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.

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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.

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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

 
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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

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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

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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.

Literacy

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

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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

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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.

Extras!

 

BrainPOP and Blooms Taxonomy

 
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

 
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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 BrainPOP.com!

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.

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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.

 

The power of the Quiz Mixer

 
BrainPOP quiz mixer

Have you ever wanted to make your OWN interactive BrainPOP quizzes?

Quizzes that are 100% personalised for a child's needs, or unique to a lesson, or using your own images?

You can with our very own Quiz Mixer tool. Teachers with My BrainPOP accounts can create, re-mix, and share their own BrainPOP style quizzes, polls, and surveys.

 The quiz mixer

The Quiz Mixer allows you to:

  • Search and modify BrainPOP’s questions
  • Create your own multiple choice and open ended questions
  • Publish and share or assign with your students
  • Import and edit from thousands of questions generated across the BrainPOP community

Stuck for inspiration?

Here's some ideas that might spark some creativity...

A quiz that explores local history
Next time you're out and about snap some photos of local landmarks to add to a local history quiz, or ask a local history society or museum to donate some primary sources and questions. Maybe focus on a particular period, like Anglo Saxon or Roman.

A quiz in another language
There's nothing stopping you writing questions and answers in any language you like.

Pre-test quizzes
It's common to send home weekly spelling or maths rote practice homework, especially around SATs time. But why bother with paper? Use the Quiz Mixer to create sets of 20 practice questions and assign them to your class. Not only can they do the quiz online (and save your printing costs) their results are submitted to you, to view per pupil or as a whole class comparison. PS: Save them and use them again year after year!

Online Safety survey
Use open ended questions to build a poll to understand which social media tools children use or know about. Also poll the class on their knowledge of age restrictions, privacy concerns, copyright, online bullying statistics, etc. The idea isn't to get correct answers but stimulate debate, open eyes, and disabuse misconceptions.

Quizzes for differentiation
You can easily make multiple versions of the same quiz. Simply create a quiz, duplicate it, and adjust the language and questions accordingly. This could be very useful for targeted assessment, remediation, or 'drill style' practice. Also consider students who have English as a second language - you can prep a quiz that uses simpler language but achieves the same test outcome.

Still stuck?
Search the BrainPOP community database to tap into thousands of teacher made quizzes. One's bound to leap out and grab your attention!

Don't forget to tag your quizzes and make them public. There could be a teacher on the other side of the world that might appreciate your work.

 

Exploring opportunities to promote literacy using BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.

 

Engaging students with literacy across curriculum subjects is a priority for all schools, and Ofsted. BrainPOP provides multiple possibilities to improve literacy knowledge using animated movies, concept mapping, interactive features, multimedia resources, and more.

Ofsted seek to see literacy being emphasised outside of an English lesson, across curriculum subjects. Effectively, literacy learning should have a place in all lessons.


During inspections, Ofsted will place a stronger emphasis on effective whole-school literacy policies and their successful and systematic implementation across the school.
— Literacy Guide for Secondary Schools, 2012-2013

In each BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. topic in each subject there are many moments, both explicit and implicit, to promote literacy in different subjects.

How can you use BrainPOP to address literacy in every subject?

SUBTITLES

  • Every movie shows subtitles as standard. Subtitles encourage reading even when the student doesn’t realise they’re doing it. This extra practice will help improve reading and spelling, punctuation, and grammar skills.

KEY VOCABULARY & NATURAL PAUSE POINTS

  • Key vocabulary is highlighted in each movie. Students can easily pick out and learn key terms.
  • In BrainPOP listen out for the beep! BrainPOP movies have natural pause points. When Moby beeps is usually a good moment to pause as this often indicates the beginning of a new section of information within the topic. This gives the teacher time to assess how well the class is taking in the information, answer any questions, or to allow for student to finish any note-taking.
  • In BrainPOP Jr. look out for the pause button turning red. This indicates a question is about to be displayed in Annie's notepad. Ask a pupil to read it out to the class.

KEY LITERACY SKILLS

  • Specific topics like Reading SkillsContext Clues, and Note-Taking Skills help students make their literacy skills useful in every kind of lesson. Improving student’s confidence in using skills such as these – regardless of subject – encourages them to use and practice them more across the curriculum.
    • Tim speaks at a gentle pace in BrainPOP movies, which helps student’s comprehension and also gives time for student’s note-taking.
  • Quizzes for reading comprehension and/or listening comprehension – whether students are taking the quiz individually on a computer or tablet or taking the quiz as a class they will need to read and/or listen to the quiz questions and answers in order to complete the task.
    • Students can also take turns reading the questions and answer options aloud to the rest of the class as extra speaking practice.
    • Teachers with 'My BrainPOP' accounts can make their own Quizzes using the Quiz Mixer.
    • BrainPOP Jr. has easy and hard quiz options. Not only are the questions different, the easy quiz language is simpler.
  • As a discussion tool – in BrainPOP use the Newsela tool as a class discussion stimulus about items in the news or national events. The articles are lexia levelled and the article can be dynamically adapted depending on the student's ability. It’s a great way to encourage children to not only investigate an issue themselves but to form their own opinion and confidently discuss it in class.

Spoken language – (6.2) Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They should be taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.
— From the 2014 National curriculum in England: English programmes of study

ACTIVITIES

Activities are worksheets that are available for every BrainPOP UK topic regardless of subject. Activities can include:

  • Recall questions
  • Essay questions
  • Graphic organisers so students can easily organise their thoughts or create clear notes for revision material
  • Practical tasks such as building a rocket

Activities can be typed into and printed off filled in as typing practice or printed and used as handwriting practice.

VOCABULARY SHEETS

  • Vocabulary sheets list all the key terms used in the movie and students must explain each of the terms in their own words.
  • This provides key literacy practice, helps students memorise subject specific key terms, and helps teachers check student’s comprehension of the terms and concepts used in the topic
  • Can be printed and glued into exercise books as a spelling guide and a revision tool.

FYI (FOR YOUR INFORMATION)

FYIs provide extra non-fiction texts around the subject to encourage further reading and research by the student which provide extra reading practice. These can be particularly useful to raise literacy engagement with boys, whom research has shown react well to non-fiction texts.

 

Concept mapping with Make A Map

 
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Make-a-Map, BrainPOP’s concept mapping tool powered by Ideaphora®, invites students to make meaningful connections between concepts using BrainPOP images, keywords, and movie clips.

Students and teachers can create maps to take notes, organise ideas, study vocabulary, tell digital stories, and more.

Every topic page in BrainPOP, BrainPOP Jr. and BrainPOP ESL contains a 'Make a Map' button. Anyone can use it, but only My BrainPOP student and teacher accounts can save and submit their maps.

Connect concepts

Make a Map allows students to create interactive concept maps as they explore our resources, developing ideas using BrainPOP movie clips, audio, images, and key vocabulary.

Students can include a written explanation of their thought process and submit maps to a teacher for feedback.

As students learn more they can revisit saved maps, extending their understanding and demonstrating progress.

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Easy to use

  1. No need to scour Google for images - simply select from thousands of official BrainPOP images, relevant keywords, and movie clips
  2. Drag and drop directly into your map
  3. Connect words and images to form ideas and show understanding
  4. Save your maps for future improvement or submit to teacher for feedback

Awesome tips for Make a Map

  • All the keywords are topic related AND audio extracts from the movie! Drag the keyword into your map and hit the play button next to the keyword to hear Tim use it in the context of a sentence.
  • No more scouring Google for images - you can find illustrated elements from any movie in BrainPOP. Simply select 'Images' from the navigation bar and type a word into the search box.
  • Use Templates to give your maps a structure. You can use static templates when you start your map, or add one from 'More' in the navigation bar. Why not try the 'Storyboard' map before embarking on a piece of creative writing?
  • Take notes! Go to 'More' in the navigation bar and choose 'Notes'. This gives you a way to record your thoughts as you go.
  • You can select each snapshot “node” and change its colour. Colour coding is a great way to organise, categorise, and take notes. 

Make a Map explained in 2 minutes