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Bob and the Historical Dilemma

 

A lone figure stood in the middle of a storm. It was very dark outside but you could see the person when the lightning flashed across the sky. The lightning bolts were streaking from cloud to cloud, and all the way down to the ground. Along with the lightning came big claps of thunder. The rain came pouring down. It certainly was not the best night to be out.

Who was that person in the shadows? Who could he be?  In the next flash of lightning, a  second figure became visible. What were they doing?  If you looked closely enough, you would see that they were flying a kite.

A Time Machine?!

Eight years ago, Bob the Biologist and his friend Tony the Teacher had read a book called The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  They were so inspired that they started coming up with ideas and built their own time machine. You might be surprised to hear that they did that, but Bob and Tony were known for their complicated science experiments.

ben franklinWhile they did not expect the time machine to actually work, they thought it would make the lab look really cool.  The time machine looked like a small platform with a large shiny metal arch attached to it.  It had two handle bars on each side to hold on to while time traveling.  Next to the handle there were several dials and knobs that controlled different parameters for the trip.  There was a large blue light in the middle of the stand with three white lights on each side.  These lights were off since the time machine was not in use.  They were supposed to glow when the time machine was working.  On top of the shiny metal arch, right in the middle, there was a large red light which would glow when the time machine was standing.  There were six white lights on each side of the red light which reflected against the shiny metal. Bob often looked at the machine and wondered if it would work.  He would dream about all the famous people he could meet if he could travel in time.  He would go meet his hero, Albert Einstein, meet the great inventor Benjamin Franklin, visit the Jurassic era to see the dinosaurs, hear President Lincoln give the famous Gettysburg Address, and maybe even travel to see the pyramids being built.

Getting Ready for an Adventure

Bob was tired after a long busy day in the lab studying worms and plants.  He wanted to take a break so he started playing around with the knobs and dials on the time machine.  He was on the platform when he started feeling a shaking movement.  Bob got nervous. “Is this an earthquake?” he wondered.  Then he saw the blue light glow brightly and the white lights next to it start to blink.  He was really surprised and held on to the handles.  The next thing Bob knew was everything around him was dark and it was raining hard.

Meeting Benjamin Franklin

He saw someone in the distance with round glasses and stringed hair. The person was wearing a long coat.  He was holding something that looked like a string.  Next to him was another person, who looked younger but he was also wearing a long coat.  Bob the Biologist remembered a photograph he had seen in a book. The older person looked like Benjamin Franklin! But who was next to him?  Then Bob suddenly realized, the time machine had worked! He was standing at the moment in time when Benjamin Franklin and his son William were doing their experiment with the kite and key to prove that lightning contained electricity.

Bob asked, “Sir, are you Benjamin Franklin, the person who wrote Poor Richard’s Almanack and signed The Declaration of Independence?”  Ben Franklin responded, “Yes, I am indeed the author of Poor Richard’s Almanack, but I am not familiar with any Declaration of Independence.  What is that?  What are you talking about?”  Bob the Biologist quickly realized that he should have kept his mouth closed.  The American Revolutionary War had not started yet, and the Declaration of Independence wouldn’t be signed for another 24 years. He was still very excited to see Benjamin Franklin and asked him lots of questions about his experiment.  But Bob was afraid Ben Franklin would see his time machine and try to come to the 21st century.  So Bob quietly snuck away while it was still dark and raining.

The Signing of the Declaration of Independence

Bob the Biologist was still tempted to see the Declaration of Independence being signed by Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.  Now that the time machine was working Bob set the dial to go back to Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.  Bob realized that this time when he arrived it won’t be dark or raining.  He needed to hide the time machine from Ben Franklin.  So he decided to arrive in between the park and trees behind Independence Hall.   He walked inside Independence Hall and saw all the people were signing the large piece of parchmentJohn Hancock had already signed.  Benjamin Franklin was sitting on a chair and Thomas Jefferson was standing there.  They were all talking and discussing things.

Benjamin Interrogates Bob

Bob could not believe he was actually watching this.  Then Ben Franklin’s eyes spotted Bob the Biologist.  At first Ben looked away, but then he realized that he had seen Bob before.  He stood up and called Bob “Sir, who are you?  I know I have met you before!”  Bob the Biologist said, “Sir, my name is Bob”.  Ben Franklin then asked Bob where he came from.  Bob was about to say California when he realized that California was not a part of the United States yet.  So he just said, “I am from one of the States.”  Ben Franklin replied, “You mean to say one of the colonies, right? Which one?”

Bob the Biologist did not want to lie, but he did not know what to do.  Bob wanted to change the topic so he asked Ben Franklin how William was doing.  Ben Franklin realized that he had met Bob when they were doing the kite experiment twenty four years ago.  Now Ben Franklin was even more surprised since Bob looked just the same, he had not grown older.  Bob did not know how to respond to that question either.  Thankfully, just then John Adams came over and said hello to Ben Franklin and the two of them started talking.  Bob the Biologist took this opportunity to sneak away one more time, and he ran back to the time machine.  In a flash he was back in his lab, thankful that he did not, by mistake, do something that could have messed up the future. However, he wished he could time travel more often!

To Be Continued

vocab-words

Biologist

Biology is a science that deals with living things such as plants and animals. A person

who studies and is an expert in biology is a biologist.

Historical

Related to history or based on history

Dilemma

A situation that requires making choices between two solutions which are sometimes both difficult.

Lightning

An electric discharge in atmosphere between clouds.

Thunder

A loud noise produced when the air heated by lightning expands.

Inspired

Influenced by something or someone.

Arch

Curved part of a structure or building that goes over an opening and is supported by walls or columns.

Parameters

Guidelines or limits for something.

Albert Einstein

Born on March 14, 1879. Nobel Prize winner scientist who developed several theories. Some practical uses of his theories include TV, Remote controls, laser and DVD players. Died on April 18, 1955.

Benjamin Franklin

Born January 17, 1706. American statesmen, diplomat, author, scientist and inventor.  One of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Died on April 17, 1790.

Jurassic

The time that extended from 200 million years to 150 million years.  That is when dinosaurs roamed on earth.

Nervous

Easily alarmed or worried.

Experiment

A process or sequence of activities done with the goal of proving an idea (Hypothesis) right or wrong.

Surprised

To find out something without any warning.

The Declaration of Independence

The Statement adopted by the US Continental Congress in 1776 which declared that the thirteen US colonies were no longer a part of the British Empire.

The American Revolutionary War

From 1775 to 1783 this was a military rebellion against Great Britain by the Thirteen American colonies to gain independence from British rule. 

Thomas Jefferson

Born April 13, 1743- One of the American Founding Fathers, main author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States of America. Died on July 4, 1826.

Independence Hall

Place in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was both debated and adopted.

John Hancock

Born January 23, 1737- Merchant, statesman, president of the Second Continental Congress.  He signed the Declaration of Independence with a large and stylish signature.  Died on October 8, 1793

Parchment

Material that is made out of stretched and dried animal skin and was used for writing in ancient times.

Opportunity

A chance or situation when something can be done.

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