Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Mammals (L2U1L4) Ben takes care of Nikki’s new puppy, and explains to Moby what puppies and other mammals can and can’t do. In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-8, students use the modal can / can’t as they compare and contrast characteristics of mammals, write and illustrate a research report, and take notes on a graphic organizer while listening to presentations.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Classify and describe animals using can / can't.
  2. Write and illustrate a mini research report about a mammal.
  3. Take notes on a graphic organizer as they listen to reports.


can, can't

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Before, During, and After. Before: As an introduction before showing the movie Mammals (L2U1L4), display the Four Mammals Picture Prompt. Without giving any information, ask the class to think about ways the horse, puppy, rabbit, and human are similar, and list their answers on the board. Tell the class to look for answers as they watch the movie. During: The students look for answers to the above question. During: Pause the movie right after Ben asks Moby, "What do you mean, 'What can he do?' " Ask the class to guess what questions they think Moby asks about the puppy. During: Pause the movie when Ben says, "Different mammal babies can do different things." Ask the students to think of sentences for each of the four images on the screen, describing what the mammal babies pictured can do. After: After watching the movie, ask partners to summarize what they learned about mammals, using can and can't where appropriate. Ask them how it is different from what they thought before they watched the movie.
  2. Mini Research Report. Assign a mini research report for the students to do about any mammal they choose. They must look up information about the mammal and include illustrations. The first paragraph should be general information about the animal, like what kind of mammal it is, and where it usually lives. The second paragraph should include facts about what the mammal can do. Have students share their reports as the class takes notes. See the following activity.
  3. Take Notes. As students listen to the reports, have them take notes on the Can-Can't Graphic Organizer, or they can create their own simple grid. They must choose three different mammals from the other reports, and write them across the top, as titles for the three columns. Then they complete the table with things that the animals can and can't do.

Extension Activity.

Billy Boy. Billy Boy is a traditional English folk song. You can find many versions on YouTube. After singing the song, ask students to make up a verse like the verses asking a question with "can" (Can she make a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?). Then sing the song with the new verses.

BrainPOP ELL Movies
Old Dog, New Tricks (L2U1L5)

BrainPOP JR Movies
Classifying Animals

BrainPOP Movies