One small step for a Moby...

 

…one giant leap for learning!

The world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of humankind’s most awesome achievements: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins landing on the moon.

BrainPOPpers, as you may have noticed, are huge space nerds and we have a solar system’s worth of space resources from galaxies to asteroids to aliens.

But the Moon landings and Apollo missions are something special. That famous step seems epic and yet intimate. 530 million people watched, enraptured, at the time and it continues to fascinate us to this day.

But there’s a world of politics, history, and science that led to that step, and beyond, into space.

So we dug into BrainPOP’s topics to help you provide a broader context to the ‘space race’ and how (and why) America put three brave men onto another planet for the first time.

Apollo Project

Find out how it all happened in this BrainPOP movie, as Tim and Moby introduce you to NASA’s famous Apollo Project. Discover what--and who!--prompted the project, and learn why putting a person on the moon was so important. You’ll find out when the goal was achieved, and about the complicated spacecraft that got the men safely to the moon and back. You’ll also hear about a few missions that didn’t turn out so well, and discover why the program ended.

Cold War

To fully understand why we went to the Moon, it’s worth taking a look at the geopolitical landscape of the time. Find out how the Cold War led to a major U.S. political policy called containment; the building of the Berlin Wall in Germany; and the “space race,” which greatly advanced human presence in outer space.

John F. Kennedy (JFK)

 
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
— JFK, Houston on Sept. 12, 1962
 

John F. Kennedy, the President at the time, was the man who considered winning the space race as key to keeping the United States ahead of the Soviet Union. Learn about the ups and downs of his presidency, from the disaster that was the Bay of Pigs invasion, to his strategic triumph over the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Moon

Of course, knowing about the destination might help! Discover what’s on the surface of the moon and learn more about the various historic missions to the moon.

Space Flight

Explore the history and future of space flight! Get a brief lesson on the physical forces that send spacecraft zooming into space and learn some of the main concepts of rocketry, including the all-important force called thrust.

 

Self paced learning and BrainPOP

 
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Some children race ahead of others to complete a task.

Some take more time, perhaps pursuing a more thoughtful route through an activity.

Some children need to review content more than once in order to learn it most effectively.

So instead of forcing students to learn in lockstep with one another, a self paced learning approach can provide an opportunity to proceed at a rhythm that maximises their learning, improves retention, and encourages ownership of their work.

So can BrainPOP be used for self paced learning?

BrainPOP is a safe space for students to work independently - no adverts, no social media, no messaging.

Students are free to explore related topics and activities, in pairs or at home with parents.

As a teacher you proscribe the direction or learning objective but you could let the students decide how many resources they need to work with or how much practice to give themselves.

 
BrainPOP videos are often the starting task within the content folder that my students are completing from week to week. I find the videos work well with the interactive games and activities my students must complete. I admit, I love hearing the whisper of, “OHHH, a BrainPOP video,” as they open their content folders. I notice my students watch the videos each day as they begin their required tasks, and return to them often as they acquire those skills and concepts.
— Angela Kiser - Self-paced Learning with BrainPOP
 

Ways to use BrainPOP to encourage self paced learning

Watch the BrainPOP movie more than once

In a learning environment like BrainPOP, students can easily review material more than once. The most typical example would be to watch a BrainPOP movie multiple times. Each watch through will reinforce learning and allow them to discover information they didn’t catch first time around.

Offer up half a dozen movies. Let students watch as many of those movies as they need, in the time frame. Some children will watch a couple of movies and move on to practice. But some will watch all six, and that’s OK too!

Multi part assignments

If you have an individual teacher account you can easily build custom assignments.

You make a lesson path that students need to follow and submit to back to you, perhaps for homework, your termly topic, or project based learning.

You could refrain from setting a due date to leave the lesson open ended, but a deadline is no bad thing. The student can finish any part of the assignment at any point as long as they submit by deadline.

TOP TIP: Run reports in your teacher dashboard to check who has and has not completed assignments.

Make your own quizzes to target child centered learning objectives

BrainPOP’s Quiz mixer allows teachers to build unique and personalised assessments that are targeted at the student's needs and understanding (or even language!). Quizzes can be banked and assigned as and when the student is ready.

Playful self paced learning!

Learning games are wonderful self paced activities where students can work in individually, in pairs or groups, to work through a game. Students can use the Snapthought button to capture their progress as a "diary" of their learning.

Long term self paced learning

Make a Map and Make a Movie are extension features that students can 'own' and build up over time, as their knowledge and understanding improves. Start the map/movie in week 1 and by week 6 it should be fleshed out and more detailed.

 

Take the stress out of test prep

 
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How can BrainPOP help with test preparation?

We all remember what it’s like to be nervous and overwhelmed by tests at school.

Here’s a set of useful BrainPOP topics for helping to get ready physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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Your revision notes will just be another source of stress unless you make sure that they’re well organised and clearly written.

Use our Note Taking movie to learn various time and space saving techniques for note-taking and how to take comprehensive notes in lessons.

Not only will improved note-taking skills help with the creation of useful revision notes they’ll also help facilitate better understanding within lessons and when trying to complete homework on the topic.

Setting goals

Revision is a lot like fitness if you do too much too quickly you can burn yourself out before you really get started and it can be difficult to set a steady pace and stick to it.

In our Setting Goals topic students learn how to break a big goal into smaller more attainable goals.

Not only does this help students work towards their goal at a realistic pace it also means that they can see their progress better which helps a lot with morale.

Concept mapping

Concept maps can be an invaluable tool for revision.

Not only are they useful to create as they help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge and see connections but they’re also a great way to create a very quick and easy way to read a huge amount of information. Take a look at our ‘Concept Mapping’ movie to learn more.

This topic covers revision techniques, what to do with the notes you’ve taken, why a revision group could be helpful.

Students learn why doing practice papers can be helpful and useful tips like explaining a concept to someone else to make sure you really understand it.

What do you do if you get stuck on a question?

How can you approach different types of question like multiple choice or essay questions? What can you do to make sure you don’t run out of time during the test? All this and more is answered in our Test taking skills movie.

Stress and anxiety can really throw students off their best performance and when it’s not something you’re used to it can be difficult to overcome.

Our ‘Stress’ topic explains what stress is and how it can affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally and covers various techniques students can use to help them keep their cool. While practice helps a lot sometimes it doesn’t matter how many dress rehearsals you have you still get a bit of stage-fright on opening night. Fear doesn’t have to be the mind-killer!

 

Explore a topic - Black holes

 
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Something astonishing has happened.

A network of Astronomers around the world have collaborated to take the first ever image of a black hole, an object with a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun.

Oh and it’s 55 million light-years from Earth.

It might not look like much at first glance, but gathering the data to produce this image took 2 years, eight radio telescopes in 7 countries, 200 scientists, and five petabytes of data on half a ton of hard drives.

It’s a historic scientific achievement and a perfect opportunity to explore Black Holes with your class.

Before watching the movie print out, or share online, the Black Holes KWL Chart graphic organiser, where children can complete the first two columns to show what they know already, and what they want to learn. The third column can be filled in after they’ve watched the movie.

In the animation about Black Holes your class will learn about the types of black holes, how each is formed, and how many black holes there are in our galaxy alone, and see why nothing, not even light, can escape their powerful grasp. But, most importantly, find out what black holes have to do with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and their affect on the fabric of space time.

When your class is ready to progress why not start a Make a Map, and ask your students to connect facts about Black Holes together - like light, gravity, and relativity.

I’m sure this fascinating collection of classroom resources to teach Black Holes will suck your class in, and lead to lots of fascinating discussions :-)

 

Taking a holistic approach to digital safety

 
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Schools are now required to ensure that ALL staff are actively involved in teaching students to use technology safely and responsibly.

But everything moves so quickly that it’s hard to keep up.

Seemingly every week a new app, trend, meme, or game makes an appearance and it’s back to the drawing board.

The media is awash with scary stories about grooming, cyber bullying, and threatening online activity.

This leaves teaching staff and parents feeling lost. How can they possibly keep up?

We believe that the best approach is holistic.

Teach technology and online combined with personal and social capability topics like peer pressure, conflict resolution, and media literacy.

The best approach is to model good behaviour, on or offline.

  • If a child understands and recognises peer pressure they should be able to manage it when they are in class, with friends, or on Snapchat.

  • If a child has a good understanding of ethics then they are better prepared to make healthy decisions in their online and offline lives.

  • If you’ve explained and explored conflict resolution then your students should be equipped to deal with bullying and disagreements, whether it’s on the internet or down the park with their mates.

Combining attitudinal and behavioral concepts with online safety instruction is a powerful recipe.

This is where BrainPOP might be your new best friend, providing on demand access to topic based resources like...

Explore BrainPOPs Internet Safety resources

So next time you sit down to plan your digital lessons consider blending it with social and emotional learning too to present a more rounded learning experience.

 

We've got a new 3D printer in school! Now what?

 
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Print your own Moby, of course!

Have you just (mic)dropped most your annual departmental budget on a new 3D printer?

Your mind is probably swimming with all the possible applications from engineering projects to STEM engagement to making your very own Egg Rescue Challenge.

But your class (and colleagues!) will likely have a bunch of questions.

  1. What can 3D printers print (and not print)?

  2. How does the technology work?

  3. And can we just get on and print a Moby already?

In this lesson plan, adapted from our Educators support site, students will learn what 3D printers are and sketch a useful object that they’d like to make with a 3D printer.

And print a little Moby figurine, with your fancy pants new printer!

What you’ll need:

  • Computer with internet access for BrainPOP

  • Interactive whiteboard

  • 3D printer (optional)

  • 3D Moby .stl file (these are the 3D Moby instructions for your printer, optional)

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to research online about 3D printing and write down any questions they have about the topic, plus something they'd like to create using a 3D printer.

  2. Share the Graphic Organizer with your students, so they can write down and discuss what they KNOW, and what they WANT to know in the first two columns.

  3. Play the 3D Printing Movie for the class.

  4. Return to the graphic organizer. Is there any information they thought they knew that was incorrect? What new information do they have now? Which questions were answered and which remain unanswered? Are there any new questions that students have?

  5. If you have access to a 3D printer in your classroom, tell students they will have the opportunity to print their own 3D Moby, just like in the BrainPOP movie. Show students what the 3D Moby .stl file and printer look like and demonstrate how to print.

  6. Pass out copies of the Activity (or graph paper), and encourage students to sketch something that is both useful and simple enough to print on a 3D printer.

  7. Allow students to share their ideas and creations with the class.

  8. You can assess student learning using the Quiz.

Extension Activities:

Have students work collaboratively to research the answers to any questions from the KWL chart that were not addressed through the BrainPOP movie. They can use the Related Reading resources to help.

 

Free Martin Luther King Jr. coding activities

 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the US.

It’s a day for celebrating the work and achievements of this remarkable man and activist who became the most celebrated leader in the civil rights movement.

Many, many student notebook pages will be filled with facts and stories about him, but we’d like to suggest a slightly different approach: coding to ‘show what you know’ about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below you’ll find 2 different coding activities, free to use, that will help your class express their knowledge and understanding in a digital, dynamic way that also improves their coding skills.

For younger students, or those starting on their coding journey: Design a digital museum to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Code a digital museum in Scratch to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Visit this activity: Design a digital museum about Martin Luther King Jnr.

For advanced coders, or older students: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

In this exercise, students will use a text based coding tool (javascript) to build a flag or poster, to commemorate the march that challenged the inequalities faced by African Americans at the time, that also saw the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Visit this activity: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

Extension resources

  • Related reading - Read up on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, as well as related civil rights facts and info.

  • Primary source - read an original newspaper excerpt from 1957 The Oberlin Review, Oberlin, Ohio about Dr. King’s speech on the topic "Justice without Violence".

 

Create wild music with Beastbox

 

This awesome new learning game has just been added to BrainPOP and we just HAD to share it.

Your students can become wildlife DJs with Beastbox, an educational game that blends animals sounds and knowledge of their environments with some dope beats.

Wildlife DJ and beatboxer Ben Mirin travels the world collecting the voices of wild animals that catch his attention. Layering his own beatbox loops with his favorite animal voices, he makes music inspired by the ecosystems he visits.

Join the band (and don’t forget the headphones!)

Launch the Beastbox game and pick your band animals. They soon start to bust some sweet moves and beatbox together using samples of their real animal voices. All 5 will soon be cranking out a cool tune. Swap them in and out to see what sort of sound you can build.

But stop (hammer time)!

How do you unlock the special ecosystem tracks?

Do your research! Click the info icon next to each dancing beast to learn more about their real world counterpart, hear a recording of their voice, and most importantly, see which ecosystem they belong to.

Because to unlock a new ecosystem you need to group 5 animals from the same ecosystem into the same band.

There’s endless variety in the wild music your children can make and a whole world of animals to explore.

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Other BrainPOP research resources

Take a browse through all our animals topics on our 'Diversity of life' page. Many of these resource collections will also discuss the evolution of individuals species.

To take a deeper dive into animal environments try our Ecosystems movie, and land topics, like Tundra, Rain forests, Land Biomes, Taiga, and Savanna. To see all topics related to this visit our Ecology and Behaviour category.

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Extension resources

 

An Hour of Code with BrainPOP

 

Learning to code isn’t hard. There, I said it.

It’s no harder than learning to add and subtract. Or a new language. Or a series of dance moves (no, I can’t floss either). Or the rules of punctuation. Or a musical instrument.

But you have to start somewhere, you need to practice, and you need someone to help you along the way (*waves to teachers*).

And you need motivation to keep coding when the coding gets tough (or buggy).

Which is where support events and communities like Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code can show you the the right path, tools, and skills needed to learn to code.

And this year BrainPOP’s Creative Coding is an official Hour of Code activity!

What is Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

For 2018 the theme is “What will you Create” which is perfect for BrainPOP students!

Your students can choose a BrainPOP Scratch (block-based) or Vidcode (text-based) project for sixteen different topics across the curriculum, from Martin Luther King Jr. to DNA to Food Chains. All available for FREE until December 31st 2018.

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To choose a project, visit Hour of Code and select BrainPOP from the “Created By” drop-down menu on the left. If your school already subscribes to Creative Coding, log onto BrainPOP and look for the Creative Coding tile on the right side of any topic page for the full coding experience.

Creative Coding Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, November 27th at 18:00 EST/23:00 GMT (if you can’t make it don’t worry it will be recorded and uploaded to the Educator’s blog) to hear how Certified BrainPOP Educator Nay Belaunzarán is successfully using Creative Coding in her classroom. Nay will share ideas for how to integrate coding into your curriculum — a perfect way to gear up for Computer Science Education Week.


Want to know more?

If you would like to add the full Creative Coding package to your current BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. subscription please let us know and we’ll get right back to you.

Name *
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Celebrating Diwali

 

They’re not just rows of lamps. . . they light the way to the biggest celebration on the Hindu calendar!

Many curricula around the world explore and study world religions and religious festivals.

On November 7th 2018 followers of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will be celebrating the famous festival of Diwali.

In our BrainPOP Diwali topic your class will:

  • Learn what the name “Diwali” actually means, and see how the holiday reflects some of the most basic beliefs of the Hindu religion.

  • Explore some of the Hindu mythology behind Diwali, including the legend of the return of Rama and the worship of deities like Laksmi and Kali.

  • Discover many of the customs of Diwali, from the lighting of lamps and fireworks, to the taking of ritual oil baths and making delicious sweet treats.

We’d recommend asking students to create a concept map about Diwali. Maybe show how this holiday shares things with other holidays and celebrations, or spotlight some of the deities and show what ideas and values they represent.

As a fun homework piece or plenary activity, download and print our ‘Mehndi graphic organiser’ and ask your children to draw their own mehndi design.