Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-12, students explore BrainPOP resources to learn about Rachel Carson, a marine biologist and conservationist whose famous book Silent Spring is credited for launching today’s global environmental movement. Carson’s tireless efforts led to the passing of landmark legislation for the protection of air, water, and land and to the establishment of the EPA to enforce these new laws. In this lesson, student will design their own Time Zone X game based on the life and accomplishments of Rachel Carson.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm the pros and cons of pesticides.
  2. Identify the sequence of events in Rachel Carson’s life.
  3. Create a Time Zone X game.
  4. Write an obituary. (extension activity)



  • Preview the movie Rachel Carson to plan for any adaptations.
  • If students will be working offline, make copies of the Sequence graphic organizer.
  • Make copies of the Make-Your-Own TimeZone X Game.
  • Lesson Procedure:

    1. Write “Pesticides” on the whiteboard. Ask students to brainstorm everything they know about pesticides, such as how or why they are used, their effects, etc. After jotting down all of their ideas, organize the notes into pros and cons. Most likely the cons will outweigh the pros, which will serve as a good springboard to your introduction of Rachel Carson.
    2. Tell students that today they will learn about Rachel Carson, a scientist, author and activist whose book Silent Spring launched the modern environmentalist movement.
    3. Show the movie Rachel Carson on the whiteboard to the whole class once through without pausing.
    4. Next, if you have access to multiple computers or devices, have students open the Make-a-Map feature. Or, if limited computers or devices, distribute the Sequence graphic organizer.  
    5. Have students watch the movie again within the Make-a-Map feature. As they watch, tell them to construct a concept map that shows the sequence of events in Rachel Carson’s life that ultimately led to the global environmental movement. If limited computers, you can show the movie again to the whole class as they take notes offline on a Sequence graphic organizer.
    6. If your students have not played Time Zone X, demonstrate the game on the whiteboard for the whole class. Select a theme that they are familiar with. Place the first few cards yourself, then invite volunteers up to continue the game.
    7. Now divide the class into pairs. Distribute Make-Your-Own TimeZone X Game to each pair and explain that they will design their own TIme Zone X game based on Rachel Carson’s life and experiences. First, they cut out the cards. Next, they review their sequence of events Make-a-Map or graphic organizer from the movie and use each event for a different card in their deck. On each card, they identify the event, draw a picture of the event, and write hints to help players put the cards in the correct place in the sequence of events.
    8. After everyone has created their decks, have pairs challenge each other to their put their deck in order.

    Extension Activities:

    Have students to review what they learned about Rachel Carson and her role in the modern environmental movement and write an obituary about her life life and accomplishments.