Melyssa Quintanna is a 7th/8th Grade Literature and Composition Teacher in South Brunswick, NJ.
My students become active participants in their learning when they utilize BrainPOP as part of their research process. With so many sub-topics within the broad categories, students have the option of choosing a topic they find appealing. As we begin our annual research paper project, BrainPOP offers the perfect foundation for students to find a topic of interest to them. They engage in Socratic Seminar Discussion to further explore the concepts introduced.
I set up various laptops around the room with a different BrainPOP video streaming to each. In groups of four or five, the students gather around the laptop and view the BrainPOP video. As they watch, they come up with questions about the topic that could be further explored through their own research. In their small groups, they have a two-minute discussion on the video they watched. When time is called, the groups move to the next laptop and repeat the process. They could just as easily stay where they are and view the next video, but moving around helps address our kinesthetic learners.
At the end of the round robin, we have a big-class discussion in which I pull up some of the FYI information for each topic. By the end of the class period, each student has a basis for making a decision on a research project topic. The following day, my students come to class committed to a research topic. From there, I group them with other students who have chosen the same topic and instruct them to watch the video again. They may use the quiz, activities, and Q & As to begin to make decisions of what they want to explore further with regard to their research project. Students come up with 5-10 research questions they would like to answer through their own research.
The structure and format of the BrainPOP interactive learning environment makes it a perfectly manageable way for my students to begin actively engaging in what sometimes seems to be a daunting research project.
Thanks, Melyssa! Are you using BrainPOP as a resource for research with your students? We want to hear about it! Please share your tips below.