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With our newest product BrainPOP Science, middle schoolers are inspired to take the lead with their own learning through the exploration of real-world scientific phenomena.

Put students at the center with three-dimensional science

Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts are woven together to empower students to experience science as an interrelated world of inquiry, rather than static and separate sets of science concepts.

Benefits of three-dimensional science instruction


What is three-dimensional science?

Students see that their learning in class is interconnected and applicable to the world around them and are excited to jump into investigations.

Increases engagement with complex topics

Students learn to think scientifically and support claims with evidence by exploring phenomena, conducting investigations, and solving problems. 

Enhances scientific and critical thinking skills

Learning through an inquiry-driven foundation of scientific concepts and principles enables students to gain confidence in their test-taking abilities, without relying on rote memorization.

Boosts test-taking confidence

How the three dimensions work together

In BrainPOP Science, the three dimensions are woven together and throughout an investigation, like this one on seed dispersal.

Skills and activities needed to investigate the natural world and to design, build, and test solutions to problems. 

Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs)

Fundamental scientific concepts and principles needed to understand the natural world. 

Disciplinary Core
Ideas (DCIs)

Overarching themes that cut across all scientific disciplines and connect real-world concepts to one another.

Crosscutting Concepts

Guiding Question 

"Why does fruit have seeds?”

Whole dragonfruit
Dragon fruit cut in half

Students explore the 
structure and function of fruit, seeds, and flowers
to provide evidence-based explanations of how 
animal-mediated seed dispersal supports planet populations.

Dragon fruit cut in half
Dragon fruit cut in half

Investigation Objective


Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.

Developing and Using Models

To activate inquiry-driven learning, students are introduced to phenomena and answer prompts to connect with prior knowledge.

Clip of someone cutting a dragon fruit in half


Plants reproduce in a variety of ways, sometimes depending on animal behavior and specialized features for reproduction.

Growth and Development of Organisms

Multiple types of formative assessments check for understanding and include quizzes that mimic high-stakes testing.

Checkpoint for an investigation. Use the word bank to complete the sentence: After a flower is germinated, its petals fall off and a (blank) begins to form.


Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.

Structure and Function


Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

Students deepen their understanding of what they are learning by manipulating data comparing the mass and number of seeds in a variety of fruits.

Chart comparing seeds per fruit and mass

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How do I get students to be at the center of their own learning in three-dimensional science?


How do I get my students to use three-dimensional science vocabulary in their work?

How to get started with
three-dimensional science

Q & A


How do I incorporate phenomena into my three-dimensional science units?


Include real-world phenomena that are observable, interesting, relatable, and aligned to the appropriate standard. Give space for students to investigate, make connections, and debate like scientists while backing up their claims with evidence.

Kick off investigations with a guiding question to spark curiosity. By simply restructuring the order of your lesson, you set inquiry-driven learning in motion and empower students to ask questions while building a strong science foundation.


Model SEP and CCC vocabulary and have lists on hand in the classroom for reference. Prompt students with crosscutting sentence stems and set the expectation that students support their responses with evidence.