New on BrainPOP

TWO New Movies: Jamestown, Parts I and II. 

Posted by Dana Burnell on

For the first time, BrainPOP has created a two-part movie! We are excited to present these two new additions to our Colonial America unit. In Jamestown, Part 1, Rita and Moby explore the beginnings of the first British colony in North America. Students discover why the British were late to colonization, and the unexpected challenges the colonists faced when they arrived:  swamps, starvation, and dwindling supplies. The movie also addresses how the powerful confederacy of Native tribes called the Powhatan reacted to having their lands occupied. Part 1 concludes with John Smith emerging as a leader of the British settlers, managing to forge a shaky alliance with the Powhatan—but how long could this coalition last? 

Jamestown, Part 2 opens with growing tensions between the settlers and the Powhatan along with other challenges, such as the colonists inability to grow food due to the harsh climate. What became known as the Starving Time would have permanently marked the end of the alliance with the Powhatan if not for Pocahontas’ marriage to settler John Rolfe. Meanwhile, Rolfe was able to improve Jamestown’s financial situation by successfully growing a lucrative cash-crop, tobacco. But as life improved for the settlers, others paid a high price. Enslaved Africans were brought to America to work on plantations, and the Powhatan soon lost more of their land and power. In the end, Jamestown successfully founded the first legislative assembly in the North American colonies, but its social structure was dependent on unpaid labor and the loss of Native American heritage. Meanwhile, colonists’ began to wonder about distancing from Britain and beginning to self-rule.  

For guidance exploring this topic see our Jamestown, Part 1 lesson plan, which helps students connect to the topic through identification with the settlers’ experiences. Our Jamestown Part 2 lesson plan focuses on what led to Jamestown’s prosperity. 


Create a whole unit around Colonial America with these related topics:  

Building the Thirteen Colonies
Salem Witch Trial
Coming Soon: Pocahontas. 


Also, see our blog about Inclusion and Representation in BrainPOP Content