Eat well, be well, learn well!

Healthy Eating with BrainPOP

You don't need me to tell you that eating healthily brings positive results.

Getting kids able to identify healthy foods, make good choices, and build healthy eating habits at a young age is vital to their food attitude later in life.

But "healthy" doesn't just mean "Eat your greens!".

(though this helps)

It's also about salt and sugar, understanding food additives, different food groups, and portion sizes.

Healthy Eating lesson ideas

Take a look at our Healthy Eating topic in BrainPOP Jr. that joins Annie and Moby at school lunch break.

It covers all the basics of food choice, nutrients, junk food, and how the right food choices and a balanced diet positively effect your body and mood.

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It also links to a great lesson idea called 'Balanced Diet Lesson Plan: Chef Solus’ Build-a-Meal Game'.

Food Groups

If you wanted your class to dig a little deeper into the science of food then hop over to our Food Groups topic.

A great game to play from this topic page is the 'Food groups Spinner'.

Project the spinner up on your white board and invite pupils to come to the front and press the 'Spin' button.

Whichever food group the spinner lands on ask the class to suggest foods that fit into that group. It also comes with a food groups worksheet if you'd like to have them write their answers down.

You could also build your own spinner that adds a 'Junk food' category and ask pupils to say what foods they know (or eat!) that could be junk food!


    STEM in your garden

    STEM resources for the garden

    Summer's here! The sun is out (probably) and gardens are blossoming into their very best.

    But did you know how much science is happening in your garden? Whether you have a window box or a hundred acres, let's take a STEM look at what's going on in your very own ecosystem...

    Plant life

    • Seed Plants and Seedless plants are what makes your garden beautiful and green. Compare and contrast these two types of plants, how they reproduce, and learn key vocabulary such as 'spore', 'angiosperm' and 'vascular'.
    • Fungi - Explore the diverse Fungi kingdom, and discover the unique characteristics that set the 1.5 million species of mold, yeast, and mushrooms apart from all other organisms. Learn how fungi grow, feed, and reproduce, and what they look like when they’re above ground. And explore the many roles fungi play in the ecosystems around us--in our soil, in our kitchens, and even in our bodies.
    • Carnivorous plants - we mustn't forget plants we grow in greenhouses and windowsills! Learn where these meat-eating marvels live, and how their habitats have shaped their special diets, and the difference between passive and active trapping techniques.
    • Soil (BrainPOP Jr.) - What's in all the different layers of soil? What does it provide to your garden, its plants, and insects?
    • Parts of Plant (BrainPOP Jr) - Learn about all the components of a plant from roots to petals.

    Minibeasts and creepy crawlies

    • Ants - Our characters, Tim and Moby, introduce your class to the intricate world of ants. Find out about the other insects ants are related to, learn the parts of an ant’s body, discover the different jobs that ants can do, and which members of the ant colony live the longest and shortest.
    • Honey Bees - Discover what makes a honeybee different from other bees and what their body structure is like. You’ll also learn about the three different categories of honeybee — worker, queen, and drone — as well as how these creatures work together to keep their hives bustling all year long.
    • Spiders - Learn about spiders’ body parts, their silk, and spider venom and poison. Maybe spiders won’t seem so scary once you learn about all the good things they do for your house and garden!
    • Butterflies (BrainPOP Jr) - Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.


      • Fibonacci sequence - Explore the beauty of maths by discovering how this fascinating concept occurs in nature. Probably even in your garden - try growing a sunflower!
      • Flower Power - In this learning game, students must use their knowledge of fractions and decimals to make as much money as possible through growing and harvesting valuable and exotic flowers.

      The science around your garden

      • Photosynthesis - Learn what makes plants green, how plants make their own food, and what an important role the sun plays in photosynthesis.
      • Metamorphosis - Learn which creatures go through different kinds of metamorphoses, plus the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis.
      • Pollination - Find out how flowers reproduce by pollination and fertilization as you discover why lots of new flowers can pop up from just a few seeds. See how new seeds form, how pollen can travel, and how to identify the reproductive parts of a plant.
      • Plant growth - learn why flowers grow on apple trees, and how plants reproduce through pollination. Find out the parts of a flower and what each part does, as well as how insects help in the reproduction process.

      Please note some of these resources require a username and password to access. If you are not a subscriber then please request a free trial.


      Here we go! World cup resources on BrainPOP

      Football resources on BrainPOP
      "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." - Bill Shankly

      Whether you call it 'soccer' or 'football' it's a game that's played in all corners of the planet, by old and young.

      We're certainly looking forward to seeing England get to the quarter finals before crashing out in a penalty shoot out.

      But before you get swept up in the madness of football's greatest spectacle why not explore the great game in all its glory?

      Social Studies  >  Culture  >  World Cup

      Join Nat, Moby, and the gang watching a World Cup match, and explore the highlights of this international football tournament.

      You’ll learn how the tournament works, famous moments of World Cup history (such as Maradona’s “Hand of God”) and which country has won the most world cups!

      Once you’ve watched the movie take our 10 question interactive multiple choice quiz about the World Cup. Do you know enough to take you to the final or will you fall apart in the first round?

      Social Studies  >  Culture  > Soccer

      The beautiful game! A game of two halves! Sick as a parrot!

      At the end of day you don’t want your lack of football knowledge to send you off for an early bath. Learn the basic facts that all football fans should know, from the size of the field, to the number of players on each team, to the names of the different positions. We even tackle the offside rule. There’s also a great set of football activities and graphic organisers to help students get to grips with what constitutes a foul. Oi, ref!

      Social Studies  >  Famous Historical Figures  >  Pelé

      Ever heard of Edison Arantes do Nascimento? No? What about Pelé? Thought so! That’s Pelé’s birth name.

      Considered by pretty much everyone as the greatest footballer who ever lived, explore Pelé’s incredible career from humble beginnings as a talented kid from a poor family to member of the Brazilian national team. Pelé is now the game’s most famous ambassador! Don’t forget to check out our interesting facts and figures about Pele to go in depth into the history and achievements of this great sportsman.

      Extra (time) ideas

      Make a Map World Cup chart

      Why not encourage your most football fanatic fans to use Make a Map to plot the progress of their team as they (hopefully) make their way through the tournament? It's a great opportunity to practice building a concept map and a structured flow diagram!

      Meaning of Beep - Soccer

      Use context clues to uncover unknown words in this fun single or multi player learning game. Great to expand vocabulary.

      Not used BrainPOP before? Why not...


      Explore a topic - Volcanoes

      Volcanoes on BrainPOP

      Kilauea on the island of Hawaii is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It recently explosively erupted, creating an ash plume that can be seen from the International Space Station.

      It's Mother Nature at her most destructive, but also her most creative as you'll see in our Volcano topic on BrainPOP and Fast Land Changes topic on BrainPOP Jr.

      Let's take a look at BrainPOP Jr. (ages 5-9)

      In this topic pupils can watch a short animated movie that answers these questions:

      • What is an earthquake?

      • What is a volcano?

      • What is a flood?

      • What is a wildfire?

      Annie discusses the effects and consequences of natural disasters, but also reflects on the idea that they can refresh the environment, like Volcanoes bringing rich soil, which is good for growing crops.

      There's an easy and hard quiz to provide assessment, and a great writing stimulus called 'How can volcanoes change land?'.

      Volcano writing assignment - BrainPOP Jr

      Now let's focus on Volcanoes on BrainPOP (ages 9+)

      Volcanoes on BrainPOP

      The 5 minute animated movie about volcanoes explores tectonic plates, how volcanoes are formed, where they appear, and how they contribute to the planet's ecosystem.

      More volcano resources

      1) Time Zone X 'Volcanoes'- A fantastic time line game where students place historical volcano related facts on a timeline.

      2) A Cause and Effect graphic organiser, where students are asked to describe a natural disaster and it effect on the environment.

      3) A creative coding project where your class can create a stop motion animation about volcanoes.

      4) A Newsela article about scientists planning an explosive study of Mount St Helens (they're literally going to be setting off explosions).

      And much more on the topic page.

      If you're a BrainPOP or BrainPOP Jr. subscriber just log in and get learning.

      If you aren't a BrainPOP school yet, what are you waiting for? Request a free trial and check out our explosive Volcano resources!


      Assignment builder

      Assignments Moby

      For many years teachers used to ask us "How do I know when a student has watched a movie on BrainPOP?"

      Not any more! BrainPOP's assignment feature is blended throughout BrainPOP, allowing teachers to assign almost anything in BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.


      Students get notified of the assignment when they login, their interaction with the resource gets captured, and they can keep a personal eye on their assignments feed.

      I can see your brain working through the possibilities from here :-)

      Want to direct a class to watch a specific movie in preparation for tomorrow's lesson and know who has and hasn't seen it? BOOM! Assign the movie to the whole class.

      Want to assess a particular set of students on their understanding of a topic? ZAP! Assign the Challenge feature to specific students from your class.

      Want to target a student with some remediation work before a test? KAPOW! Create a personalised quiz using the Quiz Mixer and assign it just to them.

      Want to create a mini project for your class to demonstrate their understanding? BAM! Build an multi part assignment, adding a movie, then the quiz, then the Make a Map tool.

      Assignment builder.jpg

      It's super easy. You can also...

      • Schedule assignments using the “schedule for later” option and then select the date you want students to see the assignment
      • Add resources from both BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. into one assigment (only available to customers that have both products)
      • Add multiple classes to an assignment. Just click the + symbol next to the class drop down menu

      How to assign something in BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr.

      Assign buttons
      1. Simply log in to your individual account and navigate to the feature you’d like students to work on.
      2. Click the ASSIGN button, then choose a class and optional due date.
      3. To see the list of everything you’ve assigned, or to edit your assignments, click on the ASSIGNMENTS button at the top of your screen.
      Assign a resource in BrainPOP

      How students manage their assignments

      Students log in to their own accounts, where they will see Moby pop up and advise them they have a new assignment.

      Clicking on MY BRAINPOP at the top of the page will show them all the assignments they’ve received thus far or any that are overdue #embarrasedmoby

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      Try it out today. It could revolutionise the way you use BrainPOP.


      Inspirational women on BrainPOP

      Womens Suffrage.png

      Today is International Women's Day 2018, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

      There are many topics in BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. that feature women who through their work, ideals, and actions have changed the world in so many different ways.

      I wanted to share a selection from across the curriculum, and highlight their inspirational stories.

      Start your journey with our topics 'Women's Suffrage' and 'Feminism', both good top level subjects that open up discussion about the historical journey of women's rights.

      Social Studies, Activism, and Politics

      Wangari Maathai

      Be motivated by three very different female activists who progressed their causes in the face of great adversity and risk.

      • Rosa Parks, an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, and "the first lady of civil rights".
      • Helen Keller, the first deaf and blind person to ever graduate from college, and how she became a living symbol of the human spirit’s triumph over adversity.
      • Wangari Maathai, who used her knowledge as a trained botanist and her passion for women’s rights and environmental conservation to effect positive change in Kenya.

      Women in power

      Queen Elizabeth 1.png

      Begin with story of the last queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, whose downfall led directly to the establishment of the Roman Empire.

      Then introduce your students to Queen Elizabeth I, the storied queen of 16th Century renaissance England, before learning about her contemporary, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest serving monarch.

      Maths, Science, and Technology

      Sally Ride.png

      Historically women have been poorly represented in STEM, but that started to change in the 19th century, notably with the achievements of the world’s first computer programmers, Ada Lovelace.

      You must meet Marie Curie, one of the great minds of the chemistry world, and then explore the work of Jane Goodall, the remarkable primatologist and anthropologist.

      And finally take a trip into space with Sally Ride, the world's first female astronaut. who broke the gender barrier for a new generation of space scientists.


      Reading Emily Dickinson

      Solve mysteries with Agatha Christie, one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century and the bestselling fiction writer of all time.

      For the poets among you discover the life of the celebrated poet Emily Dickinson and explore one of her groundbreaking poems. "A Bird came down the Walk".

      And don't forget Maya Angelou, brilliant poet, respected actor, devoted activist, beloved professor, and most well known for her best-selling memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

      The Arts and Media

      Frida Kahlo.png

      Journey to Mexico to learn about the life and art of Frida Kahlo, a master of self-portraits, before looking at the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and influential American artists Georgia O'Keefe.

      Finally, are you ready for an audience with the queen of a media empire, Oprah Winfrey?

      Inspirational young women


      I couldn't finish this post without spotlighting some amazing girls and young women who made their mark on the world. Like Anne Frank, the famous diarist who's words survived to tell her tragic story.

      Your heart will swell with pride at Ruby Bridges' (BrainPOP Jr.) story of determination to get the best education she could in a segregated America.

      Every young person should listen to Malala's astonishing story of her fight for a better education, and how she became youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.



      This BrainPOP Jr. movie made me cry

      Ruby Bridges.jpg

      There's a million and one ways to teach algebra, or punctuation, or how a star is formed.

      But how do you teach bravery?

      How do you encourage your children to have the courage of their convictions?

      Who understand that making the harder choice is sometimes the only choice that makes sense?

      One way is to seek inspiration in others, to look to their example and learn from the path they took, often in the face of great adversity.

      Have your children met Ruby Bridges?

      Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!
      — Ruby Bridges

      Following the end of school segregation in America in 1954, 6 year old Ruby passed a test enabling her to attend a better all-white school in New Orleans, closer to home.

      In doing so, she became the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in America.

      Her journey was hard and fraught.

      Famously, Ruby had to be escorted into William Frantz Elementary School by policemen. But she stayed calm and composed.

      No one would speak to her, or teach her, for a whole year.

      In fact, other parents started taking their children out of school in protest.

      But she persevered.

      A teacher, Mrs. Henry, stuck by Ruby and taught her. Other people also believed in Ruby and neighbours and community members helped the Bridges family and protected them from angry protestors.

      Ruby went to school every day and over time the school welcomed more children from different backgrounds.

      She went on to become a civil rights hero who stood up for her rights and encouraged black students all over the country to do the same.

      Ruby Bridges 2.jpg

      This topic sensitively explains concepts like segregation, racism, and activism in a way that's suitable for young children. As an educator you should use Annie's notepad prompts to encourage questions and develop understanding of these grown up terms.

      But also don't forget that at the heart of this topic was a real 6 year old girl, in a smart dress and clutching her school bag, tiny in comparison to the adults around her, who persisted.

      Even when the world seemed to determined to get her to stop.

      And she didn't. She kept going to school. She believed she had to the right to the best education she could get.

      Can you imagine the courage that took?

      All children could stand to be a little more Ruby.

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      BrainPOP and Blooms Taxonomy

      BrainPOP and Blooms taxonomy blog graphic.jpg

      As an educator you're almost certainly familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy.

      Holly Spangler, a BrainPOP CBE, explains why BrainPOP fits Bloom's so well in her in depth blog post she wrote for our Educator's support site:

      Bloom’s Taxonomy...offers a framework for teachers to structure and understand the learning process. BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr., with their wonderfully informative animated movies and accompanying quizzes, games and activities, provide the perfect match to help teachers structure and differentiate their lessons within the framework of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Teachers may differentiate the content they teach by designing activities for groups of students that cover the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.
      — Holy Spangler, BrainPOP Meets Bloom’s Taxonomy

      When we design our tools and features we align them with with 3 objectives, based on Bloom's taxonomy - Discover, Play, Create.

      Whether you are experienced with BrainPOP or are just getting to know our resources you'll see there's a multitude of options on each topic.

      Here's a visual breakdown of the various pasts of a topic page and how they fit into the discover, play, create model.


      Discover (Understand, Remember)

      Students start to learn and understand more about a curriculum topic, recalling important facts from the movies and quizzes (don't forget you can create your own differentiated quizzes using the Quiz Mixer), and matching important concepts to their proper descriptions using the Activity pages.


      Play (Analyse, Apply)

      BrainPOP comes with a range of educational games and simulations that give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and demonstrate their understanding.


      Create (Evaluate, Create)

      In this phase students can use tools like Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, and Creative Coding to make and display connections between previous knowledge and new information.


      Make a meme! Can you use coding to assess content knowledge?

      BrainPOP coding to learn about the circulatory system.png

      So I made my first video meme today. And learned about the circulatory system while doing it.

      By any standards it was about the worst meme ever made (check it out below), but I had so many moments of learning during the process that I'm kind of proud of it.

      Welcome to 'Creative Coding' on!

      Developed with our partner Vidcode, Creative Coding invites students to show what they know about a topic through a variety of coding projects.

      It enables students with little or no coding experience to succeed, while those with coding background can take their work to more sophisticated levels.

      There are currently 4 different coding projects across 20 different topics available for free on BrainPOP - Meme, Doodle Augmented Reality, Stop Motion Animation, and Newscast.

      Each project takes the learner on a journey through coding, but in the context of a curriculum subject.

      There will be around 15-20 steps in the instruction panel in the project, and each line of code you add/edit will be reflected in the 'live' view. Take a look at the interface in this walk-through to see what I mean.

      In Meme projects, students use JavaScript to embellish a short video with graphics and text. Students will discover that JavaScript is made up of objects that have properties and methods. They will:

      • Program in JavaScript
      • Apply knowledge of JavaScript objects
      • Customise objects by changing their properties
      • Position their memes using the coordinate plane (x-y grid)
      • Apply their knowledge of a BrainPOP topic

      Circulatory System Meme Coding Project

      My code

      In my video meme I picked the video clip 'moby checking pulse' from the movie 'Circulatory systems' (rows 1-2).

      Then I overlaid a 'heart' graphic (rows 4-8), followed by the words 'Moby makes my' (rows 10-15) and 'heart beat faster' (rows 17-22).

      I positioned each element, changed colours/sizes, and made the heart a little transparent.

      All through a coding language of which I had 0% knowledge.

      Moby heart rate meme.gif

      I tried different things, and failed sometimes, but fixed my mistakes which felt great. There was some guess work on how to position things and how colours and transparencies would look.

      But I never felt overwhelmed, nor less than curious about each step.

      And I made something with code (go me!) and saved it to my projects folder. So as I get better at coding I can come back and improve my meme.

      The value of aligning coding with content learning cannot be underestimated. As a teacher you can assess student subject knowledge, encourage creativity, and support student choice.

      Before (and during) coding sessions, ask your students to conduct research using the various materials on BrainPOP and elsewhere, create a storyboard (in Make a Map perhaps?), and work collaboratively with their friends.

      What are you waiting for? You could make the next hit meme!


      Using educational games to build research skills

      Using educational games to build research skills

      Games provide an excellent opportunity to use knowledge and practice skills until you're confident with them.

      A game provides a welcome break between chunks of more traditional classroom activities, injects a bit of fun, and provides a safe, low stakes environment to practice the research skills they've been learning.

      1. Because of the way games work you can be sure students are getting correct feedback and information. Get it wrong and they won't be able to progress further in the game.
      2. 'Points of faliure' gives ample opportunity for students to pause and seek help (which they may not have realised they didn't fully understand) as well as keeping more advanced students busy while they progress through harder levels.

      Let's look at three games on BrainPOP that students can use to develop stronger research skills.

      Search Shark

      Search Shark is a great way for students to practice their search skills and develop their keyword strategies outside of the pressure of a real project.

      In this game students learn how to choose effective keywords for searching online. They practice selecting keywords that are most relevant to a search prompt. Along the way, students discover hints for narrowing their search results.

      Because student get instant feedback on whether their choices are correct this ensures that they both aren't distracted by thousands of unhelpful results and they don't become frustrated by not being able to work out why they haven't succeeded.

      Sports Network 2

      In the Sports Network 2 is an educational game where students take on the role of the Managing Director of a Sports Network that wants to appeal to the teen demographic.

      Each quest is meant to represent “a day at work”. Students are continually presented with problems they must solve and choices they must make in order to arrive at their goals.

      This is a useful game for general reading skills practice as well as practice finding and inferring the main idea of a text selection.

      This game also gives students an opportunity to apply their reading skills to a real-world context and to career-related scenarios.

      After The Storm: Day One

      The After The Storm: Day One game provides opportunities to practice research, reading, and writing skills within a real-world context.

      Through game play, students take on the role of a news magazine editor-in-chief, and must research facts through a variety of informational texts (such as press releases, email, and text massages) and then edit stories and coordinate social media to disseminate information to the community about a major hurricane.

      After the Storm helps students learn about writing, editing, the importance of the main idea in a text, and balancing big-picture needs with the crucial details of putting together a news magazine.