Grade Levels: 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Elvis Presley, and supports the standard of understanding how Elvis contributed to rock music and culture. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of creative projects.


Display an image of Elvis Presley performing, like this one:

Ask students: 

  • What do you notice about the audience?
  • What do you think it was like to attend an Elvis concert?


  • Read the description on the Elvis Presley topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Quirky Stuff” or “Politics”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY 

Students synthesize their ideas and express them through one or more of the following creative projects. They can work individually or collaborate.  

  • Make-a-Movie: Make a mini-documentary about Elvis Presley’s life, including details of his childhood and entertainment career.  
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and describing the different events, people, and genres that influenced Elvis Presley’s music career. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a meme expressing why Elvis Presley is known as the “King of Rock n’ Roll”. 


Reflect: After sharing creative projects with each other, students reflect on what they’ve learned about Elvis Presley. Prompt them by asking questions such as: 

  • What genres and experiences influenced Elvis’ musical style?
  • How did Sam Phillips impact Elvis’ music career?
  • How did Colonel Tom Parker contribute to Elvis’ fame?
  • How did Elvis’ career change throughout the 1950s and 1960s? 

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Elvis Presley Challenge

Step 5:  Extend Learning

Examine and analyze a 1970s image in a Primary Source Activity.

Play Time Zone X: Elvis Presley, an interactive timeline game that challenges players to put historical events in chronological order.

Continue to build understanding around music and culture with BrainPOP’s Musical Genres topics, games, and teacher resources. 

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments