Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students learn about active imagination and how they can use their imaginations to solve problems, create, and have a positive impact on the world around them.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Define and appropriately use the term "active imagination."
  2. Understand how imagination is used to create and solve problems in new ways.
  3. Identify experiences that stimulate their imagination and those that hinder it.
  4. Use their own imagination to produce an original solution or product related to the subject area and/or unit of study.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Choose an inspirational quote from the Related Reading Quotables page and display it for the class to see. Invite students to talk with a neighbor or reflect in writing about how the quote relates to their own experiences. Alternatively, you could display the Comic and have students discuss how Cassie got her idea and whether there is such thing as a right or wrong way to create art.
  2. Challenge students to define imagination in their own words. Where have they heard the term before? How have they used their imagination in every day life?
  3. Play the Imagination Movie for the class and have students listen for the term "active imagination" and be prepared to define it at the end of the movie.
  4. Talk with students about active imagination, and record ways students tap into their own imagination in an "Imagination Inspiration" brainstorm. They may talk about books they've read, movies they've watched, or games they've played. Students might also mention having conversations with creative people, or spending time in places that trigger their imagination and inspire creativity.
  5. Challenge students to use their imagination to solve a problem or create a solution related to your subject area and unit of study. Students may want to design a new book cover for a title the class has recently read, figure out new and different strategies for solving a math equation, or create a visual representation of an idea you've studied in social or science. We recommend giving broad parameters to the entire class, and then providing more specific details or even project ideas to students who need more structured assignments.
  6. Provide time in class for students to complete their project. Emphasize that students should use their imagination to approach the topic in a different way, and encourage them to "think outside the box."
  7. Allow students to share their creations with the class. You can could have students display their work in an Imagination Fair, which works like a gallery walk (students take turns explaining their creations and walking around to see and hear about their classmate's work.)
  8. Select a handful of student projects to discuss with the class. How did students' differing imaginations allow them to approach the problem solving process in a unique way?
  9. Guide students to understand that everyone is creative, but creativity manifests in different ways for different people. You may want to play a BrainPOP movie from the Famous Historical Figures section of the site and talk with students about how various people used their imaginations to change their world. You could also have students choose a historical figure to learn more about through the movie, then after watching, de-brief with a partner or group to discuss the ways their selected figure used his or her imagination. Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Edgar Allen Poe, Wolfgang Mozart, and Georgia O'Keeffe are just a few of the imaginative people featured in the BrainPOP movies.
  10. Display the imagination Inspiration brainstorm results that students did at the beginning of the lesson, and refer to it throughout the school year. Continue to encourage students to tap into their imagination by participating in experiences they finding inspiring. You might also want to talk about activities that hinder students' imaginations and creativity, and talk about ways students can spend less time in those activities and more in the activities that further their imagination.