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

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-12, students explore BrainPOP features and resources to learn about active and passive voice, and the differences between the tone and focus of each. They will use what they learn to identify active and passive voice in different types of writing and discuss how voice makes writing effective.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Construct sentences using active and passive voice.
  2. Use the Make-a-Map tool to identify examples from the movie of active and passive voice.
  3. Identify sentences as active or passive.
  4. Rewrite sentences from active to passive and passive to active.
  5. Analyze a comic for voice and write their own.



  • Preview the movie Active & Passive Voice to plan for any adaptations.
  • Preview thePreview the Activity and Graphic Organizer to plan for any adaptations and print them out if students will be working offline.
  • Lesson Procedure:

    1. Bounce a ball on the floor. Then ask students to describe what happened. Tell them to start the sentence with your name (e.g., “Ms. Jones bounced a ball.”). Write the sentence on the board. Then have students identify the subject (Ms. Jones) and the verb (bounced). Now, bounce the ball again, but this time, ask students to describe what happened starting with “The ball…”. Students should say, “The ball was bounced by Ms. Jones.” Write this sentence on the board and ask them to identify the subject in this sentence (the ball) and the verb (was bounced).
    2. Guide students to compare and contrast the two sentences. Ask them which the think is active and which is passive. Confirm that they understand that the first sentence is in the active voice because the subject, the teacher, actively bounced the ball. Contrast this with the second sentence, which is in the passive voice because the subject (the ball) is NOT actively doing anything. Instead something is happening to it by someone else.
    3. Show the movie Active & Passive Voice on the whiteboard to the whole class once through without pausing.
    4. Next, have students open the Make-a-Map feature from within the movie. As they watch, instruct them to create a chart, such as a t-chart, in the Make-a-Map canvas to identify sentences from the movie as active or passive. Suggest that they pause the movie as they take notes and remind point out that they can incorporate clips from the movie into their charts if they prefer this to typing the sentences.  When they are done, have students share their charts with each other.
    5. Invite students to apply what they’ve learned by completing the Active & Passive Voice activity in which they label sentences as active or passive and then rewrite them in the opposite voice. Then have them rewrite well known sayings in the Sentence Diagram graphic organizer. If you have limited access to computers or other devices, you may distribute these activities for students to do offline.

    Extension Activities:

    Encourage students to find examples of active and passive voice in different types of publications, such as newspapers, magazines, web sites, text books, novels, non fiction, etc. Have them compare and contrast their findings. What types of texts did they encounter more active voice? In which did they find more passive voice? Have them brainstorm why this might be.