Media and Communications
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Homework/Assignment, Media Object, Unit of Study
High School
  • Lesson Plan
  • filmmaking
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Teach me! Creating Educational Films

    Teach me! Creating Educational Films


    For this project, Students will be asked to instruct, inform, or teach others about a topic by making an instructional video.  



    AUTHOR: Kelly Thomas -
    GRADE LEVEL: 9- 12
    SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate

    There is power in sharing our knowledge, understanding, and abilities with others. The instructional (or educational ) film has been used in many forms throughout the 20th century and on into today. For this project, Students will be asked to instruct, inform, or teach others about a topic by making an instructional video.  

    TIME FRAME: (5 - 10) 60 minute seesions (based on teacher preference & complexity of project)

    FORMAT: Synchronous, Face-to-Face or Virtual

    Image Credit:

    "Clapperboard" by Larissa Mancia is in the Public Domain, CC0



    Background for Teachers


    To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of:








    Audience/target audience
    B- Roll Footage
    Coronet Instructional Media Inc
    Rough Cut
    Educational Film
    Shot List
    Voice Over Narration
    Instructional Film



    Brame, C.J. (2015). Effective educational videos. Retrieved [todaysdate] from

    Cersosimo, Mark.  Making a film? Here’s why you need a shot list (plus a free template!). Vimeo. September 30, 2021. DOA: 4/13/23.

    Corinne Dorsey. How to make great instructional videos. VIMEO. February 1, 2021. DOA: 4/13/23.

    McKay, Brett & Kate.  Vintage Instructional Films Worth Watching. Art of Manliness. January 28, 2013 • Last updated: May 30, 2021.

    STUDIOBINDER. Formatting a Screenplay: How to Put Your Story Into Screenplay Format. AUGUST 5, 2021

    Trempe, Frannie. Added: Edison touts educational films in The New York Times

    “Edison on Educationals.” The New York Times, February 9, 1919. p. 47

    Ford Educational Weekly. “Americanization--The Teacher’s New Task,” December 1920. Media History Digital Library: Lantern.

    The Library of Congress. THE MOVING IMAGE GENRE-FORM GUIDE. Moving Image Genre list. Moving Image Research Center NATIONAL AUDIO -VISUAL CONSERVATION CENTER.

    TV TROPES. Instructional Film.



    Resource Pack 

    Camera or Phone with Camera

    Computers (one per student or one per group) with video editing software (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker) and printing capability

    Tripods for video cameras (recommended)

    LCD projector or document projector





    Effortless Screenwriting

    Plan, write, and share with the industry-standard software used by over 1 million screenwriters, TV shows, and blockbusters.



    With iMovie, it’s never been easier to create memorable, cinema-quality videos and let your imagination run wild. Edit videos on the fly or explore iMovie on your Mac. Design your masterpiece from scratch or get help shaping your story with the new Magic Movie and Storyboards on iPhone or iPad.


    Adobe Express

    Using Adobe Express as an explainer video maker allows you to create online presentations that stand out from the competition. Thanks to a selection of customization options, your explainer videos will be as unique as they are engaging. Easily add photos, video clips, icons, or voice to your own explainer videos. Make as many changes as you wish to text, layout, images, and music until you’re satisfied.



    You don’t need a background in video production to create fantastic explainer videos. All you need is a topic and some willingness to get creative—the rest, you can leave to Canva.

    Our team of motion designers created a collection of video templates to jump-start your project. Simply pick a template that’s closest to your vision, then use Canva’s drag-and-drop video editor to swap footage, add audio and text, change colors, and more. With a few clicks, you can tweak everything and create an explainer video fit for your brand or project.





    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes


    Students will be able to discuss the educational and instructional film genre to include parts of its’ history through its’ modern day applications and uses. 

    Students will be able to define the various purposes and benefits of instructional videos.

    Students will be able to model their understanding of the pre production process to include: identifying a target audience, planning instruction with purpose, and proposing the sharing of their instructional films with intended audiences.

    Students will be able to utilize their understanding of the pre production planning process to create a screenplay, storyboard, and shot list for their film. 

    Students will be able to successfully produce, save, and import film footage, using a camera or phone in landscape mode, to a film editing app of their choice.

    Students will use cinematic techniques in the production of film footage for an original film.

    Students will demonstrate effective filmmaking audio techniques by recording narration, incorporating the proper use of voice over in their film, and sourcing appropriate sounds from various sources to be used supplementally.

    Students will be able to edit their film footage using the various editing techniques learned in class to include: cutting, trimming, scoring, adding audio, title cards, end credits and externally sourced images, and adding transitions.


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    The following are leading questions for the unit and are covered in the Unit Plan Instruction:

    What defines the Educational Film Genre? What types are there? How are they beneficial? What is the history of the genre?
    What films do I watch w/in this genre? What information do I want to share with others? Who is my intended audience? Why is this information beneficial for my audience?
    How will I share the information? Will it be parodied or serious? What length do I want it to be? How will an outline help me plan? 
    What is a screenplay? How can I write for film? 
    What is a Storyboard? What is a Shot List
    What is the Production Process?
    How do I import film into my editing app? How do I edit footage? How do I add transitions? How do I add title cards and end credits?
    How do I score my footage? How do I add voice over? How do I add other sounds and music to my project?
    How do I export my film for sharing? Where can I share my film?
    What did I do well? What do I still have questions about? What challenges did I face? 

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    DAY 1:

    1. Have the students begin to fill out WORKSHEET 1 in the Resource Pack. When you get to watching the films, SHOW the educational films from the “olden days”. Have students take notes throughout. 

    2. Watch the following Educational Films: You may choose to watch all or just clips, etc.

    The Pottery Maker 1926

    Snap Out of It - 1951

    Why Study Home Economics - 1955

    Donal in Mathmagic Land - 1961 


    1. POST VIEWING DISCUSSION: Ask students what the videos had in common and how they differed. After the discussion, ask students if they know what this type of video is called.Explain that the videos they watched are called Educational or Instructional Films. 

    2. LECTURE: Using the information FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS and other sources, allow students to take notes about the definition and types of Educational Films.



    Largely nontheatrical work intended for teaching and related informational purposes. Educational work includes classroom films and videos, historical recreations and dramatizations primarily intended to educate rather than entertain, and video or television broadcasting courses; they may be sponsored as well. Historically prolific producers of educational films include Eastman Kodak, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Coronet, and PBS.

    Note: Not necessary to also use Documentary, since that is implied by the term Educational.

    Related terms: Educational, Industrial, Instructional, Social guidance, and Training.


    1. LECTURE: Go over the various types of educational/instructional films:

    Explainer, Tutorial / How-To, Instructional, Documentary


    DAY 2

    1. Have the students begin Worksheet 2 and stop after the PROBLEM chart. 

    2. Discuss their responses and learn about what they know and don’t know about the modern medium. As well, discuss how “not liking something” is an invitation to make it likable!

    3. Have students fill out the rest of WORKSHEET 2. 

    4. If time allows, have students begin the RESEARCHING worksheet.


    DAY 3

    1. BELLWORK: Have students read: Edison touts educational films in The New York Times.

    DISCUSS with the students what they think. 

    1. Have students work on their FILM OUTLINE. 

    2. As well, you can take some time to go over a simple outline structure. Remind students to keep it simple and only note the major points. 


    DAY 4

    1. Show students the EXEMPLAR FILM. 


    1. Have a discussion about how it is considered an Educational Film even though it is a parody. 

    2. Discuss the structure and how it compares to their outlines from the previous day. 



    DAY 5 - 6 (Possibly 7)

    1. Have students either read on their own or follow along (you can project it)

      1. Formatting a Screenplay: How to Put Your Story Into Screenplay Format 


    1. Students should use their planning information to write their screenplay. In the course pack I suggest using WRITERDUET. You may alter and amend to use whatever applications or software you wish! 


    DAY 7

    1. Have students look at the EXEMPLAR STORYBOARD found in the RESOURCE PACK. 

    2. Discuss if the film did or did not follow the STORYBOARD.

    3. Have students work on their STORYBOARD & SHOT LIST

    DAY 8, 9, 10

    1. Students should begin and complete filming. 

    2. They should be utilizing CINEMATIC TECHNIQUES to include Framing, Angles, Camera Movement, Lighting, and Audio. 

    3. As they complete various shots and sequences, they should upload their footage into their google drive with the footage labeled to match the shot list. 


    Day 11-12

    1. Go over editing techniques to include: Cuts, Fades, Dissolves, Transitions, Voice Over, and Text/Code. 

    2. Most students will have already found an app or program that they like to use to edit films but I offer a tutorial on IMovie because it’s pretty user friendly. Feel free to adapt this to whichever program you like. 

    3. Students should edit their films. They can add music, scoring, and voice over at this point. 

    *I like to demonstrate how to add sound effects, music, and voice over during this portion of the editing process. I show them how to use the provided audio in IMovie and I show them where to access free sounds using PEXELS, PIXABY, and BENSOUND. I suggest that when they use a sound clip, they immediately make a reference citation for it to be used in the end credits. 

    DAY 13

    1. Students can be given the class period to finalize any edits they need to make. 

    2. Towards the end of the class period, Students will export their finished films and turn them into their google drive folder. If you have an alternate submission site, feel free to use whatever you like. 

    DAY 14

    1. Have them complete the following in their Journals:

    What went well with this project?

    What challenges did I face in the project?

    What would I do next time if I did this project again?

    1. Discuss their reflections and share films with the class. 


    This unit can be altered and amended to fit the needs of your students. There are a lot of resources on Educational Films from the post WW2 era and I have listed the resources below. To be honest, this unit can span a much longer time period or follow the shorter one I provided. You may wish to delve deeper into the history of the Coronet films or you may find that your students are well versed in editing already and that portion may go much more quickly. You will ultimately know what will suit your students' needs! 

    As for sharing, I usually create a few class periods of time to watch and celebrate the films. We have popcorn and candy and really celebrate each film! 



    Step 4 - Assessments