• 13 Dec
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    Brr.

    Tis the season to be jolly, but also the season to wrap up warm!

    Here’s a selection of winter related topics on BrainPOP UK we thought might keep you occupied in these last few school days before Santa arrives…

    snowflakes

    1. Winter holidays
    2. Avalanches
    3. Hibernation
    4. Snowflakes
    5. Seasons
    6. Flu and Flu vaccine
    7. Solstice and Equinox

    And when the last turkey sandwich has been eaten, and all the needles have finally fallen of the Xmas tree why not treat yourself to our New year movie and see in 2017 in style?

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  • 27 Oct
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    We’re big fans of Halloween at BrainPOP UK and indulging in Mary Shelley’s most famous novel “Frankenstein” is the perfect way to get in the spirit.

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    Although Frankenstein was originally published in 1818 it’s still a huge part of popular culture with huge array of derivative works, adaptations and merchandise.

    Frankenstein’s monster has become one of the world’s most recognisable images and his name has become part of modern vernacular as well – “franken” has become a prefix in its own right like “Frankenfood”.

    In our Frankenstein topic Tim and Moby explore why Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein and the things that influenced her writing as well as how Frankenstein has in turn influenced the science-fiction genre.

    As well as covering the key parts of the story the movie also explains why Frankenstein is considered a Romantic novel and why the Romantics were rebelling against the Enlightenment movement. Plus you’ll discover how the novel’s themes are still relevant in modern society.

    FrankensteinThe activities give students the opportunity to write their own spooktacular ghost story as well as activities covering the details of the novel.

    In the FYI students can learn about adaptations of Shelley’s novel, why Shelley chose “Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus” as the book’s full title, and other famous epistolary novels (and what an epistolary novel is!) and more.

    And if that’s not enough you can channel your inner Dr. Frankenstein and create your own monster and get to grips with different body systems and how they work together in the BrainPOP game Guts and Bolts.

    Screenshot of Guts and Bolts

    Frankenstein and his monster clearly capture students’ imaginations in our lastest badge competition entries Frankenstein’s monster was by far the most popular subject and one of them was chosen as one of our winners; they might be our coolest badges yet!

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    And if that’s still not enough Frankenstein for you then download, print, and cutout our Mobyified Frankenstein’s Monster mask ready for Halloween!

    FrankenMoby mask

    Download, print off and cut out!

    Trick or treat?

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  • 30 Sep
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    Join BrainPOP in celebrating the accomplishments of this truly remarkable woman and Nobel laureate. 

    Wangari Maathai Screenshot

    Wangari Maathai made a huge impact on her home country in a myriad of ways.

    In this topic Tim and Moby explore how Maathai used her knowledge as a trained botanist and her passion for women’s rights and environmental conservation to effect positive change in Kenya – even putting her own life at risk to do so!

    Maathai’s achievements through her lifetime are numerous and she started early.

    She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree and was the first woman to become earn the positions of chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professorship in that region.

    Maathai’s work championing for women and for poor and rural Kenyans, her conservation efforts with the Green Belt Movement, and her work towards political freedom (including successfully running for office herself) earned her the Nobel Peace Prize making her both the first African woman and the first environmentalist to ever receive the award.

    Wangari Maathai Topic Screenshot

    Learn more about Kenya’s history to put Maathai’s work in an historical context and learn about pressing ecological issues like climate change and ‘greenwashing’ in this topic’s FYI.

    In the topic’s activities students must think about Maathai’s work in a political context and consider in what aways she was appealing to her electorate.

    In the graphic organiser students must design a tribute to Maathai in the form of a monument or a statue to commemorate her work on one theme from the following options: the environment, women’s rights, and democracy.

    Wangari Maathai topic screenshot

    Maathai is an inspirational figure and a testament to the difference even one person can make to the world. Explore her accomplishments and the effect she had on both Kenya and the world, what conservation problems are still plague the modern world, and consider how best to honour her legacy.

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  • 13 Sep
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    “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.” ― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

    Roald Dahl 100th birthday

    This year is Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, and we made a short phizz-whizzing “Moby & the Giant Peach” stop motion animation tribute. We hope you like it!

    And if any of you make a video tribute to any of his books, send us a link and we’ll share them on here.

    If you’d like to know more about the author and his stories take a look at our Roald Dahl video, which also has activities, lesson ideas, and much more.

    Have a jumpsquiffling Roald Dahl day, everyone!

     

     

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  • 26 Aug
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    The summer holidays are drawing to a close and it’s time for a new school year.

    The end of August is always a bit bittersweet.

    The idea of being back at school after a long break, especially for children who’ve just finished primary school and are making the transition to secondary school, can feel intimidating.

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    Adjusting back into a learning routine can be difficult, so with that in mind we’ve updated and improved our Back to School movie to help.

    Being nervous is normal

    Being nervous is completely normal and children aren’t alone in feeling that way, especially when moving to a new school.

    For those that are anxious Tim and Moby show a range of appropriate strategies to feel more confident, like asking questions on things you don’t understand and packing your school bag the night before.

    They also discuss techniques to get the most out of school, which can help students focus on what they can do be proactive and make going back to school something to look forward to.

    Set good habits early on

    The movie covers ways to get the most out of the school year like staying on top of your homework, clearing up your desk, and making sure you get the right amount of sleep.

    The importance of friendship

    There are also some ideas to help students make new friends and exploring their interests or discovering new ones, like joining a school club.

    Back to school clubs

    Healthy body, healthy mind

    The Back to School FYI covers often overlooked but key information like preventing back injuries while still carrying around everything you need and interesting facts like Jamie Oliver’s school dinners campaign.

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    Stay positive!

    Finally, the Activities helps students focus on the positives of going back to school and organise their thoughts on how they should properly prepare for going back to school.

    Don’t let back-to-school blues get you down and have a great new school year!

    PS: Don’t forget to be nice to your teachers! They might have back to school blues too! 😉

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  • 16 Aug
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    Reading for pleasure is not just fun it’s also fantastic for literacy and has a plethora of benefits, but it can be difficult to cultivate in some children.

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    An emphasis on reading for pleasure is something the 2014 curriculum for England and Wales and the Curriculum for Excellence Studies both focus on and for good reason. After all, studies have suggested that reading for pleasure has a greater impact on children’s educational achievement than their social class or their family’s wealth and literacy skills in general have a huge impact on social mobility and quality of life.

    It can be difficult to get kids reading beyond what they have to. There’s a few things that can help:

    • Access to libraries
    • Supporting parents and carers to help with their children’s reading
    • Encouraging all kinds of reading (including non-fiction)
    • Children’s book clubs
    • Shared reading initiatives

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    One of the top obstacles to getting kids reading is helping them find things they’ll like – no one likes to read books they’re not enjoying but when you read something you liked but are having difficulty finding other books like it or just you’re not sure what to look for at all it can get really frustrating.

    With the Literary Genres BrainPOP topic students can learn the different kinds of genres and what defines them, why genres are helpful ,and different conventions they’ll find in different genres as well as different techniques writers use to appeal to their target audiences.

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    But it doesn’t just help students talk about literature in their writing and analysis of what they’ve been reading in class it can also help students identify different kinds of genre so they can more easily identify types of books they might want to give a try. Or maybe help them work out that the book they read recently that they really loved was actually science fiction or a thriller – so they know where to look for the next one.

    Students can explore different genres and various well known examples that help define that genre in this topic’s FYI section(and even check out a few in more detail that have their own topics like J.R.R. Tolkien.)

    literarygenres_activity

    And the activities encourage students to think about what they like and why as well as breaking down story conventions from particular conventions into categories – which can help them analyse different books or even to more easily write in that genre themselves!

    I hope you’re ready for the beginning of a literary adventure of epic proportions!

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  • 28 Jun
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    Sun protection is incredibly important.

    Summer is here (well, sort of) and it’s time for sun screen to make its annual appearance in our kids’ school routines.

    SunProtectionQuestion6Image

    Show children why sunscreen is so important

    Different schools have different policies for sunscreen use but parents and the children themselves are often responsible for sun protection during school hours.

    So, unless parents can pop into school to reapply sunscreen at lunchtime, it’s imperative to explain to students (and sometimes parents) how important it is.

    This is why we made a Sun Protection movie, to explain why it’s vital and what students can do to protect themselves.

    Sun Protection

    Moby’s top tips for school compatible sun care!

    • Just because it’s cloudy or rainy doesn’t mean you’re safe from the sun’s rays! UV can penetrate cloud cover so you may still need to use sunscreen. It’s worth checking the UV index for the day, perhaps using an app like World UV which was created by the British Association of Dermatologists and the Met Office. It even tells you when the rating is high enough that they recommend applying sunscreen.
    • Try different sunscreens to find the best fit. Light, hypoallergenic sunscreens are usually the best choice for kids but there are different application choices like sprays and wipes. Wipes in particular are great to use for school as they’re quick and easy plus you don’t have to worry about them being heavy or spilling in their bags.
    • You need to apply more sunscreen than you might think – you should apply two teaspoons of sunscreen to cover your head arms and neck for an adult! For children obviously this depends on age and size but it’s usually best to apply more than the bare minimum.

    SunProtectionScreenshot1

    • Encouraging students to have sun screen buddies to help make sure sun screen has been applied properly. This helps speed things up and makes sure it’s applied properly. We’ve all forgotten to put it on our nose before!
    • The best practice for applying sunscreen according to dermatologists is to actually apply two layers – one 30 minutes before going outside and once again just before. Applying it twice might take some extra convincing but as students are less likely to do a thorough application first time it can really boost their protection.
    • Covering up helps protect you from the sun but it doesn’t help protect you as much as you might think – UV rays are really good at getting through to your skin. For kids that are out in the sun a lot or are particularly sensitive to the sun UV protected clothing can be a good idea.
    • Sun protection is important regardless of where you fall on the Fitzpatrick scale for skin tone! Sun screen is important for everybody.
    • Hats are more than just stylish – they’re useful for protecting heads and necks from the sun.

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    So, enjoy what sunshine we have this year but enjoy it safely! (And with the right hat, stylishly!)

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  • 21 Jun
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    It’s National Insect Week on 20th to 26th June and there’s lots of creepy crawly things going on.

    Honeybees Topic Screenshot

    In celebration of all things chitinous we’ve put together a list of cool events and resources about insects to get excited about for Insect Week 2016.

    Need to identify an insect?

    Never fear the Royal entomological Society is here! You can actually ask one of their experts and even send a picture to find out what your mystery bug is.

    Want to meet some unusual insects?

    There are great events happening all over the country like Meeting a Minibeast at Natural History Museum Tring or the Bug Banquet for Adults at the Oxford Story Museum. Find an Insect Week activity in your area.

    Want to know more about insects?

    There’s lots of great BrainPOP movies on bugs and the things they get up to. Check out our Minibeasts Spotlight to find a whole bunch of them in one convenient place and in the meantime here’s a couple of our favourites to get you started!

    And The Royal Entomological Society has made this great video on why insects are so important:

    We’ll certainly bee wearing our Mo-bee badges with pride this week!


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  • 10 May
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    Theme is an important writing device that can infuse a story with depth and meaning.

    But it can be tricky at first to spot and understand themes let alone learn how to include them within your own creative writing.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 09.46.27

    In our topic Theme, Tim and Moby explore the…well…theme…of themes within the context of their favourite film: Star Wars.

    The themes of Star Wars are easy to understand and identify once you know what you’re looking for, and has the added bonus of being familiar to kids everywhere.

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

    As we all know, it’s much easier to learn if it’s enjoyable – especially when it involves an X-Wing constructed out of cardboard!

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    Our Theme movie depicts Yoda and Jar Jar reenacting the fable of the tortoise and the hare while “Moby-Wan” teaches Tim/Luke about the mysterious ways of the Force.

    • By exploring the rich world of Star Wars, students will discover what motifs are and how symbols are used to reinforce the message an author is trying to deliver!
    • After watching this movie students will learn to pick up details on the importance of plot, setting, dialogue, and characterisation, and how to understand the world of a story.
    • Ultimately it will add another dimension to their film-watching and book-reading experiences.

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    In the activities section, you’ll find a handy graphic organiser that students can use focus on what to look for when they’re looking for themes in a film or book.

    Plus, the activities include a useful exercise to practice their new found theme hunting skills on well known fairy tales like Snow White and Cinderella.

    Finally, use the Lord of the Flies game to examine the themes, motifs, and symbolism in the Lord of the Flies to reinforce how to apply the concepts covered in the topic to more than just Star Wars.

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    May the force be with you!

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  • 24 Mar
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    Did you ever think a Frog would be able to teach number lines?

    Treefrog Treasure, in our GameUp section is a maths game for children to explore fractions and match and/or compare fractional amounts. It’s also one of our most popular games.

    BrainPOP - Treefrog Treasure

    What is Treefrog Treasure?

    It’s an educational game that helps children 7-14 learn number line concepts while jumping, bouncing, sliding, and sticking to walls as a frog character. It develops understanding of fractions, estimating, absolute value, and ratios.

    The game has 3 worlds to complete, with 15 levels per world.

    The challenges get increasingly more complex as the student progresses through the game, but students are always reminded what they have learned when they complete a level.

    BrainPOP UK - Treefrog Treasure end of level

    How will this help with number line practice?

    Pupils, individually, as a team, or on an interactive whiteboard, will have fun establishing parts of a whole and their corresponding fractions.

    When certain obstacles are reached, a player must properly identify a target symbol, whole number, or fraction on a number line to collect gems and complete the level. Hints are provided to help the player reach the correct answer when mistakes are made.

    Success showers the player with gems, which must be collected to increase their final score.

    Is it easy to use?

    Pupils will need to be able to have a certain amount of control with a mouse or laptop trackpad, but that’s it. It’s very intuitive, and once the pupil understands the game mechanic they will happily play with little or no supervision.

    The first few levels do not involve fractions and provide time for students to get used to game play with basic maths skills so that they can focus on the more advanced maths skills later on.

    How can I blend this game into a lesson?

    1. Play our Fractions movie to the class, to make sure the concepts are fresh in their minds, and explain that they will be matching fractions to pictures of fractional amounts in a game called Treefrog Treasure.
    2. Instruct students to begin on the first level if you’d like them to have the opportunity to experiment with how the game works prior to having fractional amounts introduced in it.
    3. Allow students to play the game independently or with a partner (most students will not need instructions for game play and will be able to figure it out as they go).
    4. Draw students’ attention to the hints that are provided if needed. You can also show students how to turn the music off (using the icon in the lower right portion of the screen) if they are distracted by it.
    5. After approximately ten minutes, have students pause the game and talk with one another (or with you via a whole-class discussion) about strategies.
      • How can they tell the correct place to aim their frog?
      • What happens if they aim too low or too high?
      • Which maths skills do they need to be proficient at in order to be successful?
      • Provide additional concept reinforcement with other BrainPOP UK movies about fractions as needed.
    6. Provide another 10-20 minutes for students to finish game play. Any children who finish early can re-play their favorite levels. Some children may not be able to advance past all the levels, but encourage them to work as far as they can.
    7. Extend the learning:
      • Allow students to talk about the fractions they encountered during Treefrog Treasure.
      • Have them draw pictures of some of the fractional amounts from the game, then switch papers with a partner and practise writing the corresponding fraction.
      • Let students know they can continue playing Treefrog Treasure at home if they would like to try to advance through all the levels and beat the game!

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