A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this educational Web site, developed by an advanced government physics lab, provides in-depth science and mathematics lessons and games aimed at high school students and older. They cover electricity, magnetism and other topics, but the main focus is chemistry, including the periodic table, chemical equations, and the basic structure of atoms. The explanations are clear and simple, and the interactive features will help students understand some tough concepts. Still, the activities are not as fun as other gaming and entertainment Web sites; think of this as a cool homework aid rather than a destination site for recreation.
Is it any good?
The JEFFERSON LAB STUDENT ZONE is great as a research tool or study aid; the interactive features can help students learn about some very complex subjects, including balancing equations and the behavior of subatomic particles. The site also explains what happens at Jefferson Lab, a government-backed research institute, and makes the idea of becoming a scientist seem cool and exciting. However, some of the features are aimed more at the intermediate student than beginners; some of the games provide the correct answers but don’t always explain why these are the correct answers. Kids looking for help with their chemistry homework will find this site ideal, but few people are likely to visit just to play the games.
Talk to your kids about ...
How do you incorporate the Internet into education? Do you think Web sites and games can help students learn? Are some sites and games better than others? Can you think of any Web sites that should be off-limits during homework time?
Discuss the difference between using computers to play and using them to study. Technology has much to offer students and teachers, but it can also be a big distraction. Can you think of ways that computers can help you learn? What about ways that computers can distract you from an important task?
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