Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Try Curiosity

The 50 Best Websites of 2011 by TIME magazine included a site launched in 2010 by the National Center for Family Literacy.  Chief financial support for Wonderopolis comes from the Verizon Foundation making Wonderopolis a member of the Verizon Thinkfinity group.  Inspirational code words at the site include:  create, laugh, imagine, explore, learn, smile and grow.

Did you ever wonder why dogs chase their tails, if woodchucks really chuck wood or how much rain can a cloud hold?  Those questions and 577 (and counting) others are answered daily through the Wonder of the Day.  Each Wonder of the Day is designed to educate but with a high fun factor.

Click on the question to be taken to another screen which addresses the answer in many different ways.  Each page begins with a pertinent video.  This is followed by other related questions (Have you ever wondered...), a descriptive narrative (Did you know?), additional activities (Try it out!), a list of corresponding terms (Wonder words to know and use), more fun things to do (Still wondering?) and a hint of the next Wonder of the Day (Wonder what's next?).

At the bottom of each Wonder viewers can post a rating and comment.  Wonders can be shared on Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Thinkfinity Community, Facebook or via email.  A print option is available also.

Users can enter in keywords, tags, to locate questions or toggle through previous postings by clicking on the arrows. Trust me when I say you could be here for hours. 

 One unique feature is a Wonder can be nominated by completing an online form. 

A Wonderopolis app is now accessible for iPhone and iPad as well as Android users. 

The Wonderopolis team offers a widget by easily embedding HTML code into a website or blog that is updated daily with a new Wonder of the Day.

Who doesn't want to make learning fun?  Wonderopolis does but offers other possibilities.  Wouldn't it be great to generate a list of questions?  Students could check the site to see if they have been answered which teaches thinking of keywords and keyword searching.

Show students the form for submitting a Wonder.  Searching could be done for videos or images that match any given question.  Students would need to formulate a reason for wanting a question to be considered as a Wonder of the Day.

To be sure Wonderopolis is instructional but it's so entertaining you won't be able to resist repeat visits.

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