Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this musical genres lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-8, students use BrainPOP resources to conduct independent and/or collaborative research on a selected musical topic. Students will share their research about a musical genre, instrument, musician, or aspect of learning music with the class using web 2.0 tools or other presentation methods.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Conduct independent and/or collaborative research on a selected topic related to musical genres, learning music, or making music.
  2. Share their research findings with the class using web 2.0 tools or other presentation methods.


  • Access to BrainPOP's website or mobile app
  • Computers for students to use or mobile devices


The focus of this lesson is to support students in identifying their musical interests and sharing them with others. The lesson can also be used to introduce a unit of study or as a culminating activity.

To prepare for the lesson, familiarize yourself with the movie topics in the Musical Genres, Learning Music, and Making Music units. Select the ones which are appropriate for your students and place them on a list to be shared with the class.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Share a few of your own areas of musical interest with the class: an instrument you're fascinated with, a favorite musical genre or musician, an aspect of learning music that you love to read about, etc. You may want to share props, photos, or sound clips as well.
  2. Tell the class you'd like to learn more about the aspects of music that are fascinating to them! Display the list of BrainPOP topics you pre-selected. Give students time to explore the topics and select one that interests them. You may choose to allow students to work in pairs or groups.
  3. Ask students to write the names of 3-6 movie topic pages (depending on your students' ability levels) that they intend to explore in order to become experts in their chosen area. Alternatively, students can use their mobile devices to submit their movie topics to you via Google doc or form, Edmodo, etc. Help students narrow or expand their topics as needed and ensure that they have selected appropriate movies to help further their understanding.
  4. If needed, provide note-taking sheets, graphic organizers, or other support for students to use in recording what they learn. Outlines, webs, KWL charts, 5 W charts, item/description charts, and more are available on the Graphic Organizers page.
  5. Explain that students will be able to choose a presentation method to share their research with the class. Allow them to brainstorm some possible ways they can communicate what they learned: Voicethread, a blog post, video, podcast, PowerPoint, Prezi, poster, skit, etc.
  6. Give students time in class or at home to conduct their research. Check in with them frequently to provide support and guide students in their thinking.
  7. Assign each student a time to present or share their newfound expertise either in person or by posting their videos, etc. to a class blog. You may want to invite families and community members to view students' presentations and comment on them.

Extension Activities:

Ask students to consider what career paths might enable them to continue following their passions and learn more about musical topics that interest them. Encourage students to research various jobs in the area of music and connect (via Skype, email, etc.) with people who are working in their chosen field. What other things will they need to learn to be successful in the career they've selected? What else can they do to develop their skills?
Filed as:  '60s Folk, 3-5, 6-8, Analog and Digital Recording, Arts, Arts and Music, Blended Learning, Blues, Brass Instruments, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.7