No need to go Down Under with robust Aussie science site.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the focus is mainly on education, there are some positive messages -- such as the section describing how DNA was discovered, which gives a nod to gender equality.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this site contains an extensive amount of educational material about science, technology, animals, and more that's based on the touring and permanent exhibits at Australia's National Science and Technology Center. Parents and teachers also can use questions on the site to prompt a discussion before, during, or after going to the museum or visiting the site -- although take note, the site does touch on a couple of controversial topics, like cloning, and while almost all external links lead to university Web sites and other safe outlets, a few do link to personal sites.

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With the amount of fun packed into QUESTACON, there's almost no need to trek down under to visit the actual center. The site offers detailed information -- presented in a conversational tone -- about the center's exhibits and topics. However, the Questacon site isn't just a bunch of articles. Kids will find plenty of activities to do when they're viewing the site and plenty to do later, including easy-to-follow instructions for scientific experiments they can perform at home, like creating a bobbing clown toy to learn how a low center of gravity works. Some are illustrated with short videos. The site also features a number of simple games and some stuff that's sure to pique kids' interest about science, like galaxy photos taken via telescope and information on natural disasters.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why learning about science is important. Why should we understand how things work? How does it help to see how or why things work, as opposed to just

  • reading about them?

  • What are safe games, and what ones aren't a good idea to play? How do you know what to look for in a game you find on a Web site -- and what to stay away from?

  • A lot of science involves theory and experimentation. How do you start trying to prove something when you're not sure if you're right?

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Pricing structure:Free

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