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I Was Wondering
Pros: Girls read about and interact with real female scientists.
Cons: Learning is fairly passive, and there's limited interaction.
Bottom Line: I Was Wondering can be a good starting point for girls to explore a life in science.
I Was Wondering is a good resource for teachers who want to encourage female students to explore science careers. It's a great starting point and offers a way for girls to connect to real scientists, although the contact is pretty limited. The site itself is pretty limited, too, but it could be a fun way to introduce middle school girls to the possibility of a career in science.
In I Was Wondering, an animated girl named Lia guides visitors as they explore the site's four sections. Kids can browse profiles of a diverse group of female scientists, including a robot designer, a bone detective, and a gene modeler. Each profile contains a variety of content appealing to adolescent girls, such as animations, videos, comics, and hands-on activities. The scientist profiles contain audio feedback from Lia and video clips showing scientists at work. The comics and text passages are at a reading level appropriate for middle schoolers.
An interactive timeline highlights accomplishments of important female scientists during the past 30 years. When kids click on the name of a scientist, they can read a brief biography and a quote. A few games present science concepts and encourage girls to practice the scientific method. Kids can do a scavenger hunt in outer space and learn interesting facts about gorillas.
Kids need an account only if they want to post questions for real scientists. They can read other girls' questions and check the progress of their own.
I Was Wondering encourages girls to ask questions about the world around them and introduces them to science careers. Even more, feedback from real women in science can motivate continued interest in science.
The hands-on activities are well-designed and simple. They require only safe tools and household supplies, like soil or baking soda. Included are downloadable worksheets for recording data and making reflections. Also, in each section, Lia narrates the page for those who might need support.