What Are You Figuring Now?
post written by Emma Filbrun
Title: What Are You Figuring Now?
Author: Jeri Ferris
Series: Creative Minds Biographies
Major Themes: Benjamin Banneker, African Americans, Mathematics, Astronomy, Easy Readers, Biographies, Colonial Era (US History), American Revolution, US History 1783-1860
Synopsis: The man who surveyed the capitol city of the United States was not only a surveyor, but also had other incredible talents.
One thing I’m enjoying about the history study guide we’re using right now is that we get to learn about some people that I knew very little about before. The man we’re studying right now is Benjamin Banneker. I had heard of this man, but never read a book about him. We were delighted to find What Are You Figuring Now? in our online library. These biographies for children are very interesting, and we can learn a lot from them.
Benjamin grew up on a farm in the backwoods of Maryland. His grandmother had been sent to the colonies from England as a punishment; she was an indentured servant. When she became free, she was eventually able to buy land, and a slave to help her work the ground—and she married him. She still lived with Benjamin and his family, and she taught the boy to read and count. He counted everything! When a school started in the neighborhood, he was thrilled to get to read books.
Benjamin became famous among the people in the surrounding area when he built himself a wooden clock. We were astounded at the way he came up with the pattern for it! He kept farming until a newcomer to his area taught him surveying and gave him tools that enabled him to learn astronomy. Then, he wrote his own almanac, with all the information about sunsets, sunrises, eclipses and tides. The sheer amount of figuring he had to do is incredible. He is probably best known, however, for surveying Washington, D. C. before it was built.
Definitely read What Are You Figuring Now? if you are studying early American history—or even if you aren’t! Benjamin Banneker is an amazing person. We were rather awe-struck at his abilities.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Benjamin Banneker, African Americans, Mathematics, Astronomy, Easy Readers, Biographies, Colonial Era (US History), American Revolution, US History 1783-1860