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

*Click to open and customize your own version of the Variables Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Variables, and supports the standard of identifying and manipulating variables in an algorithm. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Display an example of a thank-you note, like this one:

Dear Cassie,

Thank you so much for celebrating my 8th grade graduation with me.

You made it a truly special occasion.

I also wanted to thank you for the wonderful chemistry set.

It is such a thoughtful gift.

Your Dear Friend,


Ask: what do you think is the variable in this thank you card? HINT: What changes in the card depending on who you’re sending it to?


  • Read aloud the description on the Variables topic page
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “Language” or “In Practice.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Assign Variables Quiz, prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about variables 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: Create a commercial for a Coding service that promotes the use of variables in computer programming. Give real-life examples of when you might use them.  
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map that outlines a process where a variable might be helpful. Declare and initialize the variable, then “code” the process.
  • Creative Coding: Code a sorting game where players determine whether variables could be used to make different situations more efficient or not.  

More to Explore

Run Marco: Practice coding skills in this interactive game.

Teacher Support Resources:


Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments