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Wolfram Alpha



Storehouse of data answers kids' questions -- if specific.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn anything that can be calculated from data in one of Wolfram Alpha’s databases. They cover hundreds of (but not all) topics; kids can ask about aluminum production, mold spores, or the weather on the day they were born. Answers often go beyond a simple response with definitions, data tables, graphs, and charts; this is particularly well done with math problems. Wolfram Alpha is strictly a reference site -- it provides the answers, but what happens next depends on the questioner.

Positive messages

Wolfram Alpha encourages kids to ask questions and think creatively.


Kids can access facts and data related to violent crimes.


Kids can access facts and data related to the human body and crimes of a sexual nature.

Not applicable

No advertisements, except for Wolfram Alpha Pro subscription, which allows users to upload files and get customized reports.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Kids can access facts and data related to drugs, alcohol, and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wolfram Alpha is not a search engine, though it may look and feel like one. The difference? A search engine points to millions of pages it thinks has the information you want. Wolfram Alpha uses data to calculate and deliver the specific answer. For kids, this means they must ask factual questions and at times, phrase them a certain way. Think "what," "when," "where," and "how many" instead of "why." Plenty of help on the site, including question suggestions will show you what to do.

Parents say

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What's it about?

Simply enter a question into the search box and WOLFRAM ALPHA will go off to calculate the answer. Questions must be factual and specific, but don't need to be super scientific or technical. For example, \"How many calories in 10 jelly beans?\" is valid but \"How many calories in a candy bar?\" or \"How are jelly beans made?\" are not. Plain English is accepted as well as math problems; try \"gas prices 1980\" and \"2 * 9 - 8 + 7.\" Detailed reports provide the answer as well as links to related topics.

Is it any good?


As long as the data is available, Wolfram Alpha is an impressive number cruncher. It's back-end processing is fast and the answer reports are well designed, downloadable, and shareable. No doubt it's useful and a data junkie's dream, but it will be hit or miss with kids. Unless they have a paid Wolfram Alpha Pro membership or a school assignment requiring use of the site, kids' interaction will be over in two steps: 1) ask a question and 2) read the answer. Curious kids may be fine with that and find its wide range of data fascinating. Kids with specific interests (bridges, football, acoustics, movie budgets) will enjoy the deep dive on their own. And some kids may have no interest in it at all. Language skews toward adults, particularly when more info is needed to narrow down the question.

Families can talk about...

  • Talk about quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data deals with numbers and measurements, while qualitative data relates to descriptions and observations. Which data is most important for choosing a college? Knowing when it's time to water a plant? Deciding to pass the ball or kick it? Purchasing a car? Asking for a date? Discuss the role of data in everyday decisions.

  • Check out some of the data Common Sense Media has collected about smoking, alcohol, and junk food ads in the media as well as our tips for combating unhealthy messages.

Website details

Subjects:Science: biology, measurement, physics
Math: measurement, statistics
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, asking questions, collecting data
Pricing structure:Free, Paid

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written bybillylinburg September 8, 2016

AMAZING For Homework!

This website it GREAT for tedious homework, or even just learning how to calculate pretty much anything! You can, if you want, just plug in your equation or whatever problem you have and just get the answer, or you can search more broad about that type of problem to learn more about it/how to do it.


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