Ideas for Using BrainPOP Jr. to Teach Social Studies

BrainPOP Jr. can help you teach and reinforce geography, history, government, economics, citizenship, communities, and other social studies concepts! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Use a single BrainPOP Jr. movie topic over the course of a week to go in-depth on an important concept. BrainPOP Jr. has many features to scaffold student comprehension. You can incorporate a few different features each day and re-watch a movie as a whole class or assign a movie to partners. You can even assign BrainPOP Jr. movies and features as homework. For an overview of all the features click here. For example, for the first day you may want to watch a movie with the whole class, review the word wall, and read POP a Joke. The second day you can have partners watch the movie, take a quiz together, and read the Belly Up. The third day you can have students complete Write About It and Draw About It. You can also select a read-aloud from one of our Read About It book recommendations. The fourth day, you can print the notebook questions and hand them out to students who can use it to take notes as they watch the movie individually. The fifth day, you can complete the Talk About It feature with the whole class and have individuals do the activity and play the Game.

Use all the BrainPOP Jr. movies within a notebook  to help students make connections between topics. For example, when teaching ancient history, you can use the movies and features for all four of the ancient cultures BrainPOP Jr covers. The movies in our governmenteconomics, and citizenship notebooks also work well as a cohesive unit. Use one movie and its features each week. You can even have students create a social studies journal, lap book, or portfolio about the unit you’re studying, and include the printable BrainPOP Jr. resources inside it.

Use BrainPOP Jr to teach about holidays. The holidays notebook includes a movie for lots of major holidays in the United States. Use these movies and features to teach children the history and traditions associated with each one.

Use partner activities to review key concepts. Enrich students’ understanding by watching the movie together as a class and then having partners replay the movie, take notes, complete the features. We suggest that you bookmark the movie topic page before sending students to the computer and assign the partners specific features to complete after watching the movie together. Students can use headphone splitters so that partners do not disrupt the rest of the class as they use BrainPOP Jr.

Use the graphic organizers to help students with comprehension. You may want to draw a graphic organizer on the board (or open a new tab in your browser window and type into the graphic organizer there).  Add details as you watch the movie together. The Talk About It feature provides a discussion prompt and a graphic organizer that students can do with partners or as a whole class. Additional graphic organizers are available in BrainPOP Educators. The Print Notebook button allows you to print all the notebook questions that appear in the movie. You may wish to print them out in advance and give them to students so they can take notes as they watch.

Use the word wall to reinforce social studies vocabulary. Each movie has a Word Wall that contains five key words and their student-friendly definitions. You can print the Word Wall out and make copies for students to keep in their notebooks. You can also add these words to your own class word wall. The Big Word Wall on the homepage keeps track of all the vocabulary words that appear in the movies. Click on all the word cards to reveal their definitions, then project the page for students to see. Invite students to read each definition and figure out the corresponding vocabulary term.

Use Annie’s Notebook to challenge students to think critically about the movie.Click the words “Print Notebook” from any BrainPOP Jr. topic page and get a printable PDF of the questions Annie writes in her notebook during the movie. Students can staple these into a booklet or glue them into journals to create their own notebooks, just like Annie!Challenge students to work with their partners to answer the questions based on what they already know about the topic. After playing the movie, give students time to revisit the questions and update their answers. Annie’s Notebook serves as a great assessment tool to find out what students learned during the movie. Encourage students to generate their own questions that Annie did not answer in the movie, and work collaboratively to find the answers using books, internet research, and other resources.