Put students at the center with three-dimensional science

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.

What is 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

Increases engagement with complex topics

Enhances scientific and critical thinking skills

Boosts test-taking confidence

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

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

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.

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.

Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs)

Disciplinary Core
Ideas (DCIs)

Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs)

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

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

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

Guiding Question "Why does fruit have seeds?”

Investigation Objective

Students explore the

 structure and function of fruit, seeds, and flowers


of how

provide evidence-based explanations

animal-mediated seed dispersal supports plant populations.


Developing and Using Models 

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

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

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

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


Growth and Development of Organisms

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

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



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

Structure and Function

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.

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

Q & A

How to get started with three-dimensional science



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

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



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.

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.


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


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.

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