• 09 Apr
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    Politics can be a dry and difficult subject at the best of times and British politics can be even more perplexing.

    BrainPOP’s new British Politics Spotlight helps make topics like voting and political beliefs both accessible and interesting.

    Politics resources on BrainPOP UK

    Now that Parliament has been dissolved and the 2015 General Election (make sure you put 7th May in your diary!) is just around the corner, it’s a better time than ever to tackle British politics in the classroom.

    A working knowledge of the democracy we live in, how it works and how to participate in it is a crucial part of citizenship but it’s a real challenge to teach. Unless Parliament Live TV is regularly on at home (instead of CBBC? Unlikely!) then kids might simply be under the impression that politics is boring or confusing.

    There’s a reason that the belief that we vote for the Prime Minister is so common!

    Helping students to understand the British political process and their rights and responsibilities is key to helping them become active and engaged citizens.

    Voter turnout is poor in the U.K. and although the turnout for the 2010 general election was higher than the previous two general elections it was still the third lowest since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1928. If students are empowered to take part in the political process maybe this trend will change, after all Scotland broke the record for voter turnout in the 2014 Scottish referendum and more than 100,000 of those voters were 16 to 17-year-olds!

    Take a quick peek at this extract from the Voting movie to see an example of one of our new Politics topics:

    In this Spotlight Tim and Moby explore different confusing topics around British politics to discover how it all works and answer key questions such as:

    • How is the Prime Minister chosen and what does the job involve?
    • How does voting work in the U.K. and how to do it?
    • How are laws made?
    • Why does voting matter?
    • What rights and responsibilities do I have as a British citizen?
    • What’s a political party?
    • What are taxes and why do I have to pay them?
    • What does the Queen do?

    Take a look at some of the topics and resources in this spotlight:

    How a bill becomes a law

    Palace of Westminster

    There ought to be a law … In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby will teach you about the complicated process by which a bill becomes a law! Discover who can come up with an idea for a law, how that idea gets into Parliament, and where a bill comes into the picture. You’ll learn about the roles committees play, what happens in the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and when a bill finally gets to the Queen. Finally, you’ll see why the process is so complicated. Got an idea for a law? Now you’ll know what to do with it!



    Want to make your voice heard? Find out how as Tim, Moby introduce you to the process of voting. Learn what kinds of things you might vote on, and why the same method of learning people’s opinions is used everywhere from sandboxes to Parliament. You’ll also discover who can vote in the United Kingdom, and learn about the entire process, from registration forms to polling stations. Find out when general elections happen, and learn about the different ways that citizens can cast their votes. Finally, see what happens if you can’t make it to your polling place in person. Now go get your grown-ups to the polls!

    Prime Minister 


    It’s one of the most powerful jobs in the country! Tim and Moby introduce you to what it means to be the British Prime Minister! You’ll learn why the Prime Minister can’t make every decision himself, and who he has to help him. You’ll also find out how Prime Ministers spend most of their days, and you’ll learn all about policies and what they mean for parts of the government. See what the Prime Minister has to do with bills and laws, and find out about a few other powers that the Prime Minister has — and some that he doesn’t! Do you think you could do it?



    Sometimes old ideas are good ones! Tim and Moby introduce you to the history of democracy.  Find out what the word “democracy” means, and how a democratic government functions. You’ll also learn the three ideas that democracy rests upon, and where we think democracy got its start. You’ll see how democracy worked in ancient Greece, and what sorts of problems that system had. Finally, you’ll learn the difference between a direct democracy, like the kind in ancient Greece, and a representative democracy, or republic, the system that most modern democratic nations today follow. Every vote counts!

    Political beliefs


    What do platforms have to do with politics? Tim and Moby introduce you to the sometimes crazy world of political beliefs and political parties! First, you’ll learn about some of the core beliefs that people share, and where they come from. You’ll also find out how individuals form their political beliefs, and why certain forces can shape our beliefs. Plus, discover why you don’t have to vote for a person from your party, and when — and how — it’s OK to argue about politics. Remember: Vote early and often!



    Want to learn how to win debates? No need to answer—that’s a rhetorical question. In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby (and Tim’s clone) discuss rhetoric, the art of arguing. Logical arguments are just the start—see how public speaking skills and charisma are also essential to debate success. Explore time-tested strategies used by ancient Greeks and modern students alike, from rhetorical devices to appealing to the audience’s emotions. It’s not just what you say, but also how you say it!



    Taxes—you’ve probably heard politicians talk about them, and your parents complain about them. But have you ever wondered what taxes are really all about? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby tell you exactly how they’re used and why they exist! Find out some of the many things that your family’s taxes pay for, including motorways, schools, and parks, and learn the difference between types of taxes. Plus, Tim and Moby will introduce you to income tax and teach you about how you’re taxed at a higher rate as your income rises. So don’t wait for the end of the tax year!—click on this movie and watch it now!



    What’s so special about being a British citizen? A lot, as Tim and Moby show you in this BrainPOP UK movie! Learn the broad definition of citizenship and how it applies to citizens of the United Kingdom. Explore some of the freedoms all citizens enjoy, thanks to documents like E.U. Convention on Human Rights. You’ll also discover the responsibilities that come with those rights, from the obligation to pay taxes to the importance of voting in elections. And learn how the naturalisation process can open the doors of citizenship to anyone who to become a British citizen.

    Political Parties


    You’ve seen their adverts, you’ve read about their candidates. Now Tim and Moby will give you the scoop on the U.K.’s three major political parties. In this BrainPOP UK movie, you’ll learn the history of the Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat parties, as well as some of the key differences between the parties today. You’ll also discover the party affiliations of a few of the U.K.’s best-known politicians and learn about some of the nation’s smaller political parties, too. So before you go to the polls, be sure to watch this movie! (Note: If you are under 18, please do not actually go to the polls.)




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  • 24 Sep
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    This month’s Spotlight is “Creative Writing“, where we’ve handpicked a selection of our finest writing topics such as Idioms & Cliches, Writing Dialogue, and Mood and Tone to help support and inspire young writers.

    BrainPOP UK Creative Writing Spotlight

    But what does every writer desire? A reader. A chance for someone else to fall in love with their words.

    So in the spirit of helping young BrainPOP writers find an audience and hone their skills we’ve highlighted 3 different creative writing challenges below. Each is free to enter, has lots of support for teachers and students and will offer inspiration by the bucketload. Good luck everyone!

    Wicked Young Writers Award – http://www.wickedyoungwriters.com

    Wicked Young Writers homepage

    “The “prestigious Wicked Young Writers’ Award” (The Times) was established by the long-running musical Wicked in order to link the important messages of the production with a competition that would inspire young people to use their writing to look at life a little differently. The Award recognises excellence in writing, encourages creativity, and helps develop writing talent in young people between 5-25 years old from all backgrounds and areas of the UK & Ireland.”

    This is a chance for your work to appear in a printed anthology, receive a certificate from the Duchess of Cornwall, and meet Michael Morporgo! If that doesn’t get your creative writing muscles twitching we don’t know what will!

    100 Word Challenge – http://100wc.net/

    100WC homepage

    We ask children to write in school but often there is no apparent purpose that they can see other than pleasing their teacher! This can prompt some very reluctant writers in our classrooms. The 100 Word Challenge seeks to address this problem. It is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece.

    This popular blog based writing challenge is a particular favourite of BrainPOP and runs every week. We think it’s a terrific way for young writers to get their work read, commented on and critiqued. It’s easy to enter and very popular. What are you waiting for? Go and tell your teacher about this right away!

    NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program – http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/

    NaNoWriMo homepage

    National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create! That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.

    This famous NaNoWriMo event for adults has been running for many years. This is the version aimed at children 17 and under. It’s as much about the challenge of writing a novel in 30 days and the energy of the community that supports the activity that makes it so exciting. It also has lots of great resources to improve your writing.

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  • 04 Mar
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    We’ve added a brand new Spotlight to BrainPOP UK this month focussing on a hand picked selection of our STEM resources (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths).


    BrainPOP UK STEM Spotlight screenshot

    This Spotlight is a sample that showcases the breadth and depth of STEM topics that can be found in BrainPOP UK, across multiple subjects. Use these topics to create a buzz and excitement around STEM with your students!

    • Binary from “Number & Calculation”
      Want to learn computer-speak? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby teach you all about the binary system, the language of computers!
    • Building Basics from “Forces & their Effects”
      What stops a skyscraper from falling down and a giant bridge from collapsing? This BrainPOP UK movie won’t answer those particular questions, but it will show you some basic building techniques.
    • Calculus from “Algebra”
      A word that strikes fear into even the most conscientious of students. But as Tim and Moby demonstrate in this BrainPOP UK movie, there’s really nothing to be afraid of.
    • Computer History from “Modern History”
      How did we get from punch cards to PDAs? Find out in this BrainPOP UK movie, as Tim and Moby guide you through the history of computers.
    • Digital Animation from “Art & Design”
      Ever wonder how the questions you mail us become the BrainPOP UK movies you see on your computer screen? Discover the process as Tim and Moby introduce you to the basics of digital animation.
    • Dolly the Sheep from “Religion, Society & Ethics”
      Baaah! You’ve heard the story of Dolly the cloned sheep, but do you know the science behind how she was made? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby look back on her life – from the test tube to the pasture to her early demise.
    • Hydraulics from “Forces & their Effects”
      Think liquids are wimpy? Think again! In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby explain how some of the strongest machines in the world are powered by the liquid power of hydraulics.
    • Leonardo Da Vinci from “History: Famous People”
      Is there anything da Vinci couldn’t do? Find out all about Leonardo da Vinci’s incredible skill and talent as Tim and Moby introduce you to the life and work of this famous sculptor, and… painter … and inventor … and anatomist … and mathematician…
    • Nanotechnology from “Products & Industry”
      Can you imagine a computer smaller than a grain of sand? How about a tiny robot that can rove through the body and destroy cancer cells? In this BrainPOP UK movie Tim and Moby teach you about nanotechnology, the scientific arena that hopes to make these things a reality!
    • Scientific Method from “Scientific Enquiry”
      Got a hunch about something but don’t know how to prove it? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby walk you through the steps of the scientific method – a process which can be used to design any kind of experiment.
    • Space Flight from “The Universe”
      Ever wonder how spaceships leap off the planet and fly into outer space? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby will teach you the basics of space flight!
    • Stem Cells from “Life Processes: Cells”
      What are stem cells and why are they so controversial? In this BrainPOP UK movie, Tim and Moby give you the rundown on what makes stem cells different from regular cells.
    • Video games from  “Products & Industry”
      Do you spend hours in the computer room battling digital orcs and dragons? Do your thumbs ever get sore from mashing game controller buttons a little too intensely? If so, this BrainPOP UK movie on video games just might be for you.
    • Simple Machines learning game
      It’s up to you to use found objects to create simple machines that will help Twitch solve challenges with a minimum of force.

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  • 24 Oct
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    After much discussion and debate over our favourite entries into the Get Cubed creative writing competition, we’ve narrowed it down to one winner.

    The winning story stood out for being a very well thought out piece, with attention-grabbing paragraph starters, and wonderful use of colourful adverbs and dialogue. We also loved how well the story cube images were incorporated as plot devices: the Map, the Shark, and the Crown.

    Without further ado, the winning tale.

    THE LEGACY by Sophie Millward-Sadler

    The Legacy by Sophie Millward-Sadler

    The pong of pig swill assaulted Kathy before she even opened her eyes. It was that bad.

    Reluctantly, she opened her eyes to the sight of the rundown yard where she worked. A rotten fence ran round the animal enclosure. Over the gravel driveway was a rusty shed that was an aeroplane hangar, until the airfield was destroyed by a bomb.

    There was a grunting sound from her left; it was her only pig, Betty. Groaning, Kathy got up and poured out some potato peelings.

    “We need more,” she said. Betty grunted. “I’ll have to go to town and buy some.”

    Kathy slipped over the fence and walked down to the town. It was cold.

    She got to the potato stall fine. It was just as she was getting her money to pay when hands grabbed her. She was dragged down the street and onto a ship. Once onboard, she was shoved down below decks. It was dark and dank.

    There was a clanking sound; the anchor being raised. A person appeared at the top of the ladder. He was bald with yellow teeth.

    “Now luvvy. We aren’t gonna hurt as long as you do what we want. Agreed?”

    Kathy nodded her head.

    “All we want you to do is follow a map and dig something up for us. Agreed?”

    She nodded again.

    “Oh, and you’ve got to swim to shore.” With that, he left. Kathy slept.

    When she woke up, the bald man was standing over her. Next thing, Kathy was teetering on the end of the plank. A shove from behind and she went tumbling into the turquoise water.

    Gasping, she emerged and began swimming for the shore of an island that was a few hundred metres away. A leather bag hit her head. Kathy picked it up and carried on swimming. A few seconds later, she caught a glimpse of a silver fin cutting through the water towards her. It couldn’t be a shark-

    It rose out of the water and its massive mouth gaped open, rows of menacing teeth gleaming in the sun.

    Kathy swore that she had never swum as quickly.

    When she reached shore, she was wheezing with the effort. As she recovered, Kathy opened the top of the leather bag and pulled out a map. A clichéd red X was marked just underneath a palm tree that was actually very close to her. A shovel was placed at the base of the trunk.

    Sighing, Kathy began digging.

    An hour and a small tonne of sand later, Kathy had a big chest next to her. It was open. Inside was an old document.

    This document states that the first child of Edward Cross is the rightful heir of this island and all of its lands.

    What? Edward Cross was Kathy’s father. That couldn’t be true.

    Underneath this document is the crown of these islands. Wear it with pride.

    Stunned, Kathy picked up the crown and placed it on her head.

    She was a queen.

    For her hard work, Sophie has won an exclusive piece of BrainPOP artwork (shown above).

    If you’d like to try your hand at some creative writing, the story cubes are still available to download here: BrainPOP UK Story Cubes



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  • 01 Oct
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    Up for a rescue mission? This month’s Earth Awareness spotlight features topics to teach you about the big and small things we can all do to help the environment. Learn about global warming, renewable energy, and how recycling works

    Earth Awareness Spotlight

    As well as featuring a Recycling Activity, Biofuels FYI, and Global Warming Activity, we’ve brought together a great collection of topics for this spotlight:

    Download and pin it up our Green Moby poster at school or at home so you always remember Tim & Moby’s earth awareness tips.

    Free recycling poster download

    Click image to start download


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  • 03 Sep
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    Win an exclusive piece of BrainPOP artwork, inspired by your own writing!

    As part of September’s Creative Writing spotlight we’ve created story cubes and we want you to use them as inspiration for our Get Cubed creative writing competition.

    There are three different cubes to make. Download the PDF, print the cubes, cut out, and assemble.

    Ask an adult to help if you’re having difficulty.

    BrainPOP Story Cubes

    Click the image to start download.

    It’s time to get rolling

    Roll your completed cubes. Whichever three images land face up are your inspiration for some storytelling!

    If you don’t like the images you get, you can always take another roll, we won’t tell anyone 😉

    And now for some creative writing

    We want you to produce a piece of writing inspired by the story cubes and, whatever you create, we’d like to see it. Submit your finished piece for us to judge and we’ll pick a winner.

    If you win, you’ll get an exclusive piece of BrainPOP artwork based on your submission.

    Six runners-up will win back to school goodie sets.

    We’ll also feature our favourite entries here on POPtalk.

    Submission criteria

    • Finished work must be no longer than 500 words
    • This competition is for children aged between 6 and 15
    • The winner will be chosen by the BrainPOP UK team
    • You must use the BrainPOP story cubes as the starting point for your writing
    • Entries must be received by midnight on 21st September 2012
    • Entries received after the competition deadline will not be considered
    • The winners will be contacted by email before the end of September
    • Winning entries will be showcased on this blog
    • You can read our full Terms and Conditions on our website

    Submit your finished writing using the form below.

    Fill out my online form.
    We can’t wait to read your entries. Good luck! 

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  • 03 Sep
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    This collection of English movies, quizzes, printable resources, and activities will provide you with the essential knowledge and skills for all types of creative writing and storytelling.

    Creative Writing Spotlight

    The topics highlighted for Creative Writing include:

    And we’ve introduced a host of new Famous Author topics:

    We’d like you to use this arsenal of support to help you take part in our Get Cubed competition: BrainPOP Story Cubes competition.

    BrainPOP Story Cubes

    Get Cubed Competition

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  • 01 Jul
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    From brushing up on sports history and cycle safety to learning how to eat well and stay safe in the sun, we’ve got health and fitness covered from top to toe with this themed collection of educational movies and resources: Spotlight on Health & Fitness.


    On the Spotlight page you’ll also find an Olympics Activity, a Muscles FYI, a Fitness POPquiz, and a host of topics including…

    Also, feel free to download these Healthy Living Lesson Tips & Ideas from our good friend and ICT virtuoso, Jon Audain. If you have a Promethean whiteboard, download our Healthy Living flipchart from our Promethean Resource page.

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  • 01 Jun
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    Head on safari this month with Tim & Moby (without the fear of being eaten by lions) and enjoy these animal-related educational topics, activities and resources. From insects to elephants, we cover creatures great and small!

    safari homepage

    There are three fact-filled new movies you simply have to watch while you’re wearing your BrainPOP safari hat this month.



    In this new movie, Tim and Moby will teach you all about dolphins, a family of sea mammals that includes more than forty different species. You’ll get all the basic dolphin facts, including how fast they swim, how big they can grow, what they eat, and where they can be found. You’ll also learn about echolocation, the sonar-like sense all dolphins use to find prey and avoid obstacles. Tim will show you how an organ called ‘the melon’ emits a series of clicks, and how the return sound waves are received by the dolphin’s jaw! You’ll also learn how these intelligent creatures live and behave, and some of the uses people have found for these highly trainable animals.

    So come on in, the water’s lovely! Dolphins movie.



    What’s black and white and so cute it hurts? A panda, of course! Let Tim and Moby introduce you to the lovable creatures called giant pandas. Find out where in the world they come from and why their natural habitat is slowly dwindling. You’ll also learn another important reason why giant pandas are endangered, as well as just how few are left in the world. Plus, discover what people in zoos are doing to help conserve pandas and bring their population back up. And you’ll learn some basic panda facts, including what they eat, how long they live, and how big they get.

    Have a quick watch of our beloved Pandas movie.

    Jane Goodall

    Jane Goodall

    Introducing the work of Jane Goodall, the remarkable primatologist and anthropologist! Find out how Goodall got her start with the help of a famous archaeologist, and how she came to study chimps in the wild. In this movie you’ll also learn about a few of the discoveries Goodall made throughout her career, as well as how her research helped redefine what it means to be human. Finally, find out why her time with the chimps prompted her to work for environmental and conservationist causes all over the world.

    It’s not all monkeying around: Jane Goodall.

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