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

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Inventions (L3U1L2), Ben is trying to invent a way to carry his guitar on his bike. When Moby asks what he’s doing, Ben explains how most inventions were invented to solve problems. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, students talk and write about inventions as they identify, form, and use sentences using the passive voice in the past simple tense.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Fill in a table with information they find in the movie.
  2. Ask and answer questions using information from the table.
  3. Describe a classmate’s action using the past simple passive voice.
  4. Identify examples of past simple passive from the movie.
  5. Record the three forms of verbs they find in a puzzle.



Academic Vocabulary:
Past, present, passive voice, active voice, past participle
Invent/inventor/invention/inventive, create/creator/creation/creative, problem, solve/solution, mean (v)


For Activity 1, Famous Inventions and the Problems They Solved, gather images of several different inventions and display them in the class.

For Activity 2, Famous People, gather images of famous artists, composers, singers, or authors.

For Activity 3, What Happened?, prepare index cards (Command Cards) with lists of 4-5 short, simple commands for students to perform. For example:
Open a book.
Close the book.
Give a pen to one of your friends.
Throw a piece of paper in the garbage.
Move a chair to a different place.

For Activity 4, Verb Search, make copies of of the Verb Word Search.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Famous Inventions and the Problems They Solved. Have students make a three-column chart in their notebooks, labeled Inventions, Inventors, and Problems They Solved. After watching the movie Inventions (L2U4L2), ask them to fill in information about the different inventions Ben described in the movie, and the problem each one solved. After they’ve recalled all of the inventions from the movie, have students brainstorm and add other inventions they know of. Encourage students to look at the images you have displayed of different inventions to get them thinking.
    Then have partners practice asking and answering questions using the information in their tables. For example:
    Question: Name an inventor and his/her invention. Answer: The light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison. Question: What problem was solved? Answer: People could see in the dark.
  2. Famous People. Show the images you brought in of famous people. Use them as prompts for students to practice using the passive in the past tense. For example: "Imagine" was sung by John Lennon.
  3. What Happened? Write the following words on the board: book, pen, piece of paper, chair. Invite a volunteer to the front of the class and hand him/her one of the Command Cards (see Preparation). Ask the student to silently do what the card says, in the order it says, as the rest of the class observes. When the student has finished the actions, ask the class to say or write what happened to each of the objects listed on the board, using the past simple passive. Repeat the process with other cards.
  4. Movie. On second viewing of the movie, ask students to pay special attention to the dates and examples of past simple passive sentences. As students watch the movie, instruct them to copy down any three sentences that are examples of past simple passive. Pause the movie as necessary to give them time to copy. Once they’ve completed copying these three sentences, distribute index cards and paper clips for them to write out one of their sentences. Each word of the sentence goes on a separate card. Then have students shuffle the words and clip them together, and work in pairs. Partners exchanges packets of cards, and work to reconstruct each other’s sentences. Students can share the sentences with the class. After all the sentences have been shared, they can then be sequenced according to the movie.
  5. Dates. Write the following dates on the board and ask students what happened on those dates. Answers can be found in the movie. All answers must be in the past simple passive voice. What happened:
    a. on February 11, 1847? (Edison was born.)
    b. in 1879? (The light bulb was invented.)
    c. on October 18, 1931? (Lights were dimmed.)
    d. in 1891? (The game of basketball was invented.)
  6. Verb Search. Give students the Verb Word Search and remind them to fill in the 2nd and 3rd form of the verbs on the bottom.