How I Use It
I almost exclusively use this as a hook (to get kids excited about what we're about to learn) or an "intro to new material". The videos are engaging and give kids a great visual introduction to vocabulary. A lot of times we also recreate the animations and examples that are shown in the video, so if they have a model of an earth circling the sun, then we reenact that in class. I have used some other learning materials, lessons, and quizzes, but some are a bit lackluster. I have also let kids skim the site on their own to explore areas that they are interested in.
Overall it is a great as a tool to introduce students to new concepts and for them to get a visual for what they are learning. It can't be used as your whole lesson and students can't watch a video and instantly know the subject materials. Be sure and click through the lesson ideas and activities link, they have some great ideas, but also some lackluster ideas, it would be great to let teachers rate the materials or provide their own additional materials. Also having links to external resources and websites with each video, that extend the learning from the video, would be awesome. My district pays for this product, I can't say I'd recommend an individual teacher to pay for this product, most of the features are available for free other places, just not with quite the same quality. You can find similar videos on YouTube, but BrainPOP videos are well produced and have some great use of vocabulary words. You can definitely find just as good activities and lesson plans other places. I do love that the videos sometimes have questions and pause for the teacher to pause the video and have a class discussion.