Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
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.Continue reading Show less
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.
Key Standards Supported
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.