Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, K-3
In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for any grade level, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the life and works of historical figures. Students will research their selected historical figure, create a “Who Am I?” bag of clues about their figure, and invite classmates to deduce which historical figure they researched.
- Explore the life and works of a self-selected historical figure.
- Create a bag of clues about the historical figure.
- Invite classmates to guess the identity of their chosen historical figure.
- Computers with internet access for BrainPOP
- One paper bag for each student
Determine whether students will work alone or cooperatively to complete their “Who Am I?” bags. You may wish to provide written directions or an assessment rubric for students to guide them in their projects. Preview the BrainPOP Jr. and/or BrainPOP movie topics (listed on this page) to determine which ones are appropriate for your students, and list them for children to choose from.
Create a “Who Am I?” bag as a model for the class. Select a historical figure or event and create or gather clues to help students guess the identity of your figure. For example, if you choose Amelia Earhart, you could put a tiny model airplane, pair of goggles, map of Kansas, and the numbers “99” on a piece of paper. (Instead of real objects, you could also use printed images from the internet.) Put your name on the outside of the bag and ensure you’ve followed whatever project guidelines you plan to give students.
- Show the class your “Who Am I?” bag. Invite students to pull one item out of the bag at a time and try to infer who your bag represents.
- Show students the list of related BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. topics you’ve selected and invite students to select one person to research. Present the project guidelines and go over the assessment criteria.
- Allow students to watch the BrainPOP or BrainPOP Jr. movie about their selected historical figure and explore the related movie resources. As they look around the topic page, they should record possible items they could use for their “Who Am I?” bags.
- Give students time in class to create their bags, or allow them to work on their bags at home.
- Once the bags are completed, divide the class in half. Station half the class at different places in the room with their bags. Rotate the other half of the class through the stations so that they have a chance to pull the clues out of each bag and guess who the bag represents. You may wish to set a timer for this activity and teach students to automatically move to the next station when the timer goes off. Then have the two halves of the class switch roles.
- Have students self-reflect on the activity and their work. Which clues would they present differently next time? Would they make their clues more or less difficult, and why? What did they learn through this activity?
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