Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

This lesson plan accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Coronavirus, and can be completed over several class periods. See suggested times for each section.



Students will:

Activate prior knowledge about viruses, and specifically about the coronavirus.

Use critical thinking skills to identify and connect facts about the coronavirus.

Demonstrate understanding through creative projects, such as producing a public service announcement and coding an interview with a doctor.

Present projects and reflect on new understandings.



For background on the Coronavirus Topic, click the Full Description link below the movie player.

The INVESTIGATE and CREATE sections of the lesson invite students to use Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, and Creative Coding projects. If you have a BrainPOP subscription, assign the Coronavirus Make-a-Map to the class in advance of the lesson. No subscription? No worries! You can still use Make-a-Map and see our ideas for “unplugged” activities in the Create section.


Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Begin the lesson plan by activating students’ prior knowledge and making real-life connections.  Then show the movie to introduce the topic. 

  1. DISPLAY this Anchor Question on whiteboard and read it aloud: How can understanding the coronavirus make it less scary?
    Tell students they will investigate this question over the course of the lesson and will return to it at the end.
  2. ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE by having pairs or small groups share with each other what they know about viruses generally and what they’ve heard about the coronavirus that’s been in the news.
  3. ASK students what they think causes viruses, their effects, and how we can avoid their spread. Jot their ideas on the board. Read aloud the description below the movie player. 
  4. MAKE CONNECTIONS by asking students to describe a time they had a virus, how they felt, what made them feel better, and what they think caused it.
  5. WATCH the movie Coronavirus as a whole class on the whiteboard. Turn on the closed caption option to aid in comprehension.



Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Prompt students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills by having them find key details to build knowledge and understanding.


  1. Students open their Make-a-Map Assignment and select or create a spider map. They type the question they will investigate at the top:
    What is the coronavirus and how can we contain it?
  2. As students watch the movie again, they identify and connect facts about the new coronavirus, including what it is, how it spread, and tips for stopping its spread. Evidence can include text, images, and movie clips.
    EXTRA CHALLENGE: Prompt students to include evidence for why this coronavirus has gotten so much attention and what we can do to feel less worried or scared.

    Help students by identifying a fact or two about the virus and modeling how to add it to the concept map. Show them how they can connect related ideas, like ideas for containing the virus.
  3. Students SUBMIT their maps when they are done.



Approximate time: 45-60 minutes

Students demonstrate their understanding by synthesizing their ideas and expressing them through one or more of the following hands-on, creative projects.  They can work individually or collaborate. Remind them to use evidence from their concept maps in their creations.

NOTE:  The following activities require access to BrainPOP’s creativity tools (Creative Coding and Make-a-Movie) which are available only with a BrainPOP subscription. However, they are easily adaptable to “unplugged” activities, such as interviewing a real-life doctor, creating a PSA with poster board, and recording a newscast with your students taking on the roles of camera person and news reporter.


  • An Interview with a Doctor: Code an interview with a doctor that includes a patient’s questions and the doctor’s answers.
  • Public Service Announcement: Raise awareness and change attitudes about the coronavirus by producing a PSA that is NOT sensational or alarming, but gives the real story. Include tips for stopping its spread.
  • Coronavirus Newscast: Code a newscast that shares a fact about the coronavirus and or suggests a tip for stopping its spread.



Wrap up the lesson with student presentations and a final reflection on learning.

PRESENT: Students present their completed projects to their classmates. 

WRAP UP: Draw attention to the Anchor Question again: How can understanding the coronavirus make it less scary?  Students answer the question using their new knowledge.


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments