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.

 

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.

 

BrainPOP's on top down under!

 
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Big news for our Aussie schools!

We’re stoked to let you know BrainPOP is now fully mapped to the Australian national curriculum.

We’ve been working hard to add Australia to sit alongside our current English and Scottish curriculum mapping.

To try it out visit our curriculum mapping tool, select ‘Australia’, and drill down from there by year group to find topics relevant to an objective.

It’s that simple!

When you’ve found the objective you’re looking for it will list one or more topics that best fit (bear in mind we don’t claim to have a topic for every objective).

If you’re looking for a specific topic you might be better off using our predictive keyword search or browse through the subjects.

If you’re an Australian school that doesn’t use BrainPOP, but wants to give our resources a try, take out a no obligation free trial.

 

Celebrate World Space Week 2018 with 3 free Mars themed lesson plans

 
Space Week on BrainPOP

Ever wondered what it would be like to walk around on Mars?

Schools around the globe will be celebrating World Space Week 2018, which begins on Thursday on 4th October.

World Space Week is the largest public space event on Earth with more than 3,700 events in 80 countries.

The 2018 theme of “Space Unites The World” seeks to be an "...international celebration of the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. "

It's the perfect time to study space, its exploration, and our place in the universe.

Mars topic on BrainPOP

We’ve got a galaxy’s worth of classroom Space resources on both BrainPOP Jr. and BrainPOP to bring your lessons to life.

Subscribers can log in and start exploring right away (don’t have a password? Request a free trial). You’ll find a huge range of materials on a diverse set of topics from Jupiter to comets to Moon phases.

Mars is one of our most popular subjects so we thought it might be useful to give away a 3 part series of lesson ideas to support teaching about the famous Red Planet.

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4 quick and simple Mars lesson ideas

A simple pick up and play set of lesson stimulus for all ages


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Force, Gravity, Revolution, and Rotation Lesson Plan

A ‘Forces’ lesson about Mars using our ‘Build a Solar System’ game


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Create our Solar System lesson idea

Blast off from Mars into the Solar system and learn about Learn about scale, distance, and ratio, and the order of the planets in our solar system

 

BrainPOP 101 - learn about BrainPOP using BrainPOP!

 
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Nope, that "101" in the title isn't binary! It's the name of our new self paced training module.

Sounds fancy!

It is!

It's an introductory course for BrainPOP teachers, to learn how our products and resources work and explore all the features.

But this isn't any ordinary course.

You literally use BrainPOP to learn about BrainPOP!

If that sounds meta, it is, but it's a lot more fun than clicking through a dull drill and test.

You will:

  1. Watch an animated movie on how children learn with BrainPOP.
  2. Take a Challenge to see how BrainPOP engages higher-order thinking with interactive assessment tasks.
  3. Read an FYI all about the history, people, and technology behind BrainPOP.
  4. Explore a Primary Source, examining documents from the BrainPOP archive. including the very first drawing of Moby!
  5. Take a Quiz about BrainPOP's tools and features
  6. Play the learning game Time Zone X, that focuses on 'Education through the ages'
  7. Create a concept map in Make-A-Map to visualize thinking and connect ideas on the question "What is BrainPOP?".
  8. Animate an interactive presentation with Make-A-Movie

How do I take the BrainPOP 101 course?

You need to have your own individual Teacher login. If you don't have one, then get in touch about activating this facility for your subscription. There's no cost, but we do need to get your consent to set it up.

Is it compulsory? Is it the only training on offer?

No, not at all. You can start and finish it in your own time. You'll see a progress bar at the top of your screen after you start it.

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There's also a huge range of support, training, and professional development options on our Educators site from light touch activities like webinars to our BrainPOP Certified Educators program.

How do I start BrainPOP 101?

Just click the button below!

 

Get creative with coding!

 
Creative Coding with BrainPOP

>10 PRINT "CODING IN BRAINPOP!";
>20 GOTO 10

Yep, you read that right.

You can now access Vidcode AND Scratch based coding projects inside a huge range of BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. curriculum topics.

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What sorts of things will children be able to do in a Creative Coding project?

What's our approach to helping you teach coding?

Designed to seamlessly integrate with what you’re already teaching, Creative Coding makes it simple to introduce coding and provides students with the opportunity to “show what they know” in a whole different way.

We make coding part of what you're teaching, not a separate technology driven exercise.

Coding for All

Because they span the curriculum and provide multiple opportunities for differentiated instruction, our Creative Coding projects reach students with a breadth of needs, and at all levels. These projects:

  1. Help your students build and demonstrate knowledge in a way that is personally meaningful to them, in a familiar environment
  2. Guide and scaffold children and adults so that no technical background is needed
  3. Reduce inequality in access to computer science instruction when worked into the school day

The two methods - block AND text based coding

The block- and text-based projects are developed based on Scratch and Vidcode.

Block-based coding, based on the Scratch visual programming language, is an effective way to introduce computational thinking that fosters creative expression and experimentation. Perfect for younger pupils, or those new to coding.

Scratch on BrainPOP

Text-based coding with Vidcode deepens that knowledge by inviting students to apply programming fundamentals to create projects using JavaScript, empowering them to show what they know about what they're learning in school.

Vidcode on BrainPOP

Want to learn more?

There's a huge amount of Creative Coding teacher support material in our Educators site, but maybe start with our 'About Creative Coding projects' support page that details each type of project.

How do I unlock Creative Coding in BrainPOP?

Creative Coding is an optional add on feature, priced separately to your main school subscription.

You also must have a whole school licence to BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. PLUS individual teacher and student accounts enabled on your subscription.

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If you see this padlock icon on a Creative Coding button on a topic page this means you do NOT have it unlocked.

Get in touch today to get a no obligation quote to enable Creative Coding for your school.

We're currently running a promotion too - save 25% if you add it to your subscription before December 31st 2018.

     

    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!