Teachers are always searching for better ways to engage students, but may have trouble pinpointing quality resources. One such resource, however, is the BrainPOP Featured Movie app for Windows 8. It should be an integral part of every teacher’s toolbox.
The app provides a different animated movie each day, with themes relating to current events, holidays, or curricular topics. Featured Movies provide a quick and easy way for students to learn more about a relevant topic. The app is free, and those with a BrainPOP username through their school can log in to the site directly from the app at no additional cost. This gives curious kids the ability to explore an unprecedented breadth of movies on more than 750 topics within Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Engineering & Tech, Arts & Music, and Health – all from the palm of their hands.
BrainPOP movies are an ideal way to introduce a new topic at the start of a lesson, or for review before a quiz. New content and features are added regularly, so there’s always fresh content.
The app dovetails perfectly with BrainPOP’s web site (www.brainpop.com), and is perfect in learning environments from Bring-Your-Own-Device to 1:1 and beyond.
My 6th– grade students responded so well to the lesson I did on the scientific method, incorporating the BrainPOP app.
As a whole class, we kicked things off by watching BrainPOP’s movie on the scientific method. Students took notes while watching, and then created their own mock experiments. The experiments had to relate to environmental science and had to be solvable through the scientific method. The class leveraged the same steps Tim and Moby followed in the movie. In partners, they used the BrainPOP app to watch the movie a second time, and then revised their experiments as needed.
Students shared the experiments and environmental issues they’d come across and discussed the importance of each Scientific Method step. To wind things down, I had them log on to individual tablets and take the BrainPOP quiz. As a teacher, BrainPOP was a highly valuable component of the lesson.
Students at Roosevelt Middle School (West Palm Beach, FL), loved the app and its quizzes, which add an air of competition to the classroom. Among the comments I heard from them?
Faris, told me he likes the videos because they are “short, to the point and don’t waste time.” Another student, Kyra, said she likes BrainPOP because they “always have something new for us to watch and I like learning new things.”
BrainPOP’s second Windows 8 app is due later this month. Designed for learners in grades K-3 (ages 5-9), the upcoming BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week app will make age-appropriate educational content available to a larger audience – at school, at home, and on the go.
For a good overview of what BrainPOP has to offer, check out the “snackable” video you’ll see right here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awaaD0Mt5dg
About the Author: Todd LaVogue is the STEM Programs Coordinator and an Environmental Science Teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is a Microsoft Teacher Trainer and a member of Team USA, Microsoft in Education 2014 Global Forum, Barcelona, Spain.