When students make a BrainPOP-style movie, they put to use a range of important skills, from brainstorming and writing to collaborating and producing. And, by identifying and then applying specific video conventions and structures unique to BrainPOP, students engage in an important “media deconstruction” exercise.

Writing and producing a BrainPOP style movie after completing a unit of study is most effective because it encourages students to apply what they’ve learned in a clear, creative and visual format.

Click this link for examples of successful student made BrainPOP Movies

Students will:

  1. Identify key elements of a BrainPOP video.
  2. Follow specific writing structures to write a BrainPOP style script.
  3. Compose a visually rich storyboard.
  4. Produce a BrainPOP style movie.


    • Internet access for BrainPOP
    • word processing program or paper and pencil
    • Storyboard template
    • Device and/or software for creating movie


This lesson assumes some familiarity with BrainPOP movies as students will need to deconstruct their elements and format. If you have specific writing protocols in your class, this lesson plan provides an excellent opportunity to use them. Although revision and editing times are not explicitly stated in the lesson procedure, be sure to build in time for students to edit and revise scripts and storyboard images, as well as review the final product . And, remind students that writing involves plenty of revision. We don’t recommend a specific movie making software, but you should familiarize themselves with one in advance. Take a look at the student made projects collection for examples of movies using various tools including Puppet Pals, istopmotion on iOS, iMovie, and MovieMaker on Macs and PCs. Many teachers find it easier to use still images that to create live action videos.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students: "What makes BrainPOP movies different?" Have students turn and talk to a partner or small group to generate a list of BrainPOP movie attributes. Here are some examples they may come up with:
    • Moby and Tim or Annie
    • Moby beeps and doesn’t talk
    • a guiding question (or in the case of BrainPOP Jr. multiple questions)
    • explains concepts well
    • clear visual explanations of difficult concepts
    • explains vocabulary words
    • funny
    • Tim's t-shirt that matches the topic of the movie
  2. Come together as a whole class and have partners or small groups share their lists with the class. Note their findings on the chalkboard or whiteboard. If any of the elements noted above are missing, be sure to add them to the list. Keep the list displayed throughout the project as reference for students.
  3. Explain to students that they are going to write and produce their own BrainPOP Style movie based on a topic they are currently studying or have recently studied. You may want to make a list of these topics to jog their memory.
  4. Remind students that BrainPOP movies always begin with a question that comes from a kid in the form of a letter. If necessary, watch the beginning of any BrainPOP movie to refresh students’ memory. As a whole class, brainstorm the question(s) that their movie will answer.
  5. Have students determine the key ideas and specific vocabulary words that the movie will address. Then brainstorm a storyline or plot for the movie.
  6. If the whole class is producing one movie, assign a question (if the movie is addressing multiple questions) and vocabulary words and/or concepts to small groups.
  7. Have students work in small groups to write the Tim and Moby dialogue. Remind students that even though Moby only beeps, they might want to write the script in conversational style in which Moby explicitly asks questions, affirms, clarifies, or otherwise reacts to Tim's lines. Eventually, Moby's words will be replaced by “beep." You can find “Moby beeps” audio files here.
  8. Now each small group is to create a storyboard of their part of the script, either using a storyboard software online or offline using this printable graphic organizer. Instruct them to create a screen by screen sketch of what is happening along with the words that go with each sketch.
  9. Work with students to review,edit, and revise the storyboard.
  10. When the storyboard is finalized, students are ready to produce their movie. Assign students different jobs as follows, and any more you can think of:
    • art direction including backgrounds, costumes
    • narration (practice their lines)
    • camera operator (consider locations)
    • movie editor (familiarize themselves with software)
  11. Host a BrainPOP film festival to show off your class’s movie. Invite students, parents, and more. Print and distribute these movie tickets for added authenticity!
  12. If interested in sharing your class’s movies with the BrainPOP Educators community, please send along to educators (at) brainpop (dot) com. We will follow up with next steps to publish your students’ movie for all to see!

Additional Differentiation Strategies
For ELL students, you may want to emphasize vocabulary development.