Ready-to-go Earth and space science investigations for middle school

Real-world and out-of-this-world phenomena in BrainPOP Science engage critical-thinking skills as students discover the processes that shape our lives—from the earth below our feet to deep space.

Take students on adventures in Earth and space science

Seasons, cycles, phases, and orbits—in the Earth and space science discipline, students learn that the universe is in constant motion and how we are going along for the ride! A guiding question introduced at the start of each BrainPOP Science investigation sparks curiosity and sends students on a three-dimensional learning path of discovery.

Our collection of comprehensive units and resources come alive through simulations, data manipulatives, and BrainPOP 3D Worlds™. An embedded Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) process guides and supports students as they explore phenomena, ask questions, gather evidence, and back up their claims—just like real scientists. 

A look into Earth and space investigations in BrainPOP Science

Investigation—Human Impacts on the Environment

Guiding Question

Immerse students in 3D Worlds

How do we solve the problem of plastics in the ocean?

Each BrainPOP Science 3D World is an immersive experience filled with observable scientific clues embedded in a virtual environment. Through a compelling narrative with prompts, students engage their critical thinking skills while weighing solutions to real-life problems. Embedded teacher guides offer support for implementing 3D Worlds as part of an investigation.

In the Great Plastic Cleanup Project 3D World experience, students are transported to the middle of the ocean to examine the effects of plastics on organisms and explore solutions to this problem. Students test out two prototypes for removing plastics from the ocean, weighing challenges and constraints for each.

Investigation—Rock Strata and Earth’s History

Activate connections and collaboration

Making connections between relatable moments in students’ lives and scientific concepts activates prior knowledge and sends students on an inquiry-driven path of discovery. Guiding questions and prompts lend themselves to collaboration and discussion while reinforcing cross-cutting concepts. Downloadable teacher guides include an investigation roadmap, ideas for differentiation, as well as turn-and-talk opportunities.

To kick off the investigation and begin the process of answering the guiding question, students examine an image that may seem very familiar to them—an overflowing laundry basket with layers of dirty clothes. By answering prompts, students are guided to connect their thinking with how geologists study rock layers.

Investigation—Milky Way and Other Galaxies

Deepen learning with Related Reading

In investigations students have the opportunity to read independently or in groups to deepen and extend their understanding of topics. Related Readings also help students build vocabulary and confidence with reading informational texts, while collecting data to answer the guiding question. Articles are integrated with Microsoft Immersive Reader to support all learners and are available in 45 language translations.

Students learn how over 13 billion years ago, the universe started to form from just three ingredients—gases, dust, and gravity. Reading how the Milky Way, and many other galaxies formed enables students to collect observations from text to answer the guiding question.

Earth and space science investigations for your middle school classroom

Explore a wide range of ready-to-use investigations designed to complement any middle school science curriculum and support all your instructional objectives.

The Earth-Sun-Moon System

The Universe and Its Galaxies

Our Solar System

Water and the Hydrosphere

  • Earth's Water Cycle
  • Milky Way and Other Galaxies
  • Orbital Motion
  • Earth's Seasons
  • Phases of the Moon
  • Eclipses of the Sun and the Moon

Guiding Question

Guiding Question

What caused ice to break away from the glacier?

Where does sand on the beach come from?

Rocks and Minerals

Plate Tectonics

Fossils and the Geologic Time Scale

Earth's Resources

  • Formation of Minerals
  • Classifying Minerals
  • Earth's Rock Cycle
  • Sedimentary Rocks
  • Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition
  • Plate Boundaries
  • Evidence of Plate Tectonics
  • Volcano Formation
  • Geologic Hazards
  • Geologic Time Scale
  • Rock Strata and Earth's History
  • Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources
  • Alternative Energy

Guiding Question

Why are diamonds used in industrial drill bits?

Weather Patterns

Human Impacts on Natural Resources

Climate and Climate Change

  • Human Use of Natural Resources
  • Human Impacts on the Environment
  • Weather Patterns
  • Ocean's Impact on Weather
  • Extreme Weather
  • Predicting Hurricanes
  • Weather vs. Climate
  • Global Climate Change
  • Human Impacts on Climate Change

Aligned to all state standards

Our three-dimensional approach to science is designed to complement the latest standards for all 50 states, including NGSS, the NRC Framework, TEKS, and NGSSS. Throughout BrainPOP Science investigations, teachers can leverage built-in formative assessments with question types that prepare students for the rigors of state testing.

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Ignite the power of inquiry for middle school students and help deliver powerful, standards-aligned instruction.

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