×

Fill out the brief form below for access to the free report.

Marvel Movies Lesson Plans

Bush Institute's Eva Chiang, a mom and former educator, created Marvel "lesson" plans to help keep her children engaged and entertained in the afternoon hours.

Article by Eva Myrick Chiang April 9, 2020 //   11 minute read

Jump to individual lesson plan per movie:

As my children and I have settled into our work from home and schooling routine, I have noticed that 3 p.m to 5 p.m. are when my sons are most restless. Like many parents, the TV helps us get through the late afternoon. 

I am excusing myself from "mom guilt" during these unsettling times. While I know that limited screen time should still be practiced, movies can be a great source of content knowledge. 

To make TV time educational, my sons are watching the Marvel movies in order and working through some “lesson” plans. I picked Marvel movies because my two elementary age sons love them, there are so many of them, and most of them can be streamed on Disney+ or Amazon. 

Here are my tips for planning and executing your own appropriate "lesson" plan for your children's interest and age level: 

  • Don't spend more than 15 minutes creating your plan. This time block gets me two solid afternoons of entertainment.
  • Use Google. Simple search terms like, “Lesson Plans for Iron Man” will bring up a wealth of free resources.  
  • Find activities that can be repeated or stretched across movies. For example, I have my sons working on engineering projects after each Iron Man movie. There are many sites with great ideas. 
  • You know your kids best, so adapt this plan to meet their needs i.e. shorter length cartoons, or you may have to watch the movie with them while answering a few emails. Be adaptable and at a minimum ask comprehension questions which help build reading skills and content knowledge. Use websites to find different questioning strategies. 
  • Remember the main goal is to keep your kids safe and happy. This is a time my kids look forward to each day. They get a small snack like popcorn or even “movie candy” like a small cup of M&M’s. While they occasionally grumble about an activity or two, we try to keep this a positive and upbeat time of day. 
  • Each afternoon, one adult will spend time doing a few activities before the movie begins. We want to keep this entertaining, so if my kids aren’t feeling a particular activity we drop it. But we do at least one thing prior to the movie starting. 
  • Once the activity is complete, we start the movie and let my sons watch about half– giving us 45 minutes to an hour of uninterrupted work time. 
  • The next day we start the second half of the movie. Whichever adult is available helps with the activities after the movie.


Complete the below at your child's pace. Consider having your child complete a summary for each movie that they can turn into a packer or presentation for a series of movies.  

  • Provide an overview of the completed movie by using Google slides project, or an illustration or a journal could include details like the following:
    • A cover page with the name of the project/movie, their name, and the start date
    • Some sort of photo or graphic 
    • Who the main character is
    • What problem the main character is trying to solve 
    • How they solved it 
    • Where the movie was set 
    • Anything else they want to add 



Captain America: The First Avenger
(takes place during World War II)

Learning Goals

  • Have some exposure to World War II and be able to say at least one thing about it 
  • Practice graphing on an X, Y axis 
  • Discuss and practice analyzing the “setting” of a story 

Activities 

  • Before watching this movie, have kids watch this Crash Course History You Tube video 
  • Don't be afraid to pause the movie and discuss any questions the kids may have. Make sure they understand what they are watching.
  • Let them know that Captain America is set during World War II, so they may notice mentions about that war. Let them know that after the movie, you’ll be asking questions about the setting.
  • Before you start the movie, tell them they are going to work on a graphing project during the movie. Give them a piece of graph paper and these coordinates, and get them started.
    • Check on them as they go because if they get off on a coordinate, it won’t make sense
    • After they plot all the coordinates in one group, tell them to connect the dots before moving on to the next group.
    • Show them what they are trying to draw and have them color it when they are done
  • Ask your children questions about the setting and any ties to World War II they can make
  • Complete movie packet


Captain Marvel (set in 1995)

Learning goals 

    • Get outside and move!
    • Discuss and practice analyzing the “characters” in a story

ACTIVITIES

  • Tell the kids that Carol Danvers pushed herself by fighting bullies at school and running exhausting drills at boot camp. Have the kids then create their own boot camp.
    • Using materials from home, set up a boot camp in the backyard, playroom, or a safe spot in the house.
    • Have the children design a course and take turns running through it.  
  • Give each kid a  character analysis sheet to use during the movie. Go over it with them just before the movie starts. 
  • When the movie is over, go to this movie packet and have them work out Nick Fury’s coded message on page 13 on a separate sheet of paper. 
  • Before you begin the next movie, have the kids work on their movie packet 


Iron Man

Learning goals

    • Estimate length of objects
    • Learn some engineering skills and what engineers do

Activities

  • Before the movie, remind the children that Iron Man is an engineer. Have them watch this video and discuss what an engineer is.
  • Have the children write down any questions they have about engineering, stop through out the movie and prompt questions as well. When the movie is over, try answering the questions by asking an engineer you may know or having the children look up the answers.
  • Engineers have to have strong math skills. When Iron Man is a prisoner and builds weapons to escape, he doesn’t have very good tools. He has to do a lot of accurate estimating. Go around the house or outside and practice estimating objects together. Have them create a chart on paper that lists: Object name, estimated length, and actual length.
  • When the movie is over, they need to work together on their first EEME project. 
  • Here are other engineering projects you can do at home 
  • Before moving on to the next movie, complete the movie packet


Iron Man 2

Learning goals

  • Practice grade appropriate math facts 
  • Discuss and practice analyzing the “main idea and details” in a story
  • Learn some engineering skills

Activities

  • Before the movie, remind the boys of the plot from Iron Man 1. 
  • Engineers have to have strong math skills. Therefore, they need to practice their math with this activity. They must do the actual math before the movie starts, but can do the coloring during the movie.
  • Before the movie, review the main idea and details. They will use this sheet during or right after the movie to talk about main idea and details.
  • When the movie is over, they need to work together on their second EEME project.
  • Other engineering projects you can do at home
  • Before moving on to the next movie, complete the movie packet  
Discussion questions during/after the movie: 

In this movie, Tony Stark faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military.

  • Question: What would you do in this situation?

It is clear that Tony Stark has something that everyone else wants for different capacities. 

  • Question: Should Tony Stark keep his resources to himself or share? What are the pros and cons to each choice?


The Incredible Hulk 

Learning goals

  • Learn about controlling anger 
  • Discuss and practice analyzing plot maps  
  • Learn some engineering skills 

ACTIVITIES

  • Before the movie, remind the kids of the Hulk’s big problem: He can’t control his anger. 
  • Watch this short angry birds film and talk about controlling anger 
  • Before the movie, review main idea and detail. This sheet can be used during or right after the movie to talk about the main idea and details. 
  • When the movie is over, they need to work together on their third EEME project. 
  • Other engineering projects you can do at home
  • Before moving on to the next movie, complete the movie packet


Thor

Learning goals

  • Be introduced to Norse Mythology 
  • Discuss and practice analyzing setting
  • Do something creative 

Activities

  • Before the movie, tell the boys that the story of Thor started way before Marvel made the movie. It is based on Norse Mythology. Watch this video before the movie to learn more. 
  • Use this Google Voyager Earth lesson to see details about Thor on the globe 
  • Compare and contrast the two major settings of this movie. Get a piece of paper, divide in half. On one half, draw one setting (Thor’s world) and the other draw the other setting (Earth). Have the boys compare/contrast. How did the landscape compare? What did people/warriors eat? Etc, etc. 
  • When the movie is over, the children need to work together on this online Thor word search 
  • Have the children make a hammer like Thor’s, see instructions here 
  • Before moving on to the next movie, complete the movie packet


The Avengers

Learning goals

  • Learn about Pablo Picasso and cubism 
  • Discuss and practice analyzing character
  • Do something creative

ACTIVITIES 

  • Before the movie, tell the children that they are going to learn about a famous artist and his style of art and after the movie they will get to practice this art. Use this lesson plan as inspiration.
  • Show the Pablo Picasso video before the movie, and talk about cubism. Tell them they need to choose one of the Avengers by the end of the movie to draw. 
  • After the movie, have the children choose an Avenger character. Show the pictures of cubism Avengers, and by using construction paper, the paint program on their computer, or chalk outside on the patio the children can draw their character.
  • When they are done, they need to write 5 character traits about their character in complete sentences (that start with a capital letter and end with punctuation). They can write them on the back of their paper, on the patio beside their drawing, in a Google doc etc. 
  • Before moving on to the next movie, complete the movie packet

Up Next:

COVID-19 + Cyber Crime on April 8, 2020