Review by Shaun Langevin, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2018

BrainPOP Jr.

Top-notch videos and activities a boon for elementary school teachers

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

Skills
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–3
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (102 Reviews)
Privacy (See details)

Take a look inside

1 video | 11 images

Pros: Tons of teacher resources; kids get a vast array of engaging and comprehensive learning tools.

Cons: Videos don't have built-in comprehension checks, and coding activities require additional subscription fees.

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

Teachers can search for specific videos and activities using the search tool, which categorizes content by subject, grade, and state or Common Core standards. Training and PD opportunities, plus resources such as lesson plans, standards alignment, graphic organizers, and more, are available on the BrainPOP Educators website.

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. Try watching the video as a class, pausing once or twice throughout or at the end to check for understanding. Then guide students through the activities you think are beneficial or allow students to choose. These choices include literacy, drawing, quizzes, and more. The recently added coding activities are stellar and extremely helpful for educators who are unsure how to integrate this skill into the curriculum. The real draw is that kids will learn to code in the context of the subject they're studying, producing a program that demonstrates an understanding of the curriculum, not just coding. 

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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, reading and writing, 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 and activities 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 topic at hand. The coding activities (which require an additional subscription fee) come in the form of block programming with Scratch or coding with Vidcode, which do a great job of guiding students and offering hints to help them be successful. Individual student progress can be monitored using the teacher dashboard. BrainPOP Jr. works well on touchscreens and mobile devices.

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 them with conversational and familiar language. They use humor, which is sure to engage. Characters narrate what's happening, ask questions, provide examples, 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. The Scratch-style block programming activities are perfect for all students, while the Vidcode activities will generally be better for older students who have mastered block programming. 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.

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, coding, 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, standard, and grade. Closed-captioning is available on videos.


Common Sense Reviewer
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

Teacher Reviews

(See all 102 reviews) (102 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Steve B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Henry Highland Garnet/PS 175M
Manhattan, United States
An illustrated approach to a cross-curricular bevy of topics
I'm always glad to utilize BrainPop, Jr., when it applies to our instruction, but it would be great if the videos featured interactive checkpoints that allowed students to check their understanding throughout the duration of any selected clip. I also would like for content to be updated more frequently and reflexively given teachers' needs and wants.
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