What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this upbeat site from the National Academy of Sciences celebrates the achievements of a diverse lineup of women scientists and encourages girls to pursue their own scientific interests.
What kids can learn
- academic development
- achieving goals
Engagement, Approach, Support
Multimedia profiles of female scientists will appeal to kids, although interest is likely to fade after a few visits. An attractive design and interactive features like games spice things up a little.
Female scientist profiles are diverse and include audio, video, and hands-on activities. Kids can ask questions and get answers from real scientists. Games reinforce some scientific concepts.
There's no help section, but information is straightforward. Social interaction is limited to the Q&A with scientists. Audio narration makes the site accessible to most.
What's it about?
I Was Wondering includes bios of 10 pioneering female scientists, exploring their lives, what they study, and how their work has made an impact on the world. In addition to reading bios, users can conduct experiments (offline), play a few games, and view videos and web comics.
Is it any good?
I WAS WONDERING gets an A+ for helping dismantle the myth that girls and women aren't good at -- or interested in -- science. A companion project to a series of biographies about pioneering female scientists, the site takes a creative approach to telling these women's stories. Through pictures, games, and cool web comics (with characters who look a bit like The Simpsons), visitors learn what sparked each scientist's interest in her specialty and get a chance to step into the shoes of a gene hunter, space geologist, climate modeler, and other experts. Colorful and current, the site also illustrates the connection between science and positive social change. One drawback: The section that allows users to register and ask a science question appears to be down, which limits the site's interactivity.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about mentors and role models. Is there a teacher, coach, or other adult in your life who helps you work toward achieving your goals? What "everyday people" (as opposed to celebrities) do you admire, and why?