Review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2017

BrainPOP Jr.

Top-notch educational videos a boon for elementary school teachers

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (97 Reviews)

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Pros: You get oodles of support, and kids get an endless array of engaging and comprehensive learning tools.

Cons: Some students may want to skip directly to the games instead of first watching the videos.

Bottom Line: BrainPOP Jr. sets the bar for top-quality online learning supplements.

Much of the curriculum-based content is aligned to state education standards. Teachers can search for specific videos and activities using the search tool, which categorizes content by subject, grade, and state standard. Training and PD opportunities, plus resources such as lesson plans, standards alignment, graphic organizers, and more, are available on the BrainPOP Educators hub.

Short films are a terrific introduction to any topic. Use the videos to spark kids' interest on a new topic or to reinforce what they've already learned in class. You could even have students make their own short films on one of the topics they've explored or connect video content to other non-digital activities. For instance, have them watch the video about the water cycle, then follow it up with related games or outdoor activities.

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BrainPOP Jr. is a subscription-based educational video, game, and activity site for students in kindergarten through third grade. The main page is divided into math, language and reading, science, social studies, health, and arts and technology. First, students choose one of the six main subjects. When they click the subject, it gets broken into more specific categories. Under each category, individual video topic pages appear. 

Students can learn about everything from telling time, internet safety, and ancient Rome to dental care and getting lice (what it's like, not how to get it!). Central to BrainPOP Jr. are the videos, which feature recurrent cartoon hosts. Another key feature is the video of the week that highlights a single topic. The site includes tools for making concept maps, building quizzes, and written reflections within the games. Individual student progress can be monitored using the teacher dashboard. BrainPOP Jr. works well on touchscreens and mobile devices.

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Bold, colorful graphics and punchy music on BrainPOP Jr. should be inviting to young kids. Students should also relate well to the young animated hosts who speak directly to students. These characters use conversational and familiar language. And they use humor, which is sure to engage. With these characters as leaders, teachers may not have to do quite as much initial hand-holding as they would with other products. There's also excellent balance within any given video. Characters narrate what's happening, ask questions, and define terms that may be difficult to grasp. This varied approach to teaching will likely suit many types of learners.

While the videos are the centerpiece, there are also tons of printable activities, games, and quizzes (easy or hard, printable or online) that help round out the experience. Furthermore, kids who struggle with reading can get added support, as videos and activities are audio- and visual-heavy. Overall, BrainPOP Jr. is worth the subscription fee. You can't beat high-quality educational videos, games, and activities coupled with your focused and supportive help.

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Overall Rating

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

Friendly cartoon characters discuss dental care and ancient Rome (although not at the same time) in these brief, engaging videos followed by fun activities and games.

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

Students can adapt gameplay by choosing easy or hard quizzes and exploring topics through writing, drawing, talking, or reading. A narrator reads instructions aloud if students scroll over the words.

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

Teachers and parents can use the search tool on the BrainPOP Educators page to search for related content by state, subject, and grade. Closed captioning is available on videos.

Common Sense Reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Jenny F. , Special education instructor
Special education instructor
[email protected]
Astoria, NY
Great way to engage students in new concepts.

I think this tool has made significant improvements that make it far more suitable to the special education classroom. It is a valuable teaching tool as it provides exposure to concepts and facts in a way that is engaging to students. I have never looked for a theme or concept and not found a Brainpop Jr movie. I think it is good for collaboration and communication and also individual work. It is also accessible to students at many levels. Sometimes I feel that the movies are a little fast-paced for some of my students and would prefer if they used less complicated sentences. However, most students can follow them after a few viewings. The assessment tools are very useful to tell which students have understood the concepts.

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