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Despite some limitations in supporting struggling readers, Wonderopolis offers a solid benefit in its open-endedness. Teachers can make this site into whatever works best for their students. With a new question every day, teachers of early-elementary students could project the question, play the video, and then use the audio recording to go through the (sometimes) lengthy response. Early-elementary teachers may also want to paraphrase the article response, then use one or more of the suggested activities to reinforce the answer and encourage more exploration.
Teachers of more proficient readers -- likely fourth grade and above -- may want to connect the archive of questions to science and social studies units. The activities could lend themselves well to small-group work. However, given the site's inquiry-based focus, it's perfect for enrichment assignments for any student in search of more independent learning.Continue reading Show less
Wonderopolis is an informational site that helps kids ask and answer interesting questions about the world. Every day, a new "Wonder of the Day" question is posted -- each designed to get kids to think, talk, and find learning moments together in everyday life. Sponsored by the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and supported by a number of philanthropic partners, the site provides hundreds of wonder-filled moments for adults and kids alike.
The site's questions cover dozens of categories from animals (Why do skunks stink?) to cultures (What is zydeco?) to history (Who is Uncle Sam?) to science (What is space?). Click any Wonder question to find facts, information, suggestions for further exploration, useful links, and teaser videos.
Wonderopolis could be a useful tool for any inquiry-based elementary classroom. With a new question posed and answered every day, you'll have an engaging and relevant resource to spark students' curiosity. Just plan on scaffolding for your not-yet-proficient readers or for your kindergarten and first- and second-grade students, as the content is not differentiated. The Common Core search option mostly helps narrow the search of the 1000+ questions; the site might help teachers better by offering clearer connections to the standards and explanations.
Each question and its response is accompanied by a variety of resources: video teasers, an audio option, comprehension checks (literal-level), vocabulary terms with linked definitions, and a word-match exercise. Also of note, there are some open-ended extension activities that are more experiential in nature, and bound to engage students.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Informational Text
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.