BrainPop

Common Sense Media says

Videos and activities are fun, accurate, and valuable.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
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13
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

By encouraging kids to follow up video learning with interactive elements such as games, quizzes, and printable activities, BrainPop sends the message that learning is fun.

Violence

The U.S. History section contains some very serious war- and terrorism-related topics, including the American Revolution, Civil War, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the September 11, 2001 attacks. For example, in the lesson related to the September 11 terrorism attacks, an animated video of an airplane crashing into a building is shown, as well as the Twin Towers collapsing. That said, the lessons generally handle these moments in history with skilled sensitivity. BrainPop includes a message before playing the videos that explains: "This movie contains a sensitive subject. Please watch this movie with an adult, and take time to discuss it."

Sex

The Health section contains videos that discuss topics such as puberty, male and female reproductive organs, fetal development, and motherhood in careful, educational ways.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This is a subscription service, so the upside is no flagrant ads, but users have to pay a monthly ($9.95/mo. with a one-year commitment) or yearly ($99) fee. You can try the site with a free trial membership. Games in the GameUp section are always free.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lessons and videos that address smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs, and general addictive behavior all contain the messages that using addictive substances is dangerous and isn't healthy or cool.

Privacy & safety

To join, you need to provide basic information such as email, name, state, payment information, and whether you are a school, teacher, or parent.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that BrainPop is a paid subscription site (with some free content available to anyone, such as games and some videos) that contains animated content, much of which is aligned to state education standards. BrainPop is designed for kids in fourth grade and up. Lessons begin with a brief animated video and include a wide variety of school- and life-related topics, some that are difficult but handled quite sensitively, including lessons on terrorism, war, sexual reproduction, and alcoholism. There's also a companion site for younger kids, an educational gaming site called GameUp, and a Spanish language site. Families pay $99 a year or monthly with a year commitment; homeschooling families, schools, and other organizations pay more.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling
  • text analysis
  • vocabulary
  • writing

Math

  • ratio
  • algebra
  • arithmetic
  • geometry
  • measurement
  • probability

Science

  • astronomy
  • biology
  • ecosystems
  • energy
  • gravity
  • life cycle
  • motion

Social Studies

  • government
  • historical figures
  • history
  • the economy
  • citizenship
  • cultural understanding
  • events

Arts

  • dance
  • drawing
  • film
  • music
  • painting
  • photography
  • sculpture

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • making conclusions
  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • academic development

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Use of animated characters and sly sense of humor make for an engaging learning experience. Games offer kids a chance to get more deeply involved in the subject matter.

Learning Approach

A wide range of videos broken down into content areas and then specific topics touch on all the main areas of a curriculum. The interactive elements, such as the games, allow kids to learn in multiple ways.

Support

A help section with frequently asked questions is readily available, as is a tour of the site. English-language learners can access BrainPop ESL (though it's not included as part of a BrainPop account.)

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • storytelling
  • text analysis
  • vocabulary
  • writing

Math

  • ratio
  • algebra
  • arithmetic
  • geometry
  • measurement
  • probability

Science

  • astronomy
  • biology
  • ecosystems
  • energy
  • gravity
  • life cycle
  • motion

Social Studies

  • government
  • historical figures
  • history
  • the economy
  • citizenship
  • cultural understanding
  • events

Arts

  • dance
  • drawing
  • film
  • music
  • painting
  • photography
  • sculpture

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • making conclusions
  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • academic development

Kids can learn accurate, age-appropriate information about specific topics within the Sciences, Math, English, Social Studies, Engineering & Technology, Health, and Arts & Music. From gravity to famous scientists and cell phones to soccer, BrainPop helps kids learn through videos, games, and quizzes. Kids can also use their critical thinking skills to make connections between topics in the same and in different subject areas, helping kids build the concept that most learning, if not all, is interconnected. BrainPOP is a standout website for helping kids learn a well-rounded variety of information.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

There is limited free content, so to get the most benefit from this site consider trying the free trial subscription. If your kid likes BRAINPOP's format and content, purchase the subscription. Once kids choos a topic (such as history, math or health) and a video within that topic, they press play and watch the few minutes-long video. Each video is accompanied by interactive activities and quizzes that reinforce what kids have learned. GameUp offers unique games that explore concepts in math, science, health, and technology.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BrainPop is a standard-bearer for quality, self-directed online educational content for older grade school-age kids. This interactive site includes videos, audio prompts, graphics, and games in a blended format that will be very familiar to most kids. Kids can spend hours on this site exploring many of the main topics that contain more sub-categories, like the science and math sections. There are some sensitive topics addressed here, such as war and terrorism, but kids are warned to get a parent or teacher to watch that video with them prior to clicking play. A year's subscription is worth it because there's at least a year's worth of content for a kid to explore on BrainPop.

Most games are clever, creative, and address learning concepts not traditionally explored in this format, such as the Judicial Court where kids argue court cases at the Supreme Court. They also offer kids a really nice way to actively engage with the subject matter.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about any of the videos on BrainPop that pique your kid's interest, but especially those that are emotionally or intellectually challenging, such as those that address difficult times in history like war and terrorism, social problems, as well as personal health and physical development and videos that contain warnings about smoking cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol use.

  • Talk about the different ways of learning. Do you remember more when you have an activity to do after watching a related video?

  • Families can also talk about other educational sites that benefit learning and where to find reliable information online.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:$205-$1,495
Pricing structure:Paid

This review of BrainPop was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old January 14, 2013
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

BrainPop!

I didn't know about BrainPop until I went to middle school. I instantly loved it. It's a really good website for learning. I don't have to pay for membership because my school has a login username and password which I can use anytime, anywhere. All my teachers use it everyday and it's fun. Tim and Moby are entertaining and even though Moby doesn't speak English, you can tell what he's saying because of Tim. There's a joke at the end of each video (but sometimes corny). There's a 9/11 video, but you get a warning that it contains harsh topics before you watch the actual video and you can choose not to. Everything Tim and Moby teach is very educational. There's also a gaming section, where users can play educational games. They're pretty fun. I recommend Argument Wars. It's really fun. Overall, this website is really fun and educational. You should definitely get a membership.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byHeretohelp26 January 15, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Great site

I think it's a great learning site but sometimes they say the word "sex"
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old January 15, 2013
AGE
4
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

silvonadux

I used to homeschool with my mom and we found brainpop! This is a totally safe website that explanes ways to do math,(division, fractions, geometry, algebra, etc.) more stuff for school, (world studies, art, music, culture, science, computers, etc.) and even things in our everyday life! (bullying, internet safety, hobbies, puberty, health, athsma/ allergies,cyberbullying, etc. etc. etc.) some schools use them for examples sometimes! And they have little quizes and activities and even some humor in most of their videos. To make a long review short, I'd say that THIS IS THE ONLY SCHOOL THAT'S FUN!!!
What other families should know
Great messages

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