Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this Jane Goodall lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore Goodall’s work with primates. Students will also list and discuss facts they learned about Goodall’s work during the movie and define key vocabulary terms related to Goodall’s work.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify prior knowledge about Jane Goodall’s work with primates.
  2. List and discuss facts about Goodall’s works learned during the movie.
  3. Define key vocabulary terms related to Goodall’s work.



Primatology, anthropology, origin, archaeologist, chimpanzee, ethology, objective, endangered, habitat, conservation


Print copies of the KWL chart for students. Have a copy of the vocabulary words available for students on the board or overhead projector. You may also want to print BrainPOP's Quiz and Related Reading Comic to use before or after the lesson. Preview the movie and plan where to pause and discuss.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Introduce the word “primatology” to see if students can determine the root word and deduce its meaning.
  2. Write the name “Jane Goodall” on the board. If possible, show a photo of Jane from a book or the Internet. You may also want to write the vocabulary words on the board or show a printout of the words to help get students thinking, and define the terms together as needed.
  3. Ask students to complete the “What I Know” section of the KWL chart with a partner or individually. Share student ideas by typing directly in to the KWL chart!
  4. Have volunteers mention some things they wrote down to give the rest of the class some ideas for how they might fill out the “W” section of the chart.
  5. Provide a few minutes for students to brainstorm and write things that would like to know about Jane Goodall in the “What I Want to Know” section of the graphic organizer. Discuss as a class to set a purpose for viewing the video.
  6. Explain that the class will be watching the Jane Goodall movie through two times. The first time, students should just watch and listen. The second time you play the movie, pause it during key concepts and vocabulary so students can take notes under the “L” section about what they learned.
  7. After the movie, give students several minutes to turn and talk about what they learned.
  8. Have students flip their papers over. Show the vocabulary words again and ask students to choose two or three new words they learned today. Students should write the words, their meaning, and use them in a sentence. If they finish early, they can illustrate their words or choose another word to write about.
  9. For homework or in a follow-up lesson, students can read the Related Reading comic and write a paragraph explaining how it relates to what they learned about Jane Goodall. Students can also complete the Quiz that corresponds with the movie.

Extension Activities:

Jane Goodall was passionate about primatology and funneled her passion into a life-long career. Explore the Related Reading Careers and encourage students to identify a topic and corresponding career they are passionate about. Students can research organizations that are associated with these topics and write a letter or email asking for more information. As a culminating activity, students can create their own BrainPOP-inspired storyboard, script, non-fiction comic, or movie on a subject they become passionate experts on.