In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 4-12, students explore BrainPOP features and resources about particle accelerators, including what they are, what they do, and why scientists developed them.Then in pairs, students will make a movie that answers the question “What happens when particles collide?”

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Watch a movie about particle accelerators.
  2. Create a concept map that identifies the effects of particles colliding.
  3. Produce a movie about particle accelerators using the Make-a-Movie tool.
  4. Take a quiz to show what they learned about particle accelerators.


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to recall what an atom’s nucleus is made of. Make sure they know the answer is protons and neutrons.Invite them to share what they know about these particles. After they share what they know, tell students that today they will learn all about particle accelerators, a tool for producing beams of charged particles that scientists use for research and other purposes
  2. Display the Particle Accelerators topic page on the whiteboard, and invite a volunteer to read the movie description at the bottom of the page.  
  3. Show the movie Particle Accelerators to the the whole class once through without pausing. Turn on the closed caption option to aid in comprehension.
  4. After watching the movie once through, have the pairs of students open the Particle Accelerators Make-a-Map assignment. Tell them that later they will make a movie that explains what happens when particles collide, but first they will watch the movie again, this time using Make-a-Map to take notes on the effects or results of particle collisions. Explain that they will use the notes to create their movies. Instruct them to select the Spider Map template or create their own spider maps. Remind them that they can include clips from the movie in their maps.
  5. After completing their maps, instruct students to open their Make-a-Movie assignment in a new window, keeping their concept maps open in the first window. Explain that they will use their notes to create a movie that answers the question “What happens when particles collide?”
  6. When pairs finish making their movies, have them share and compare with another pair, or the whole class.
  7. Finally, have students put their smarts to the test by having them take the Particle Accelerators quiz.