Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Nellie Bly Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Nellie Bly, and supports the standard of analyzing the societal contributions of famous historical figures. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Ask students:

  • Can you think of any print or televised news story that is an example of “bad” journalism? In contrast, can you think of an example of “good” journalism? Explain.
  • What qualities make a journalist a credible source of information?


  • Read the description on the Nellie Bly topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the six articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign Nellie Bly Challenge and Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about Nellie Bly 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: Produce a mini documentary about Nellie Bly that answers this question: How did Nellie Bly differ from other journalists of her time?
  • Make-a-Map: Create a cause-and-effect concept map identifying and explaining the ways Nellie Bly’s journalism impacted society.  
  • Creative Coding: Code a newscast announcing the findings of one of Nellie Bly’s investigations.  
  • Primary Source Activity: Read and analyze “Behind Asylum Bars,” the first of two articles written by Bly in an undercover investigation.  

More to Explore

Time Zone X: Feminism: Challenge students to put historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Famous Historical Figures Unit: Continue to build understanding around individuals’ contributions to society by exploring more BrainPOP biographies.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments