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.

Ruby Bridges 3.jpg