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

This lesson plan accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Research, and can be completed over several class periods. See suggested times for each section.



Students will:

Activate prior knowledge about how to do a research project.

Identify the sequence of events for conducting research.

Use critical thinking skills to analyze how and why having a focus is key to conducting research and doing a research report.

Demonstrate understanding through creative projects, such as producing a movie using research they gathered, or coding a game that challenges players to sort the different research steps.

Present projects and reflect on new understandings.



For background on the Research Topic, click the Full Description link below the movie player.

The INVESTIGATE and CREATE sections of the lesson require students to use Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, and Creative Coding projects. Assign the Research Make-a-Map to the class in advance of the lesson. 


Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Begin the lesson plan by activating students’ prior knowledge and making real-life connections.  Then show the movie to introduce the topic. 

  1. DISPLAY this Anchor Question on whiteboard and read it aloud: What are the signs of a good research question?
    Tell students they will investigate this question over the course of the lesson and will return to it at the end.
  2. ACTIVATE BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE by having pairs or small groups share with each other steps they’ve taken for doing a research project, including what has and hasn’t worked.
  3. READ ALOUD the description below the movie player.
  4. MAKE CONNECTIONS by asking students to share specific research projects they’ve worked on and what they learned from the experience. 
  5. WATCH the movie Research as a whole class on the whiteboard. Turn on the closed caption option to aid in comprehension.  



Approximate time: 20-25 minutes

Prompt students’ inquiry and critical thinking skills by having them find key details to build knowledge and understanding.


  1. Students open their Make-a-Map Assignment and select or create a sequence map. They type the question they will investigate at the top: What are the steps to conducting research for a research report?
  2. As students watch the movie again, they identify the steps for doing a research report. Evidence can include text, images, and movie clips.
    ADDED CHALLENGE: Prompt students to include evidence for why research isn’t always a linear process; why returning to earlier steps is sometimes a key step to conducting research.
    SUPPORT TIP: Help students by identifying the first step or two for doing a research report, and add it to the concept map.
  3. Students SUBMIT their maps when they are done.


Approximate time: 45-60 minutes

Students demonstrate their understanding by synthesizing their ideas and expressing them through one or more of the following hands-on, creative projects.  They can work individually or collaborate. Remind them to use evidence from their concept maps in their creations.


  • Research Memes:  Code a research meme. It can be about a research topic, the research process, or even a famous researcher.  Your meme can be funny or serious!
  • A Research Tutorial: Produce a mini tutorial for classmates describing a research report you’re working on now, and the steps you are taking. Include your research question. 
  • Research Steps Game: Code a game challenging players to identify when in the research process different steps happen: beginning, middle, or end.



Wrap up the lesson with student presentations and a final reflection on learning.

PRESENT: Students present their completed projects to their classmates. 

WRAP UP: Draw attention to the Anchor Question again: What are the signs of a good research question? Students answer the question using their new knowledge.


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments