Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students explore BrainPOP resources to learn about Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American scientist and inventor who made groundbreaking contributions in the area of physics and engineering.  After learning about Tesla’s inventions, students will collaborate to create an advertisement featuring one of Tesla’s innovations.

Students will:

  1. Watch a BrainPOP movie and review resources about Nikola Tesla.
  2. Take notes about Tesla’s innovations, and his influence on electric devices.
  3. Work in pairs to create an advertisement featuring one of Tesla’s inventions.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Display the Nikola Tesla topic on the whiteboard. Tell students that today they will learn about the scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla. Ask students what they already know or think they know about Tesla. Then invite a volunteer to read the description below the movie player. 
  2. Before showing the movie, explain to students that after learning about Tesla, they will work with a partner to produce an ad for one of his innovations.
  3. Show the movie Nikola Tesla on the whiteboard. Enable closed captioning to aid in student comprehension. Pause to explain and clarify as needed. 
  4. After the movie, pair up students and assign each pair either the Tesla Coil or the AC Electrical System. Have pairs open the Tesla Make-a-Map and watch the movie again, this time focusing on details about their assigned invention. As they watch, have them take notes in a spider map, or other concept map, about their assigned invention, particularly its benefits. Remind them that they can add video clips and images to their maps. 
  5. Using their notes, have students open the Tesla Make-a-Movie in a second window to produce a commercial advertising the benefits of their assigned invention. Encourage them to use words, images, and clips from their maps.  
  6. Next, have pairs share their commercials with another pair who have been assigned the other invention.
  7. Finally, bring the class together to share what they learned about Nikola Tesla, his inventions, and how he changed the way we use current systems.