BrainPOP FYI Special Agents Lesson Plan: Enrichment and Extension Throughout the School Year

Submitted by: Tatum E. Murphy

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this two-part lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-8, students use BrainPOP resources to brainstorm, create, and present an FYI Special Agent character. They will utilize critical thinking skills to research, synthesize, create, and present new FYI content for BrainPOP. Additionally, students will compare and contrast student-created content and videos.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm, create, and present an FYI Special Agent character.
  2. Utilize critical thinking skills to reasearch, synthesize, create, and present new FYI content for BrainPOP.
  3. Compare, contrast, and connect with student created content and videos.

Materials:

  • Computer and projector to show BrainPOP resources
  • Art supplies or access to a computer-based graphics program for character design
  • Access to research materials (print or online)
  • Bulletin board or wall space
  • Character Map graphic organizer
  • Blank paper
  • Writing utensils
  • Optional: Character Clip Art
  • Optional: access to the BrainPOP mobile app

Vocabulary:

character; research; FYI; special agent; envision; critical thinking

Preparation:

Familiarize yourself with the BrainPOP Educator blog post BrainPOP FYI Special Agents Activity for an overview of the process.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Part One: Creating, Presenting, and Displaying FYI Special Agents - Review the FYI section of several BrainPOP videos, discussing and exploring the various categories of FYI features. You may wish to show or revisit movies related to topics you have recently studied.
  2. Brainstorm in groups or as a class how students would conduct research to create the FYI section if they worked at BrainPOP (e.g., Internet search engines, textbooks, YouTube, library trip, newspapers, comics).
  3. Announce to your students that they are going to create their very own BrainPOP FYI Special Agent character on a task force to create new FYI content for all the videos viewed in your classroom.
  4. In preparation for creating the individual characters, discuss as a whole class what Tim or Moby are like on the inside, what they are like on the outside, and some basic character traits of each. You can use the Character Map graphic organizer either laminated, as a handout, or projected from your computer to record student observations.
  5. Using a fresh copy of the graphic organizer, students should brainstorm their BrainPOP FYI Special Agent and give him/her a name. On the back of the graphic organizer, ask students to sketch out how they envision their agent.
  6. Students can then create their character using art supplies, magazine cut outs, photo sharing website (e.g., Flickr), or computer-based/app-based option (e.g., Scratch, Microsoft Paint, Avatar).
  7. Students then present their FYI Special Agent to the class, explaining what the character is like on the inside and what he or she is like on the outside.
  8. Collect hard copies of all the FYI Special Agents and enlist the help of your students to bedazzle a wall or bulletin board with your class agents (leave space around each for future work to be displayed). Use the Character Clip Art from BrainPOP Educators if you want to include BrainPOP characters in your display. Your students now have a FYI Special Agent to be in charge of “schooling” Tim and Moby!
  9. Part Two: Integrating FYI Special Agents into your BrainPOP Lessons - Introduce the topic of the day and complete your regular BrainPOP classroom activities (e.g., view video, activity pages, quiz). Carefully review and discuss the FYI section with your students and explain that your FYI Special Agents are on the job to create new FYI content. You can assign the type of FYI content they will be creating (e.g., Arts and Entertainment, Language, Comic Strip, etc.), have students select their own category, or allow them to create a new category.
  10. Allow your students plenty of time to brainstorm, research, and create. They can record their findings in one of the graphic organizers provided by BrainPOP Educators or in your preferred format (e.g., list findings on an index card, write/word process one or more paragraphs, display art or comic on a template). Check their content.
  11. Each student should stand next to their FYI Special Agent and present their information, comic strip, or artistic display. Students should compare and contrast agent information and how it ties in with the video. With assistance from you, showcase their FYI Special Agent document around their displayed character.
  12. As you watch videos throughout the year, you can repeat the process outlined in part two. By the end of the year you will have an artistic FYI Special Agent display that gives kudos to your students’ ability to research, think critically, be creative, and extend their learning.

Extension Activity:

Students can anonymously vote on their favorite FYI Special Agent and submit the class character to BrainPOP. You can also encourage students to email their exemplary Special Agent work to BrainPOP. At the end of year or at the closing of the activity, you can present each student with a BrainPOP Expert Certificate for all of their “special” undercover work!