BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week App Poster Image

BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week

(i)

 

Wide variety of topics makes for fun, engrossing short vids.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about a wide variety of topics such as American history, economics, art, Internet safety, and healthy eating. In the videos, Annie and Moby present new concepts (how to classify animals) and define new vocabulary words. Kids can test their comprehension and retention after watching a video with short multiple-choice quizzes. They also can form connections among topics by exploring other videos related to something they've already watched; they may even discover a new interest! BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week offers great videos, though kids' learning could be enhanced with interactive elements to encourage deeper, more active learning.

Ease of play

Navigation is simple and clear.

Violence & scariness

Some videos deal with difficult topics, such as war. However, coverage is age-appropriate and included to inform, not shock.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Kids can see a new video released each week for free, though if they want to see all the videos, you'll need to buy a subscription.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week offers videos featuring familiar character Annie and her robot buddy Moby who sweetly and patiently explain and explore a wide variety of topics from health to reading and writing. Sometimes, something unpleasant comes up in a video (such as the Civil War in a video about Abraham Lincoln), but coverage is age-appropriate and shouldn't offend parents or scare kids. Each video has a silly joke that's bound to be funny to this age group, plus a cartoon featuring two fish, one of which often is made out to be a bit dim (but there's nothing offensive, and kids should enjoy the humor -- if they get it). Kids also can take simple retention quizzes and keep track of their scores. The app download and a weekly rotating video plus a few others in the library are free, whereas a monthly subscription gets you unlimited anytime access to all the videos.

What's it about?

Every week, BRAINPOP JR. MOVIE OF THE WEEK features a new video exploring a topic in science, health, reading and writing, social studies, math, or arts and technology. The three- to five-minute videos feature BrainPOP's Annie character and her robot friend Moby as the likable hosts who pose questions and then patiently answer them in kid-friendly ways. By watching the videos, kids can expect to learn about classifying animals, the life of Georgia O'Keefe, reading a calendar, or what to do about bullying.

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Videos introduce concepts, give information, and define new vocabulary words. Each video has two short multiple-choice quizzes (one "easy," one "hard") and a related joke and cartoon strip. A scoreboard keeps track of kids' quiz scores. Subscribers can explore related videos as well as search for any video in the library. Non-subscribers are limited to the once-a-week release plus a few other select videos.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Two major things make BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week a great resource: video quality and topic variety. Videos include nice graphics and animations that convey lots of information but also are appealing to kids. The videos cover a lot of ground but are easy to follow and fun to watch; they'll explain things slowly and deliberately and at a level that's appropriate for young elementary school kids. One week, kids can watch a video on the branches of government; the next week, learn about the musical alphabet; and the next, explore ways to manage anger.

Unfortunately, through all the video watching, the app doesn't offer or suggest opportunities for meaningful interaction. Retention quizzes test mostly superficial learning, and the videos and supporting material can be formulaic. Although the video content is great, it will be largely up to parents to get kids engaged in further exploration of the material.

Families can talk about...

  • Watch with your kids and help them choose videos and explore topics. 

  • Discuss what the video was about, asking open-ended questions addressing what they think about it, how it makes them feel, what they learned, and what else they know about the topic.

  • When kids find something that particularly interests them, help them explore the topic further through books, Internet searches, more videos, trips to museums, and more.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Apps for Windows
Subjects:Language & Reading: presenting to others, writing clearly
Math: arithmetic, fractions, geometry, measurement, probability
Science: animals, ecosystems, plants, weather
Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, global awareness, government, historical figures, history, the economy
Arts: music, painting
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: memorization
Responsibility & Ethics: respect for others
Tech Skills: using and applying technology
Health & Fitness: balanced diet, body awareness, preventing sickness
Pricing structure:Free
Subscription price:Free, $1.99/week, and $5.99/week versions
Release date:December 14, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Arts and dance, Great girl role models, History, Holidays, Music and sing-along, Ocean creatures, Robots, Science and nature
Size:7.10 MB
Publisher:BrainPOP
Version:2.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up

This review of BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week was written by

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