012, 10:33 AM by   [ updated Sep 22, 2015, 1:09 AM ]
This project overlaps with 5th Grade writer's workshop for two weeks.  In week 1, we will research Ben Franklin and come up with interesting questions to ask him.  In week 2, we will write the answers to these questions as Ben Franklin would have answered them.

Week 1

We're going to start out by researching Ben Franklin.  Follow these instructions to save your information:
  1. Create a Google Doc to save your research.  Share it with Mr. Dreyfus and Ms. Litzenberger.
  2. Name it with your number and "Ben Franklin Research"
  3. When you find a site with information you want to use, copy and paste the address into the Doc
  4. Below the address, summarize any interesting facts from that site in a bullet list.  Use your own words.  DO NOT COPY AND PASTE.

Basic Guidelines for Researching

  • Know your source: historical societies, universities, public organizations, or media publishers (TV, magazines, books) are reliable sources.  Wiki sites like and Yahoo Answers are the Internet's equivalent of asking some guy on the street, and are not as reliable.
  • Use readable sources:  if the writing is hard to understand or the article too long, try another page.  Searching "<your topic> for kids" is a good way to get easier to read information.
  • It's called REsearch.  That means search, then search again!  Use what you've learned to think about the next set of questions you want to ask.

Writing Questions

Read over this list of question types:

What do you notice is different between the questions at the top of the page and the questions at the bottom?  Which do you think would make better interview questions?  Consider this as you write your questions. You need to have 10 open-ended questions written out. Do not write questions like "Where were you born?" A better question would be, "how you think your upbringing influenced your life?"

This video will help you think more about good interview questions:

Week 2

Using the research strategies discussed in class, answer each of the open-ended interview questions you wrote last week. Remember, you will be answering the questions as Ben Franklin!

Write an introduction to your interview. Imagine you are a well-known TV personality who regularly interview important people!


To film your interview, we will first film you asking all of the questions. Then we will film you (dressed as Ben Franklin) giving all the answers.


Split up the clips of your two videos so that it goes back and forth between you as you and you as Ben Franklin! Add news style titles and music to your video.


To publish, share your video to a file and upload it to Google Drive. Be sure to share it with Mr. Dreyfus and Ms. Litzenberger!