Now & Ben

by Gene Barretta

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Subjects – Benjamin Franklin, Inventions, Political Cartoon, harmonica, Bifocals, Electricity, lightning rod, Long arm(Reachers), flippers, Scurvy, Gulf Stream, fireplace ventilation, writing chair, library chair, rocking chair (with fan, churn butter), daylight saving time, odometer, first library, Home delivery Postal service, fire department, and sanitation department
Call # – B (Biography), 609 (Inventions)

Books by Gene Barretta
609.2 BAR Neo Leo: The Ageless of Leonardo da Vinci

Author Website – Gene Barretta
Check out resources for teachers

Benjamin Franklin.Inquiring Mind.It’s the Little Things |PBS

ChildrensLit-SocialStudies-Now and Ben Reinforcing Activity
Additional websites included

HistoryFix: Now & Then…Contrasting the Past and Present

Ideafinder – Bifocals

Ideafinder – Lightning Rod

Ideafinder – Franklin Stove

Inventors” Benjamin Franklin –

Liberty’s Kids.Archive.Benjamin Franklin

Literacy Spark – Now & Ben

Now & Ben – Study Guide

Now and Ben, Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklins, a Kids Wings Classroom Unit for Grades 1-3

See Benjamin Franklin, Inventions, Journey – 2nd grade


Ice-Cream Cones For Sale!

by Elaine Greenstein
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Make an Ice Cream Cone

Lesson Plan
Read Ice Cream Cones for Sale, then make timeline accordion style book using worksheet from Mailbox Magazine.

Ice Cream at the fair

Ice Cream Cone History – Invention of the Ice Cream Cone

Ice Cream Cone, History of Ice Cream Cone – Newletter Article
Who invented the ice cream cone? Solve the mystery

St. Louis World’s Fair, 1904 | eThemes

Finding Information – Databases

This past week we learned about how to find sources of  information. We read about Kites from the book Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions by Don Wulffson.


We then talked about how to find additional  information about kites using databases.  We talked about what a database is and why they are a good source of information (organized, fact checked, paid  online resources, require a username and password).   Students then looked up another invention using INFOhio – K-5 – World Book for Kids and filled out a worksheet  – Describe /purpose  and History (who/when).

Additional Activities

Featured Book – Kites

Printable – Kite Coloring Page

Computer – Kite Making Video

Neo Leo – Inventors

This month we are going to talk about how to find sources of  information.  This week we will talk about finding books with information about people.  We read Neo Leo by Gene Barretta , which is about Inventor – Leonardo da Vinci


Gene Baretta also wrote Now & Ben, about Benjamin Franklin, which is in Journey’s Reading Textbook (2nd grade). We then talked about finding books about any inventor.

  1. Single Biography ( book is about one person) – Biography Section, organized by the person’s last name
  2. Collective Biography (book with multiple people, person is listed in the Table of Contents of the book) –  Biography section by the author’s last name (find using the catalog – type person’s name in search box – all fields)
  3. Book about Inventions (Broad Topic)  – Subject, then look in the Index of the book.

Additional Activities

Featured Books/Bookmark –  Inventors

Printable  – Inventor Biography Worksheet

Online Game – Checkers with Ben