BrainPOP Recent Topic Roundup: April 2023
Spring is in the air! With new beginnings ahead, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the newest content up on the site. Since our last update in January, we’ve continued to produce brand new topics in math, reading and writing, science, social studies, arts and music, and health and social and emotional learning.
You’ll find more than 1,200 topics on BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. in all major subjects across the curriculum—and the Editorial Team is always hard at work creating new topics and updating existing ones. All BrainPOP content is designed to meet a wide range of standards, so teachers can always find relevant, engaging topics to support their lessons and drive learning outcomes. Here’s a look at what has been keeping us busy in recent months:
New on BrainPOP
Multiplication (update): It’s useful to know how to multiply—to feed groups of hungry animals at the zoo, and to quickly add up other groups of the same size. Multiplication is basically repeated addition. Instead of adding up a problem like 4 plus 4 plus 4, it can be rewritten as 3 sets of 4, or 3 times 4, which equals 12. The numbers being multiplied are called factors, and the answer is the product. One helpful tool is the multiplication table: If kids work on memorizing it, they’ll soon be whizzes at multiplying!
Division (update): Teach students about division, and help Tim, Moby, and friends divvy up the loot from their heist! Division is the splitting of large numbers into equal groups of smaller numbers. You can think of it like repeated subtraction. The number being divided is called the dividend, the number being divided by is the divisor, and the answer is the quotient. Check the answer by multiplying the quotient by the divisor—if the answer is the dividend, you’ve done it right.
Long Division: Tackling multi-digit dividends and divisors can sometimes feel like herding cats. But the standard division algorithm, also called long division, will help students break big division problems down into a series of small, manageable steps. Just divide, multiply, subtract, bring down, and repeat. Watch Mateo and Moby demonstrate how to use the same process with one- and two-digit divisors, with and without remainders.
Classifying Polygons: Help your students get their polygons into shape! Teach them how to classify polygons according to their properties, like how many sides they have. They can group triangles by their angles, and quadrilaterals by whether or not they have parallel sides or right angles. Kids will also learn about how to identify congruent sides, angles, and shapes, and how to find lines of symmetry.
Comparing Fractions: Not all fractions are created equal, so students should know how to compare them! You can plot fractions on a number line to find out which one’s larger. Or, if the denominators match, you can look at the numerators: The larger number indicates the larger fraction. If the denominators don’t match, you’ll have to rewrite one—or both—fractions so that they have a common denominator. Even a mixed number can be compared to a fraction if you rewrite it! So use this topic to teach your students about comparing fractions—their understanding will be greater than it was before!
Place Value: What is it that makes the number 24 different from the number 42? Place value, the secret sauce behind our entire base-10 numbers system! Place value says that a digit’s position within a number determines its value. Press “play” to learn what those positions are, how they relate to each other, and different ways to express both whole numbers and decimals.
Multi-Step Word Problem: From dividing up costs with friends to comparing cell phone plans, knowing how to do word problems is a skill that’s useful for life. Luckily, the same basic process—plan, solve, check—can help you out whether you’re aged nine, 19, or 99. To get the right answers, you’ll first plan how to tackle a problem, like maybe using models or visualizations. Then you’ll solve, using variables for unknown quantities. And finally, you’ll check your answer. Easy-peasy, right? Go forth and calculate!
Recycling (update): Develop students’ Earth awareness by showing them the ins and outs of recycling. Each different type of material goes through a different process—that’s why sorting is so important. Paper, aluminum, and glass can be recycled in most places. Some plastics are recyclable, too. But others are difficult or impossible to recycle. Teach students about how to properly recycle, and when they might reduce or reuse instead.
Potential Energy (update): Open students’ eyes to potential energy. One of the two major forms of energy, potential energy is all around us—and even within us. But all that potential doesn’t stay stored away forever. Whenever there’s movement, it’s because potential energy is being transformed into kinetic energy. From falling cookie jars to electric shocks, this form of energy is behind all the action in our world.
Earth Day: Inspire students to help the planet. Every April 22, people around the world celebrate Earth Day by stepping up for the environment. It all started in 1970, when millions of people across the U.S. took to the streets and parks for the first Earth Day. Since then, Earth Day has grown into a global event, with a focus on the biggest threat to our planet’s health: climate change. The environmental movement’s famous slogan, “reduce, reuse, recycle,” gives us a simple guide to making a difference.
WWII Causes (update): World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history—so what exactly caused it? It started with World War I, which left much of Europe in ruins—and in debt. In Germany and Italy, fascist dictators rose to power promising a return to greatness and blaming scapegoats for the country’s problems. Once in power, they started invading other countries. Other European nations wanted to avoid a war, and so didn’t challenge the conquests. But when German dictator Adolf Hitler invaded Poland, its allies, France and Britain, were forced to declare war. Meanwhile, Imperial Japan was conquering parts of China and Southeast Asia. The rest of the world stayed out of the conflict, but the U.S. cut off trade to Japan. The bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, brought the U.S. into the war, making the conflict between the Allies and the Axis powers truly global.
Easter: Teach students about the holiday that celebrates Christianity’s central belief: the resurrection of Jesus, whom Christians believe is the son of God. He was a preacher whose ideas attracted many followers. But the Roman authorities saw him as a threat, arrested him, and sentenced him to death by crucifixion. According to the Christian Bible, he rose from the dead three days later. In the weeks before Easter, many Christians observe a solemn period of reflection called Lent. It ends in Holy Week, which leads up to Easter, a day of great celebration. Some of the holiday’s traditions are based on spring celebrations of older religions, like the Easter bunny and eggs, and plenty of people participate, whether or not they’re religious.
Arts and Music
Alvin Ailey: Learn about Alvin Ailey, a choreographer and dance prodigy who brought African-American culture to world stages. Ailey took his first dance class at 18, and four years later, he took over a major modern dance company. After moving to New York City to dance on Broadway, he created the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). His most famous piece, “Revelations,” traces the journey of African Americans from enslavement to freedom, and remains the most seen modern dance work of all time.
Health and SEL
Friendship: Teach students to strengthen their friendships through strong communication and being open about their needs and boundaries. Having friends feels good and is good for us, but sometimes friendships change over time or there’s friend drama, which can feel overwhelming. Encourage kids to talk through conflicts, and to seek out support from a trusted adult if they need it.
New on BrainPOP Jr.
Counting 20 to 50: What number comes right after 20? What number comes right before 50? In this math movie, Annie and Moby count from 20 to 50, and practice using a number line to count on and count back.
Counting 50 to 100: What number comes right after 99? In this math movie, Annie and Moby practice counting from 50 to 100, with emphasis on learning the landmark numbers. They also explore a hundred chart to help them count.
Reading and Writing
Gh: In this phonics movie, Annie and Moby practice reading words with “gh,” and explore words like “light,” “eight,” “caught,” “though,” and more! They also model helpful strategies for reading these tricky words.
We’ll continue to share periodic updates on the blog, so keep an eye on this space for newly released topics.
Denesha Williams is production manager on the BrainPOP Editorial Team.