Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Main Idea Lesson Plan

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Main Idea, and supports the standard of determining a theme or central idea of a text. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Ask students: 

  • What is the main idea of your favorite book or movie? 
  • What are some details in the story that help you figure out the main idea? 


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

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Students take the Main Idea Challenge and Quiz, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about finding a main idea 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: Create a trailer for your favorite movie that answers these questions: What is the main idea of the movie? What details support the main idea
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying the main idea of a book you read recently. Include details that support the main idea. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast where the headline is the main idea and the background shows supporting details.

More to Explore

After the Storm: Run a city’s online news magazine in this interactive game. 

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments