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

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Work is Being Done (L3U1L4), Ben and Moby are being put to work on Uncle Joe’s farm– feeding the horses, fixing a fence, painting a barn, and more. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, students identify and use the passive voice in the present and past progressive tenses in oral and written activities about farm chores.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Describe actions using progressive verb tenses in the passive voice.
  2. Transform phrases from passive to active voice and active to passive voice using the progressive verb tenses.
  3. Describe actions in an image using progressive verb tenses in the passive voice.
  4. Write captions for a comic strip using the progressive verb tenses in passive voice.



Academic Vocabulary:
Passive voice, active voice, present progressive, past progressive
Farm, chore, job, fix, feed, train/training/trainer, fence, barn, field, hay, cow, calf/calves, pig, horse, chicken, lay eggs


For Activity 3, Active or Passive, prepare a list of active and passive sentences from the movie or based on the movie, such as:

Moby is visiting Uncle Joe’s farm.
Moby is carrying a suitcase.
The cow is pushing away the calf.
The calf was eating hay all day yesterday.
Moby was taking eggs from the basket while Ben was painting.
We are fixing the fence.
While Uncle Joe was painting the fence, he suddenly ran out of paint.
Ben and Moby are painting the barn red.
While the trainer was riding the white horse, Ben was brushing the brown horse.

Moby is being driven by Uncle Joe.
Many of the chores were being done by Ben at 10 o'clock yesterday.
The calf was being fed by its mother all day yesterday.
Eggs were being laid by the chicken while we were collecting them.
Eggs are being collected by Uncle Joe.
The pigs were being washed by Ben when we met yesterday.
The horses are being brought out to the field by the trainer.
Hay is being brought to the barn by Uncle Joe.
Hay is being slept on by Moby.

For Activities 2 and 4, make copies of the Farm Action Image and the Farm Chores Comic Strop for every student.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. What Is Happening? Have students review the present progressive verb tense in passive voice by watching the first part (Passive: Present Progressive/Affirmative) of the Grammar section of the movie Work is Being Done (L3U1L4). After watching, ask students, What is happening right now in the classroom?" Have partners talk about what they observe, and write 2-3 sentences. Alternatively, ask the students to describe/write what they think is happening right now in other parts of the school, like the library, the office, cafeteria, or the gym. For example: Books are being read in the library.

    For homework, students can answer a question, such as: What is happening in your house while dinner is being cooked? Instruct them to take notes of their observations.

    The next day, show the second part of the Grammar section (Passive: Past Progressive/Affirmative). After reviewing the section, have students relate their homework observations using the past progressive in both passive and active voice.
  2. Farm Action. Project the Farm Action Image. Invite students to describe what’s going on in this scene using the passive voice with progressive tenses, such as The barn is being painted. Do a Roundrobin so that everyone has a chance to participate. If a student is not sure what to say, provide a sentence that incorrectly describes what is happening. This will encourage students to practice the negative construction. For example, you might say The barn is being painted blue. The student would correct you by saying, The barn isn’t being painted blue. It is being painted red.
  3. Active or Passive? Divide the class into two teams. If your class has individual dry erase boards, then instruct them to take them out, or use their notebooks. One student from each team comes to the front of the class with their boards/notebooks and pens. Read aloud a sentence (see Preparation) that is either directly from the movie or about the movie Work is Being Done (L3U1L4). Both players write whether the sentence is active or passive. Then they rewrite the sentence in the opposite voice. Provide the following model:

    Sample sentence: Uncle Joe is driving Moby on his tractor.
    Correct response: Active.
    Revised to passive: Moby is being driven by Uncle Joe on his tractor.
    If the voice (passive or active) is correctly identified, the team earns 1 point. If students revise the sentence correctly, they earn 2 points. If they get neither correct, 0 points are earned. Two new students come up for the next round. Keep playing until everyone on both teams has had a chance to play.
  4. Farm Chores Comic Strip. After watching the movie Work is Being Done (L3U1L4), have students write captions for the Farm Chores Comic Strip, using the passive voice in either present or past progressive. Then have students share their comic strips.

Extension Activity

Word Families: Animal Babies. The last part of the Grammar section of the movie Work is Being Done (L3U1L4), presents vocabulary for animal babies. Use the Animal Babies Image Prompt to generate discussion using the words, as an introduction to the lesson, or as a prompt for questions about the movie.


BrainPOP ELL Movies
Ben Needs Help (L1U2L5)
We Might Babysit (L2U4L5)
Music Genres (L3U1L5)