Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

NOTE TO EDUCATORS: The movie featured in this lesson plan contains references to self-harm and suicide. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, consider previewing the movie before showing it to the class.

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 4-12, students watch the BrainPOP movie Depression and explore the other features in this topic to learn about the disease’s symptoms, causes, and treatments. Students then apply their understanding by creating fact sheets or posters about depression.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm what they know about depression.
  2. Learn about depression--what it is, effects, causes, treatment, etc.
  3. Use what they learned to create a medical brochure about depression.



  • Preview the movie Depression to plan for adaptations.
  • Draw a KWL chart on the whiteboard or chart paper.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Draw a KWL chart on chart paper. Ask student what they know or think they know about depression. Write their responses in the K column. When everyone has had a chance to respond, ask what they would like to know about depression. Write those responses in the W column.
  2. Show the BrainPOP movie Depression to the whole class on the whiteboard. Pause to ask questions. For pause points and discussion questions, refer to Depression Discussion Prompts.
  3. Next, if you have access to multiple computers or devices, have smalls groups of 2-3 students watch the movie again within the Make-a-Map feature. As they watch, have them use the Make-a-Map tools to construct a spider map identifying the following aspects of depression: What it is, effects, symptoms, possible causes, and treatment. If limited computers, you can show the movie again to the whole class as they take notes offline on a Web graphic organizer.  
  4. Now bring the class together to complete the KWL chart. Review the list in the What I Know column and have them correct any incorrect information. Next, look at the What I Want to Know column and have students share any new information as you write it in the L column (What I Learned).
  5. Distribute the markers and construction paper and have students use the information from the KWL chart and their completed maps to create an informational brochure about depression, like the type you find in a doctor’s office. Encourage them to illustrate the cover. Make samples available if you have some, for students to use as models.
  6. Put students informational brochures on display in your classroom to share with each other.