Web Review: BrainPOP

Web Review: BrainPOP


The awards list for BrainPOP is impressive. Just judging from their awards you could easily conclude that BrainPOP is considered by many to be a top educational website for children.

What is BrainPOP?

BrainPOP is a non-commercial web site that consists of both quality and entertaining educational curriculum, presented through an effective use of animation and web technology. Their curriculum-based content spans seven main subjects including: Science, Math, English, Social Studies, Health, Technology and Arts & Music.

How does BrainPOP present it’s curriculum?

BrainPOP currently features roughly 600 brief animated movies. Each movie is supported by activities such as a quiz, comic strip, experiment and printable worksheets, all of which speak to kids in a language and voice that they can understand. The curriculum has been developed according to national education standards (NCTM, NSES, & NCTE), along with individual state standards.

When searching for appropriate curriculum they have a “Standards Correlations Tool” that allows your search to be tailored towards an individual state, grade and subject.

Many of BrainPOP’s movies are appropriate for all ages, the main focus grades for BrainPOP are 3-12. For grades K-3, there is a BrainPOP Jr. version available. They even have a Spanish version.

In addition to their animated movies, each individual topic has a suggested experiment, activity page, list of related topics, time line associated with topic, comic strip and pop quizzes.

How can you use BrainPop at home?

Let’s say your young child starts to inquire about where babies come from. For some parents that may be a difficult subject to discuss. BrainPop not only explains some of the biology to kids, but parents can learn the language to further, or even begin, their own discussions with their children.

Animated Video
Under “Health” is a selection of subjects that relate to the age old question, “Where do babies come from,” including Periods, Puberty, Reproductive System and Fetal Development. Sometimes two girls (Cassie & Rita) or a boy and his robot side-kick (Tim & Moby) star in the animated video.

How to with Gary and gary
In addition to the video may be advise from a father and son duo, such as “How to change a diaper,” or “What to do about acne?”

Bob the Ex-lab Rat
Bob will offer a suggested experiment, like how to explore the reproductive system through flowers, or experiments with absorption and sanitary napkins.

Activity Page
The activity page may include a crossword puzzle that uses definitions and words related to the topic.

Drawbacks to BrainPOP

There are a couple of drawbacks to BrainPOP:

  • Technical requirements for running BrainPOP are an Internet connection and the Macromedia Flash Plug-in. That can be a drawback for those living out in the Hilltowns were speedy internet service isn’t always available in 2007. Many families are forced to struggle through the internet using dial-up. However, downloading each movie clip only took 1-2 minutes with dial-up, which can be tolerable if you’re not in a hurry. Many libraries in our area have high speed internet service for users who may be looking to use BrainPop with a faster connection.
  • The second drawback to BrainPOP is it’s not completely free. A family year subscription is $100, or $175 for a small collective of home-schooling / after-schooling families. However, there are a few free selections worth checking out and they offer free “mini-sites” for a limited time. If you sign up for their newsletter they often announce new freebies.


Want to discover more about BrainPop right now?

On their website is a free movie that takes you through the site while explaining its features and functions. Click here to view. If you like the site, you should know they offer a free two week trial subscription for families wishing to try out the site before committing to a subscription. Click here to sign up for a two week trial.

Often there are free movies they offer for viewing. It’s worth signing up for their free newsletter to discover free and new curriculum. This month they are offering free access to a mini-site on Women in History.

Reviewed by Sienna Wildfield.

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3 Comments on “Web Review: BrainPOP

  1. Carol Comins, M.Ed (7th-Grade Social Studies Teacher, Chelmsford, MA)
    BrainPOP + Test Prep = Success! In preparation for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test, Carol and her colleague pooled their students into one room and reviewed the previous year’s social studies curriculum with BrainPOP movies. Students said they would have missed a lot of the questions on the actual test if they hadn’t recently reviewed the BrainPOP clips on Rome, Greece, and the Sumerians. We encourage you to review BrainPOP movies before every test; it’s the perfect way to refresh material you’ve taught earlier on! And it makes test review fun!

  2. A huge drawback of BrainPop is that they automatically renew your subscription without emailing you. At $79 a shot that’s a hefty charge you won’t have expected (unless you can keep track of all the sites you have to have subscriptions to). I was quite upset. At least give a choice to subscribe or not. Horrible business practice for a children’s site.

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