Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Pond Ecocystem (L3U4L2), Moby is taking Ben for a boat ride when suddenly a fish jumps out of the pond. Moby wants to keep it, but as Ben explains, taking the fish out of its habitat affects all the other living things in that ecosystem. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students practice using expressions with prepositions followed by gerunds.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify prepositions with gerunds in the movie.
  2. Brainstorm expressions using go with gerunds.
  3. Complete sentences using prepositions and the gerund form of verbs.
  4. Relate sentences to their lives using prepositions that take gerunds.



depend, produce, consume, energy, system, ecosystem, chain, web, food chain, food web, population, pond, plant


For Activity 1, Prepositions + Gerunds, prepare cards to play a game with the class. Make a separate card for each of the following words. You can make one class set, and lay the cards out in the front of the room for students to take, or make a separate set of cards for each group.
thank you / use / known / for
stop / protect / prevent / keep / from
plan / spend time / spend money / depend / on
ask / complain / dream / forget / talk / think / worried / happy / about
good / bad / at
think / suspect / scared / tired / of
believe / interested / in
bored / angry / annoyed / with

For Activity 4, Movie Questions, write questions on the board that require prepositions that take gerunds, or prepare handouts.
Example questions:
What does Ben think this day is perfect for doing?
Why does Ben thank Moby?
Why does Ben say that Moby can forget about keeping the fish?
What do we need energy for?
What do animals get energy from?
Name one part of a pond food chain (a plant, insect, fish, bird, or animal), and where it gets its energy from. Use this sentence frame: The ____________ get energy from eating ______________.
Describe all parts of a pond ecosystem food chain, using the sentence frame from above.
What does Moby care about protecting?

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Prepositions and Gerunds. Prepositions are tricky for English Language Learners. To practice pairing prepositions and gerunds, prepare a set of cards to play a game (see Preparation). Divide the class into small groups or teams. Sticking the cards onto the board with tape, put up one of the preposition cards. The teams take turns putting up a word that goes with the preposition. They must also come up with a correct sentence using a gerund. You can designate if the sentences must be about the movie or not. Note that some of the words are verbs and some are adjectives.
  2. Go! To practice using expressions with go + gerunds, challenge small groups to list as many expressions as they can think of with the verb go, such as go swimming, go camping, etc. To ensure all students in a group participate, have them use the Roundtable strategy within their groups. The group with the most correct expressions wins. Then ask the groups to create sentences with the expressions, reminding them that they can use go in all the tenses they have learned.
  3. What About You? As students watch the Grammar section of the movie, pause for them to think of more sentences with each example, related to themselves. For example:
    I'm very good at _______________.
    I'm scared of _________________.
    Let's plan on ___________________.
    Don't even think about _________________.

    I enjoy not ________________.
  4. Movie Questions. Write questions on the board about the movie, or prepare handouts (see Preparation). Choose questions requiring the use of prepositions that take gerunds. Pause the movie at the appropriate points for partners to discuss the answers in a Think-Pair-Share, and then share answers with the class.
  5. Relay Race. On each end of the chalkboard, make a list of verbs and adjectives that require a preposition (see words below). The two lists include the same words, but arrange them in different order.

    Words include: tired / forget / believe / think / plan / good / scared / bored / ask / interested / worried / bad

    In the center of the board, write the following prepositions to serve as reminders during the game: for, from, on, about, at, of, in, with

    Divide the class into two teams and have them line up on either end of the board, near each list. When you say “GO,” a student from each team writes the correct preposition next to one of the words on the list. Then the student quickly passes their chalk to the next student on their team. That student adds a gerund to the end of the phrase started by the previous student. For example, if the first student wrote the preposition of after tired, the next student might add the word studying so the phrase reads tired of studying. The next student on each team then adds a preposition to another word and so on. Remind students to refer to the list of prepositions on the board for help.