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

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, The Dentist (L3U2L4), Ben visits the dentist because he worries he might have a cavity. Luckily, helpful Moby comes with Ben to offer support. Students discover that a visit to the dentist can be as painless as learning about suffixes! In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, students identify and practice using suffixes.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify and classify words from the movie with suffixes. (Language Objective)
  2. Construct words by matching base words and suffixes, and identify them based on definitions. (Language Objective)
  3. Use background knowledge to predict and discuss possible events in the movie. (Content Objective)
  4. Find information in the movie to answer essential questions. (Content Objective)



Content words: dentist, patient, mouth, tooth, toothpaste, cavity, inject
Academic words: prevent, protect


For Activity 2, I Spy a Suffix, create and photocopy a Suffix Chart that has a minimum of six columns and eight rows. Write the following six suffixes in the top row of each column: ful, less, ous, able, ion, and ness. Make a copy of the chart for each student, or have students make their own charts.

For Activity 3, Suffix Bingo, make two lists on the board of base words and suffixes:
Suffixes: ment, ness, tion, ful, less, ous, able, or, er, ist
Base words: inject, mouth, pain, prevent, sugar, tooth, amaze, excite, protect, pollute, art, care, help, use, thought, fame, danger, teach, act, paint, bake, sell, dance, fight
Following are words students might construct for their Bingo cards and for which you should prepare to give clues: actor, amazement, artist, careful, careless, dancer, dangerous, excitement, excitable, famous, fighter, helpful, helpless, injection, mouthful, painful, painless, painter, pollution, preventable, prevention, protection, seller, sugarless, teachable, teacher, thoughtful, thoughtless, toothless, useful, useless

Lesson Procedure:

  1. At the Dentist's Office. Tell students that they will watch a movie about Ben going to the dentist. To activate prior knowledge about the topic, have partners discuss what they think they will see in the movie, or ideas about what might happen. Then create a web on the board as they share their ideas.

    Put the essential question from the movie on the board, or, after the movie, ask students what they think it is: How can we prevent cavities? In pairs, have students find three suggestions in the movie. For example: eat healthy food, brush your teeth every day, and use toothpaste with cavity protection.
  2. I Spy a Suffix. Distribute the Suffix Chart to students (see Preparation). As they watch the movie The Dentist (L3U2L4), have them fill in the words they hear containing suffixes in the correct columns. To differentiate, turn on or off closed-captioning. Ask students to identify what parts of speech the different suffixes create. Challenge students to add more words they know using the suffixes on the chart, and as an extra challenge, they can add additional suffixes in the empty column heads. Instruct students to keep adding to the chart as they find new words. Then have pairs of students use the words on their suffix charts to write a few sentences or short paragraph about the movie, or about going to the dentist.
  3. Suffix Bingo. Have students create Bingo cards made up of 16 squares (4 rows, 4 columns). It must be large enough to write a word in each square. Then instruct them to construct words using the base words and suffixes you listed on the board (see Preparation) and fill them in on their Bingo charts. Tell students they can use a base word more than once using a different suffix, and they can use suffixes multiple times with different base words, but they cannot use the same word more than once. NOTE: There are more than 16 possible words students can construct. When everyone has filled in a Bingo chart, give clues for the words. Students put a penny or other marker on words for which you give clues. When a student gets 4 in a row, they yell BINGO. Check students’ words to make sure they are spelled correctly and that clues were given for those words. You can also ask the winner to give a sentence with each word she used.

Extension Activities

Compare and Contrast. Watch the BrainPOP movie Teeth, or one of the BrainPOP Jr. movies: Going to the Dentist or Caring for Teeth. Then compare it with the BrainPOP ELL movie The Dentist on a Venn Diagram, in a class or partner activity.

Give sentence frames to use complete sentences using compare-contrast signal words. Or write one paragraph with similarities, and one with differences. Some compare-contrast signal words are:

Compare: the same as, like, similar, compared to, also, both, in common
Contrast: different than, unlike, but, however, although, on the other hand, as opposed to, instead of

Field Trip. Take a field trip to a dentist’s office. When you return, do a Language Experience Approach (LEA) activity with the class.

Graph It. Have students keep track of a week of brushing and flossing on a graph or chart.

Keep a Journal. Have students keep a journal of the food they eat for one week. They can list the food they eat in categories, such as healthy, unhealthy, sugary, etc.


BrainPOP ELL Movies
Fun and Games

BrainPOP Movies
Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes

BrainPOP JR Movies
Caring for Teeth
Going to the Dentist