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He Snatched Lightning from the Sky and the Scepter from Tyrants: Benjamin Franklin, the Kite Experiment, and Purpose

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • Other than a Founding Father, a printer, and a businessman, what did Benjamin Franklin consider himself to be?
  • Why did Franklin fly a kite in a thunderstorm?
  • What responsibility did Franklin feel toward his community? How did this shape his purpose in his political and scientific life?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze Benjamin Franklin’s drive to experiment and discover things about the world around him.
  • Students will understand how they can pursue their purpose in their own lives.
  • Students will apply this knowledge to discover, understand, and pursue their own purpose.

Student Handouts