Learning List recently reviewed BrainPOP’s core content resources (i.e., science, social studies, mathematics, and English language arts) for grades K-8. BrainPOP is a supplemental program that supports instruction in the core content areas as well as technology, arts and music, and health. Resources are available online and include some printable materials (e.g., worksheets). Instruction uses engaging videos and interactive concept maps to address content.
BrainPOP organizes content in “Topics” that address a range of subject-area concepts (e.g., atoms, citizenship, writing skills). Topics include a short movie in which an animated characters named Annie (grades K-3) and Tim (grades 4-8) and their robot friend Moby explore a question (e.g., How do tornadoes form?). Movies provide background information, explore and illustrate key concepts (e.g., updrafts), and introduce and define new vocabulary.
After the movie, students can “Make a Map” and/or take a short quiz over content. Make a Map allows students to create a concept map using a set of premade map templates, such as compare and contrast, vocabulary, cyclical relationships, and problem/solution analysis. Tools also allow students to create entirely new concept maps. The quiz is a five-question multiple-choice check for understanding.
Other resources include content-related games, an “FYI” feature, and additional activities related to the video. FYI is a set of 5-paragraph, illustrated, informational articles and a related comic that extend students’ learning. For example, the FYI for a social studies topic addressing the California Gold Rush includes articles about traveling to California Trail and the Donner Party, John Sutter, and a comic addressing gold prices.
BrainPOP was founded in 1999 by Avraham Kadar, M.D., an immunologist and pediatrician, as a creative way to explain difficult concepts to his young patients. Today, BrainPOP is used in 25 percent of U.S. elementary and middle schools, with rapid international growth. An in-house team of educators, animators, and writers produce and continually improve BrainPOP, incorporating valuable teacher and parent input.
*Information in this section is provided by or adapted from BrainPOP.