• 01 Apr
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    We don’t mean to brag – well, we kind of do actually – but we’re pretty well known for having fierce Science topics (we’ve got over 250 now!). But did you know we work constantly to get new topics on the site, every single week, in every subject area?

    In History alone this year we’ve added Maya CivilisationAztec CivilisationInca CivilisationSumerians and Homer to name just a few! And they all slot nicely into our four main History categories:

    • Ancient – the history of major civilisations
    • Evidence – sources from the past
    • Famous People – inspirational people that changed the world forever
    • Modern – find out about UK, European and World History

    But, for the History fan, what’s coming up in the next few months?

    Feudalism

    Feudalism – If you like knights in shining armour, kings, queens, lords, ladies (and plagues) you’ll love this topic! Discover how the Roman Empire broke apart into small, independent kingdoms, and how rulers kept their territories strong by giving land to loyal supporters. Learn about the privileges granted to rich medieval lords, as well as the hardships faced by poor serfs, who performed backbreaking labor for very little reward. Finally, find out what happened to end the feudal system, and how Europe took its first tentative steps toward modernity.

    About 90% of the medieval population was completely uneducated – it’s amazing how a few hundred years can change things isn’t it?

    Middle Ages

    Middle Ages – Life in Europe was pretty tough after the Roman Empire fell. Trade and commerce collapsed, travel was dangerous, and the educational system was so poor that kings couldn’t even write their own names! Nevertheless, the Middle Ages saw the rise of great military and political leaders, as well as amazing artistic, poetic, and architectural achievements. In this forthcoming movie you’ll hear about Charlemagne and William the Conqueror, learn about the feudal system, and find out why tens of thousands of men fought in the Crusades.

    So put on your armour, mount your trusty steed, and joust along with this movie!

    Black Death

    The Black Death – Tim and Moby take you back to 1347 and introduce you to the horrible pandemic that was the Black Death. Discover how many people died and why people may have been so susceptible to it. You’ll also learn about some of the consequences of the resulting mass death, including how the Black Plague contributed to the social changes of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance.

    Thank goodness for modern medicine!

    Vikings

    Vikings – These vicious raiders from the frozen North would attack without warning, loot monasteries and villages, and slaughter anyone who got in their way but if you thought that Viking life was all about violence and plunder, think again. In this forthcoming movie, Tim and Moby explain that these Scandinavian warriors were actually quite civilised, with an advanced legal code, brilliantly-engineered ships, and an unusual respect for women’s rights.

    And did you know Vikings arrived in North America more than 500 years before Columbus? Pretty cool!

    British Empire

    British Empire – Why do more than 1 billion people around the world speak English, drive on the left side of the road, and understand the rules of cricket? Tim and Moby answer that question as they embark on a 400-year adventure through the history of the British Empire.

    Now, grab a cup of tea, stiffen that upper lip, sit back and enjoy! Rule Britannia!

    Keep an eye on our New Movies page to find out the latest additions to the site.

    Back to Ancient Civilisations

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  • 02 Nov
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    Bonfire Night was our first UK specific movie for BrainPOP UK so it has a very special place in our hearts. Not only is it our featured movie this week, we’ve got an exciting tale to share with you all.

    When we were remembering remembering we got a surprising call from the staff at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. The staff had been moving books, scripts and other reference materials to an expansive new warehouse in Swindon when they happened along a faded scroll. They knew to give us a call before packing it up. It looked to be centuries old.

    Upon receiving it, we handled it delicately; upon reading it, we couldn’t quite believe what our dynamic duo had been up to once again.

    Now, where did we put that ruff?

    November 5th, 1605

    “Me thinks that could very well be the most glorious site in all of Christendom, Mobyville!” proclaimed Timothy Cromwell.

    Mobyville nodded as he took in the prospect across the Thames of Westminster Palace. He seemed in a sombre mood much and Timothy well understood.

    In the Crowbottom Inn the previous eve, Timothy had come to overhear a most dreadful discussion; one which would lead him to believe the King was in danger! He called upon his faithful companion, Mobyville, collected their trustie steeds from the stables and galloped all the way to London town. Upon passing the Tower of London, Timothy had a most ominous feeling that chilled him to the tips of his leather boots. He pulled his cape tighter around him.

    After such a long journey, there was no time for hesitation. The forthright companions alighted and made way on foot towards the belly of the Palace, where they felt certain to find a wretched soul in need of education and guidance.

    ‘Beepeth beepeth!’ Mobyville whispered. He’d spotted the cellar door which stood ajar.

    ‘Who goes there?!’ shouted a nervous voice from within. Timothy push-ed the door open with a BANG!

    ‘Lo! Thou distempered flea-biting baggage! What manner of treachery is this?’ Timothy exclaimed.

    A scruffy man stood before them guarding what looked like barrels and barrels of gunpowder. ‘Tis not what you think goodly sires! I merely stand guard o’er these here barrels for t’other goodly sire, Robert Catesby.’

    Before he could provide any further excuse – for Timothy was convinced the barrels were intended to destroy the very building they stood in – Mobyville produced a majestic item. A small fairie-like screene danc-ed with bright lights afore them. ‘Hast thou a name?’ commanded Timothy.

    ‘Guy Fawkes,’ the stranger gulped. Timothy handed over the glowing article.

    ‘Master Fawkes, thou hold’st in your hand, an iPad. ‘Tis from the future. T’will speak of events yet to occur. These are BrainPOPs. They will educate thee. With education, thou may changeth your fate…’ Timothy dazzled Fawkes with a tale of his very own life. A frightening fate awaited him if he was set upon his dangerous plot. And goodly folks would celebrate his end for hundreds of years to come!

    ‘What am I to do?’ As Guy Fawkes struggled with his conscience, there came the sound of hurried footsteps outside and a cry of ‘God Save the King!’ With that, his enlightening companions seemed to be sucked in to the iPad as it fell from his hands to the dustie ground, screen ablaze.

    A King’s Guard pushed Fawkes to the hard ground, holding a sword to his throat. ‘What, pray tell, have we chanced upon here? In the name of the King, I spy gunpowder! And have ye not just thrown down a torch to light them with? Treason!’

    ‘The torch bores no flame, tis an iPad…’ pleaded Fawkes. But before he could defend himself, two guards rushed forth and seized him.

    ‘To the Tower for thee, villainous wretch!’

    And as Fawkes was dragged from his post, he looked to the heavens and bawled, ‘If only I had listened to the BrainPOPpers!’

    Fancy weaving a historical tale yourself? You’ll find lots of hints, tips and handy links in our Weaving Tales Spotlight.



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  • 29 Apr
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    We’ve just welcomed the brand new topics Rise of the Roman Empire and Fall of the Roman Empire to BrainPOP UK.

    When we release new history movies we like to take a look back into BrainPOP’s past, as we recently did when we found Young Cratchface Tim’s Victorian diary.

    Our search eventually turned up a piece of Roman tablet and a curious mosaic, first discovered in Northern England and transported to the BrainPOP archives.

    Once we’d brushed off the dirt we couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we saw the mosaic was decorated with a scene from ancient history.

    We saw someone who looked very much like our very own Moby, standing alongside a young man with brown hair.

    This is the story on the tablet, translated from the original Latin, of what happened on a fateful day in Rome…

    Colosseum, Rome, 88 AD

    “The huge crowd cheered as the mighty Emperor Mobius Orangus Caesar rode in on his chariot. Timonius Questionus knelt in chains at the center of the dusty auditorium. A hush fell.

    ‘Rise and face your Emperor, lowly plebeian!’ a Senator commanded from the podium. Timonius struggled to his feet, for he was weak from days in the dungeons, and looked Emperor Mobius in the eye.  Mobius held his gaze.

    ‘Timonius Questionus,’ the Senator continued, ‘you stand here accused of sorcery. How do you plead?’

    ‘Not guilty!’ exclaimed Timonius.

    The crowd booed. Some even started chanting, ‘Bring out the lions!’ Timonius quaked with fear.

    Mobius raised his hand to placate the baying mob, ‘Beepus. Beepus, beepum.’

    ‘Audaces fortuna iuvat. State your case, Timonius.’ the Senator translated.

    ‘When your soldiers discovered me in my chamber,’ replied Timonius to the crowd, ‘I was not plotting witchcraft with my companions…I was learning in a new way. The large shimmering pool of light on the wall was not a container for evil spirits but a new type of wax tablet, called an “Interactivium Whiteboardius”, filled with the wonders of knowledge, which we call “BrainPOP”!’

    The Emperor looked unconvinced but, being a reasonable robot, he was open to hearing more.

    ‘BrainPOP is a number of moving scrolls and POPparchments, regaling tales of history and war , to which the children of Rome are enraptured and delighted. Truly, it is the future of learning’.

    At this, the crowd cheered. Although famously fickle they were warming to this young man’s bravery. The Emperor considered deeply the young man’s fate.

    ‘Beep!’ said Emperor Mobius, and he raised his orange thumb upwards, a signal that Timonius had won his freedom!

    ‘People of Rome!’ the Senator bellowed to the crowd, ‘Timonius is clearly a wise and educated citizen. He will not be put to death this day. Senatus Populus Que Romanus, I shall make him a member of the Rome Assembly. Long live Emperor Mobius!’

    Smiling, he turned to Timonius.

    ‘You must educate our people, dear Timonius. Let us all bathe together in the BrainPOP pool of enlightenment. Education is key to a prosperous and peaceful Republic.’

    The Senator released Timonius from his chains and Timonius left the Colosseum to spend his days teaching the people of Rome the Mysteries of Life.”

    Timonius’ teachings survive to this day, even surviving the Fall of the Roman Empire in the 3rd century. But that’s a tale for another scroll…

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  • 02 Feb
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    It’s Charles Dickens’ birthday on 7th February and we made his BrainPOP UK movie free to celebrate. We thought we’d also search back through the annals of BrainPOP UK to see what life was like for Victorian children.

    Well, we were overjoyed to find this very special extract from a pupil called “Cratchface Tim” from 1876 which gives us a vivid glimpse of the very first time BrainPOP was used in a school…read on, dear visitor…

    “My breath wheezed into the thick dawn air of Oxford town as I peddled in haste from Cowley proper to Summertown for I was due at Mr Moblingwell’s lesson.

    It was not one and twenty minutes earlier that I had awoken from a delightfully peaceful slumber at my benevolent mother’s cottage so my mind was well rested and well prepared for the morn’s enlightenment.

    The bell tolled upon my arrival at the schoolhouse gate. I bid a hasty farewell to my steed and made my way inside and up the cold winding stairwell.

    I found myself at the schoolroom entrance. Instead of thundering in, as is my usual fashion, I stood in awe.

    In the very place Mr Moblingwell’s chalkboard once occupied, there stood what can only be described as a white board, glowing celestially upon a leggy pedestal.

    I gasped, ‘Sir, what sorcery is this?’

    ‘Ah, dear Cratchface Tim, good morning to you! Fear not. There is nothing here that means you harm. Enter, and let me demonstrate the wonders of this invention.’

    ‘Thank you Sir,’ I murmered, for I was too shaken to argue with the learn’d man, and moved to my writing desk.

    As my school friends bundled in, each with a similar exclamation as I, I lifted my desk top to retrieve my pen and ink. Alas, my tools were nowhere to be found!

    Presently Mr Moblingwell chimed, ‘Yes, young scholars, no writing wares for you this thrilling day. I must tell you that a spirit appeared before me upon the stroke of 7 this morn, err I emptied my chamber pot.

    He was no bigger than I, but had skin of metal. He uttered sounds no man of this goodly earth could yet, implausible as it seems, I was able to understand his mechanical ways and communicated quite comfortably with the orange Sir.

    Lest be assured, dear boys, he bore no ill will toward me. He simply brought me a wonderful gift.’

    And, as Mr Moblingwell gestured at the glowing white board, all of the colours of the rainbow appeared illuminated upon it.

    I can hardly contain my excitement at this juncture, dear reader. This day I shall never forget. For, this is the day I BrainPOPped!

    Powered by just five treadmilling rats and an engine shovellingly fed by Little Billy Weasel, two brilliant academics, borne of BrainPOP, appeared on the magical screen before us.

    My namesake, Tim, greeted us. And, cries of astonishment rang out, for he was accompanied by none other than Mr Moblingwell’s unearthly chum, Moby. These great philosophers took us on a journey through “The Mysteries of Life”, explaining things so advanced and alien it was as though we were learning of things yet to come.

    I have to say it was a joyous lesson. Mr Moblingwell’s fat red face and tremendous belly shook as we all laughed heartily together at Moby’s larks.

    ‘But, how is this learning?’ I asked myself.  Lo and behold, as though he were a witch doctor with the power to read my thoughts, Mr Moblingwell “quizzed” us.

    A small examination proved unequivocally that we had absorbed all of the facts and figures described. Ten out of ten!

    “Hurrah!” we chorused.

    As the clock struck noon, the school bell tolled and the white board’s glow abated. Master Weasel took a chair and the rats were obligingly gathered up in a cage.  Elated, my classmates and I prepared for home. I turned to Mr Moblingwell, ‘Please Sir?’

    ‘Yes boy? Spit it out.’

    ‘Can we have some more?’

    “Cratchface Tim”, February, the year of our Lord 1876. God bless the Queen.

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