Benjamin Franklin's Contributions to Philadelphia

3, 4, 5

To show how active citizens can make a difference in a community.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will be able to:

  • identify several of Benjamin Franklin's contributions to Philadelphia.
  • Social Studies text or reference materials highlighting Ben Franklin's contributions to Philadelphia 
  • copies of Ben Franklin's Philadelphia (handout)


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Read about Benjamin Franklin's contributions to Philadelphia

  2. In small groups, complete Ben Franklin's Philadelphia (handout).

    Discuss the qualities Franklin possessed making him a good citizen.

  3. Discuss Franklin's focus on volunteering in the community. In Philadelphia colonial times there was a great need for philanthropic behavior in the management of fires. (Even today, most men and women who fight fires are volunteers.) 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give examples of needs met by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    3. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
    4. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.10 Give an example of an action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Discuss the importance of personal virtue, good character, and ethical behavior in a democracy.
    3. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark E.1 Give an example of philanthropic action that influenced the history of the state or region.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Give an example of an individual who used social action to remedy an unjust condition.
      3. Benchmark E.6 Trace the historic roots of philanthropy in the nation's history.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      3. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.