Take the stress out of test prep

 
BrainPOP Mindfulness topic.gif

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.

NOTE-TAKING_SKILLS-ICON.png

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

 
Black hole photo.jpg

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

 
Squarespace images 750 x 500 3(4).png

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?

 
3D printed Moby from BrainPOP.png

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.

 

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.

 

Explore a Topic – Maya Civilisation

 

Since the Maya Civilisation was added to the Key Stage 2 history programmes of study for the 2014 National curriculum in England to teach “a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history”, we often hear…

  • How difficult it is to source good age appropriate educational resources about the Mayan Civilisation
  • That primary school teachers generally have little to no knowledge of this period of history

This isn’t too surprising considering the previous history curriculum have focused on Egypt and Aztecs. But Tim and Moby to the rescue!

We’ve got plenty of amazing resources on the Mayans. Their culture, their advances in architecture, maths, art, and astronomy are all covered. Topic resources includes:

  1. An animated video on the Mayan Civilisation
  2. An interactive multiple choice quiz
  3. Maya lesson ideas
  4. Maya (and other ancient civilisations) learning games
  5. Maya activities, graphic organiser

Use these resources to introduce the Maya Civilisation, then encourage your pupils to explore further into this fascinating period of history with our topics on MesoamericaInca CivilisationConquistadors, and Aztec civilisation.

  • Tim and Moby explore this highly advanced pre-Columbian culture.
  • Learn why the Maya civilisation wasn’t exactly an empire, but still constituted a unified culture.
  • Explore the Maya script, the only complete written language developed by indigenous Americans and the role of religion in Maya society.
  • Discover how the Mayas were slowly subdued by the Spanish empire, and how Mayan is still spoken in Mexico and parts of Central America today!

Time Zone X - Maya Civilisation

Develop an understanding of the rise and fall of the Mayan civilization with our Time Zone X: Maya learning game. Do well and students can start to combine historical facts other ancient civilisations!

LESSON IDEA ON MAYA CIVILISATION

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for years 3-12 and P3-S5, students will use BrainPOP resources to analyse a world history topic through the lens of an essential question; Conduct collaborative research and share findings both verbally and in writing.

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for Years 7-13 and S1 – S6, students use BrainPOP UK resources to learn and synthesise information about the ancient civilisations of Latin America. They will create a three circle Venn diagram to compare and contrast the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilisations. Students will also design a “graffiti board” on which they write messages and draw pictures to illustrate their understanding.

FYI – NON-FICTION TEXTS ABOUT MAYA CIVILISATION

  • The Final Frontier – Learn about the Mayan’s views on astronomy
  • Sports – Read about ‘Pitz’, the Mayan’s favourite ball game
  • Etc – Cool facts about Mayan culture
  • Unsolved mysteries – What happened to the Maya?
  • Dates and Times – Learn about the famous Mayan calendars
  • In Practice – Study Mayan fashion

PUPIL ACTIVITIES FOR MAYAN CIVILISATION

  • Activity – Complete the story
  • Graphic organiser – 5Ws + H chart
  • Vocabulary sheet – A list of terms that need explaining in your own words