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.

     

    STEM in your garden

     
    STEM resources for the garden

    Summer's here! The sun is out (probably) and gardens are blossoming into their very best.

    But did you know how much science is happening in your garden? Whether you have a window box or a hundred acres, let's take a STEM look at what's going on in your very own ecosystem...

    Plant life

    • Seed Plants and Seedless plants are what makes your garden beautiful and green. Compare and contrast these two types of plants, how they reproduce, and learn key vocabulary such as 'spore', 'angiosperm' and 'vascular'.
    • Fungi - Explore the diverse Fungi kingdom, and discover the unique characteristics that set the 1.5 million species of mold, yeast, and mushrooms apart from all other organisms. Learn how fungi grow, feed, and reproduce, and what they look like when they’re above ground. And explore the many roles fungi play in the ecosystems around us--in our soil, in our kitchens, and even in our bodies.
    • Carnivorous plants - we mustn't forget plants we grow in greenhouses and windowsills! Learn where these meat-eating marvels live, and how their habitats have shaped their special diets, and the difference between passive and active trapping techniques.
    • Soil (BrainPOP Jr.) - What's in all the different layers of soil? What does it provide to your garden, its plants, and insects?
    • Parts of Plant (BrainPOP Jr) - Learn about all the components of a plant from roots to petals.

    Minibeasts and creepy crawlies

    • Ants - Our characters, Tim and Moby, introduce your class to the intricate world of ants. Find out about the other insects ants are related to, learn the parts of an ant’s body, discover the different jobs that ants can do, and which members of the ant colony live the longest and shortest.
    • Honey Bees - Discover what makes a honeybee different from other bees and what their body structure is like. You’ll also learn about the three different categories of honeybee — worker, queen, and drone — as well as how these creatures work together to keep their hives bustling all year long.
    • Spiders - Learn about spiders’ body parts, their silk, and spider venom and poison. Maybe spiders won’t seem so scary once you learn about all the good things they do for your house and garden!
    • Butterflies (BrainPOP Jr) - Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.

      Maths

      • Fibonacci sequence - Explore the beauty of maths by discovering how this fascinating concept occurs in nature. Probably even in your garden - try growing a sunflower!
      • Flower Power - In this learning game, students must use their knowledge of fractions and decimals to make as much money as possible through growing and harvesting valuable and exotic flowers.

      The science around your garden

      • Photosynthesis - Learn what makes plants green, how plants make their own food, and what an important role the sun plays in photosynthesis.
      • Metamorphosis - Learn which creatures go through different kinds of metamorphoses, plus the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis.
      • Pollination - Find out how flowers reproduce by pollination and fertilization as you discover why lots of new flowers can pop up from just a few seeds. See how new seeds form, how pollen can travel, and how to identify the reproductive parts of a plant.
      • Plant growth - learn why flowers grow on apple trees, and how plants reproduce through pollination. Find out the parts of a flower and what each part does, as well as how insects help in the reproduction process.

      Please note some of these resources require a username and password to access. If you are not a subscriber then please request a free trial.

       

      Here we go! World cup resources on BrainPOP

       
      Football resources on BrainPOP
      "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that." - Bill Shankly

      Whether you call it 'soccer' or 'football' it's a game that's played in all corners of the planet, by old and young.

      We're certainly looking forward to seeing England get to the quarter finals before crashing out in a penalty shoot out.

      But before you get swept up in the madness of football's greatest spectacle why not explore the great game in all its glory?

      Social Studies  >  Culture  >  World Cup

      Join Nat, Moby, and the gang watching a World Cup match, and explore the highlights of this international football tournament.

      You’ll learn how the tournament works, famous moments of World Cup history (such as Maradona’s “Hand of God”) and which country has won the most world cups!

      Once you’ve watched the movie take our 10 question interactive multiple choice quiz about the World Cup. Do you know enough to take you to the final or will you fall apart in the first round?

      Social Studies  >  Culture  > Soccer

      The beautiful game! A game of two halves! Sick as a parrot!

      At the end of day you don’t want your lack of football knowledge to send you off for an early bath. Learn the basic facts that all football fans should know, from the size of the field, to the number of players on each team, to the names of the different positions. We even tackle the offside rule. There’s also a great set of football activities and graphic organisers to help students get to grips with what constitutes a foul. Oi, ref!

      Social Studies  >  Famous Historical Figures  >  Pelé

      Ever heard of Edison Arantes do Nascimento? No? What about Pelé? Thought so! That’s Pelé’s birth name.

      Considered by pretty much everyone as the greatest footballer who ever lived, explore Pelé’s incredible career from humble beginnings as a talented kid from a poor family to member of the Brazilian national team. Pelé is now the game’s most famous ambassador! Don’t forget to check out our interesting facts and figures about Pele to go in depth into the history and achievements of this great sportsman.

      Extra (time) ideas

      Make a Map World Cup chart

      Why not encourage your most football fanatic fans to use Make a Map to plot the progress of their team as they (hopefully) make their way through the tournament? It's a great opportunity to practice building a concept map and a structured flow diagram!

      Meaning of Beep - Soccer

      Use context clues to uncover unknown words in this fun single or multi player learning game. Great to expand vocabulary.

      Not used BrainPOP before? Why not...

       

      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.

      Assignment builder.jpg

      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

      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.

      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

      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

      Malala.png

      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?

       
      BrainPOP coding to learn about the circulatory system.png

      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.

      Moby heart rate meme.gif

      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!