In the mind of a CBE

BrainPOP Meets Bloom’s Taxonomy

Posted by cemignano on

Earlier this month, we introduced you to April’s CBE of the Month, Holly Spangler. We’re excited to share Holly’s thoughtful reflection on Bloom’s Taxonomy and the alignment of BrainPOP’s activities to its educational objectives. 

As educators we understand that well-defined learning objectives should always be the starting point of our instructional design process. Without them, we wouldn’t know what content and activities to include in the lessons we teach our students. We also have to take into account that we have students with a wide variety of instructional needs and learning preferences, and it is important that we differentiate our instruction in ways to meet those differing needs.

So where do we begin this process? One place to start is with Bloom’s Taxonomy, a staple of teacher learning since the 1950’s and revised by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl in the 1990’s. The revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, using verbs rather than nouns, arranged in increasing order from lower order to higher order thinking skills, offers a framework for teachers to structure and understand the learning process. BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr., with their wonderfully informative animated movies and accompanying quizzes, games and activities, provide the perfect match to help teachers structure and differentiate their lessons within the framework of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Teachers may differentiate the content they teach by designing activities for groups of students that cover the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.

This is where BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. come into play! Here are a few ways that students can show their mastery of the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy through activities on BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.:


  • Defining important vocabulary words using the Vocabulary Activity pages on BrainPOP or the Word Wall activity on BrainPOP Jr.
  • Recalling important facts from the movies through BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. quizzes that accompany each of the movies, or by using the Quiz Mixer feature on BrainPOP where teachers can create their own custom quizzes for students. Using the Quiz Mixer, teachers can also differentiate for the varying needs of their students.
  • Matching important concepts to their proper descriptions using the Activity pages on BrainPOP


  • Explaining important terms in their own words through the Vocabulary Activity pages on BrainPOP
  • Comparing and contrasting important concepts from the various topics through the Graphic Organizer Activity pages on BrainPOP
  • Interpreting historical documents and inferring relationships through Primary Source Activities on BrainPOP


  • Applying knowledge learned about a topic in a game format through one of the many games on GameUp. For example, a student can play Guts and Bolts in which they apply their knowledge of organs and body systems to construct replicas of the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems of the body
  • Experimenting with computer programming through coding games on GameUp such as Run Marco, CodeMonkey: Real Coding, Blockly: Maze and more
  • Identifying and highlighting main points of the “Related Reading” section nonfiction articles which accompany all BrainPOP movies


  • Categorizing and sorting information from BrainPOP movies into bins that represent key concepts with Sortify on GameUp. Students group together like tiles and make distinctions between dissimilar or unrelated tiles attempting to accrue the highest possible score to show a their understanding of a topic.
  • Using GameUp’s Time Zone X, students link together different kinds of events and analyze those events thus challenging them to think more broadly about their historical context
  • Classifying animals as invertebrates or vertebrates in the “Talk About It” activity that accompanies the “Classifying Animals” movie on BrainPOP Jr.


  • Battleship Numberline on GameUp has students collecting stars and exploding paper ships by estimating their position on a numberline
  • Using the Graphic Organizer activity that accompanies the “Brown Vs. Board of Education” movie, compare and contrast laws, cases and practices that either segregated or integrated blacks and whites
  • Determining and then supporting best arguments in a variety of court case situations through Argument Wars on GameUp


  • Constructing actual knowledge by making connections between previous knowledge and new information using the Make-a-Map available with all movies on BrainPOP, BrainPOP Jr., and BrainPOP ELL.
  • Testing hypotheses through gameplay with various games on GameUp like Guts and Bolts where students have to arrange and connect organs and body systems such as the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems in increasingly complex configurations
  • Making predictions during gameplay on one of the many games on GameUp that have the SnapThought feature. Students can take “snap shots” at various points in their gameplay and make predictions about what they think will happen next.

These activities are just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to using BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. to help students reach the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I’d love to hear how you use BrainPOP to help your students reach their “full Bloom’s potential”. Please add your ideas in the comment section below.