Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Cell Phone, and supports the standard of explaining the functions of common software and hardware components of computing systems. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Ask students:

  • What do you think life was like before cell phones? How did they change people’s lives?
  • What do you know about how cell phones work?


  • Read the description on the Cell Phone topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “Way Back When,” “Q&A,” or “In Practice.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign the Cell Phone Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about cell phones while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a commercial for back when cell phones were first invented. Explain how cell phones work and how they make life easier.
  • Make-a-Map: Create a concept map sequencing the history of cell phones–from the earliest primitive ones to today’s technologically advanced phones. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing the invention of the first cell phone. 

More to Explore 

Time Zone X: Cell Phone: Place historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Communications Unit: Continue to build understanding around communication tools by exploring more BrainPOP topics.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments