Benjamin Franklin's Wisdom

6, 7, 8

In this lesson the learners express their point of view related to a quotation about self-discipline. They learn about Benjamin Franklin's personal accomplishments and his contributions to the common good, and examine his wisdom about self-discipline.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • agree or disagree with a quotation and apply it to themselves.
  • examine the life and wisdom of Benjamin Franklin related to self-discipline.
  • document three acts or examples of self-discipline.

Student copies of Hand One: Benjamin Franklin

Home Connection 

Ask the students to watch for when they or others (friends, classmates, teachers, family members) use self-discipline and to write down at least 3 examples to bring to the next class session.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write this quote in a display area and read it to the students:

    "If we don't discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us." - William Feather

    Ask the students if they agree or disagree with the quote and why. Ask them what "worlds"are disciplining them right now. Will those worlds always be disciplining them?

  2. Distribute Handout One: Benjamin Franklin. Ask the students to read it silently, or read it to the class as they follow along. Ask the students what evidence they find in this account of Benjamin Franklin's life that he exercised his self-discipline muscles.

  3. Arrange the class in groups of 3 or 4 of students. Give each group a piece of blank paper and assign each group one of the quotes found at the end of the Franklin handout. Ask the groups to discuss the meaning of the quote and to paraphrase it in their own words on the paper.

  4. Ask the groups to share their version of Franklin's wisdom with the class and post it with the stepping stones to self-discipline (from the previous lesson).

  5. Homework: Ask the students to think about or watch for when they or others (friends, classmates, teachers, family members) use self-discipline. Tell them to write down at least 3 examples to bring to the next class session.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Give political and historic reasons why civil society groups have formed in the nation and world.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Give historic and contemporary examples of a voluntary action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
    3. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Give an example of individual philanthropic action that influenced the nation's history.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.