Review by Mary Beth Hertz, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2012
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BrainPOP Featured Movie

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Incredibly engaging cartoons on a wide range of topics draw kids in

Subjects & skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Character & SEL
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (46 Reviews)

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Pros: Kid-friendly and entertaining movies address a wide range of topics.

Cons: The daily featured movie is free, but most videos require a subscription.

Bottom Line: These short videos are undeniably valuable as a teaching tool for elementary and middle school kids.

Elementary and middle school classrooms with one or more mobile devices are a good bet for BrainPOP Featured Movie. With one device, kids could rotate to view videos, or certain students could be assigned to watch a video on a particular topic. If each kid has her own device, teachers could easily incorporate the videos into lessons (provided each student has headphones!).

The quiz is a great way for kids to test their understanding of what they've just seen. However, the 10 multiple-choice questions are limited in how far they can extend learning. One neat function is that the app records high quiz scores, so kids can keep track of which videos they've watched and monitor their learning. Also, of course, if kids share a device to take quizzes, this can add an element of healthy competition.

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Tim and Moby the robot, in a series of animated videos, break down tons of topics from atoms to the idea of … a main idea! With BrainPOP Featured Movie's extensive collection, students can get a fun, free daily dose of information.

The videos play in a large window, and kids can view them in full screen. They can pause, fast-forward, and rewind, and the videos load quickly and have good sound quality. The featured movie is always free, and each subject area has a number of free movies, although many videos require kids to log in with a paid BrainPOP subscription.

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When kids first open the app, they can go to the bottom of the screen to explore an academic subject, or they can watch the featured movie. Related videos sit next to the featured video, so if kids want to keep learning about the same subject, they can immediately go deeper. Navigation is simple, with large and brightly colored buttons and symbols for each subject area, making it easy for kids to find videos on particular topics.

BrainPOP offers Spanish, French, and U.K. English, and each video has subtitles. Overall, BrainPOP Featured Movie delivers a wide variety of content in short, easily digestible videos that kids will enjoy.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

They're funny, they're slick, and they're smart: The cartoon videos in BrainPOP Featured Movie draw kids in, and the brightly colored interface is easy to navigate.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Smart, fun videos have plenty of great content, but without guidance, students may not be using higher-order thinking or problem-solving skills. Assessments can be lackluster and don't let kids apply new knowledge.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Easy navigation, multiple languages, and subtitles make it easy for a range of kids to access content. Teachers can get free lesson plans online. No interactive activities are bundled with the app, although they are on the Web.

Common Sense Reviewer
Mary Beth Hertz Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 46 reviews) (46 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Cristina C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Valhalla Middle High School
Valhalla, NY
Good for intro and review
My overall opinion of this tool is very positive. The students enjoy watching these videos and I like showing them as well. I have used them mostly with 7th and 8th graders. I have also taught an high school class (11th grade) where the students were actually asking if I could show them these videos. :-) These are a cute way to present a topic and they provide many extensions that you can use. My only comment is that sometimes parts of the video are too advanced. These videos are aimed at late elementary and middle school students. Some of the things they mention in the video are concepts that aren't taught until high school. There are times when showing the videos that I have to tell students not to worry about a certain part because we aren't going to be learning about it. I suppose it's good exposure though. Read full review