Engage middle schoolers in immersive life science investigations

Students come into the world hardwired to be curious about living things and how they work. Ready-to-go investigations from BrainPOP Science give students the tools to dive in and learn about the interconnectedness, intricacies, and vastness of the world around them.

Take students on adventures in life science

Whether investigating tadpoles or asking questions about why they have to wash their hands, middle schoolers have been engaging with life science long before it became a subject in school. 

Every BrainPOP Science investigation has an embedded Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) process that harnesses this natural curiosity and supports students on their three-dimensional learning path.

Simulations, data manipulatives, and BrainPOP 3D Worlds™ make investigations exciting yet relatable. Our collection of comprehensive units and resources support students as they explore phenomena, ask questions, gather observations, and back up their claims with evidence—just like real scientists. 

Here’s a look at a few ways BrainPOP Science investigations unlock the mysteries of life science


Bring background knowledge to life with engaging movies

Guiding Question

Are viruses living things?

Concise and relatable, BrainPOP Science movies unpack concepts through real-world scenarios to help students visualize and understand even the most complex science. Movies are offered in Spanish and have printable transcripts to level the playing field for all students.

Movies are just one way content and vocabulary are woven across investigations. Resources are intentionally varied and also include related readings, primary sources, and simulations that require students to apply different kinds of knowledge and skills in a variety of ways. 

Students can understand and relate to phenomena even when they can’t be seen or touched. All BrainPOP Science movies, like this one embedded in the Viruses investigation, are scaffolded for accessibility and help students make sense of the unseen world around them. 

Investigation—Aquatic Invasive Species

Deepen learning with data manipulatives

Inquiry-based science classrooms give students the agency to actively engage with relevant data in context. By manipulating various graph formats and models, their hypotheses and conceptual understandings are tested and strengthened. With question prompts built right into the experience, students are guided to interpret data, identify patterns, and collect observations. Learners strengthen their analytical skills and build confidence as they work toward answering the investigation’s guiding question.

Our investigation on Aquatic Invasive Species allows students to interact with data on populations of invasive and native mussel species in the Hudson River in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As students respond to prompts, they are guided to infer what the data reveals about the effects of invasive species on ecosystems.

Investigation—Matter and Energy in Food Webs

Boost confidence for state testing with built-in assessments

BrainPOP Science investigations feature embedded checkpoints, which are formative assessments to check for understanding without interrupting the flow of inquiry-driven learning. Questions are delivered in different formats that mimic high-stakes science exams, so students are comfortable and prepared come test time. Built-in assessments also save time for teachers and give real-time insights on student understanding throughout investigations.

Our Matter and Energy in Food Webs investigation features quick and targeted formative assessments, like this drag-and-drop checkpoint comparing and contrasting producers and consumers. Each quiz comes with graded or review options, as well as Microsoft Immersive Reader for accessibility.  

Life 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.

Human Body Systems

Classifying Living Things

Cell Structure and Function

Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

Guiding Question

Why do horses have hooves instead of multiple toes on each foot?

  • Living vs. Nonliving Things
  • Taxonomy
  • Coronavirus vs. Flu Viruses
  • Introduction to Cells
  • Cell Structure and Function
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cell Wall
  • Neurons and the Brain
  • Multicellular Organisms
  • Digestive and Immune Systems
  • Process of Photosynthesis
  • Process of Cellular Respiration

Guiding Question

Why do people jump and scream when they’re startled?

Food Webs and Ecosystem Interactions

Biodiversity and Stability in Ecosystems

Reproduction and Growth


  • Predation and Competition
  • Parasitism
  • Matter and Energy in Food Webs
  • Decomposers
  • Biodiversity
  • Impact of Biodiversity on Resources
  • Ecosystem Disruptions
  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Sexual and Asexual Reproduction
  • Animal Courtship
  • Seed Dispersal
  • Gene Traits
  • Alleles and Punnett Squares
  • Mutations

Guiding Question

Why do mushrooms grow on dead trees?

Natural Selection and Adaptations

Evidence of Evolution

  • Natural and Artificial Selection
  • Adaptations by Natural Selection
  • Evolution and the Fossil Record
  • Evidence of Common Ancestry

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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