Martin > Links of Interest

 

RESEARCH:  

Word Central: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/word-central

Word Central is an educational site that offers a full children's dictionary, word games, and daily buzzwords. The exercises included on this site give kids an opportunity to better their vocabulary and to learn about the origin of language. Word Central does a great job of catering their definitions to a younger audience and has clearly placed effort on providing appropriate terminology. A "Build Your Own Dictionary" section allows users to create their own words, parts of speech, and definitions. The only advertisements on site are promoting Merriam-Webster merchandise.

 

Smithsonian Education Students:  http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/students

Smithsonian Education Students is a treasure trove of resources for kids who are interested in all sorts of topics like history, science, and cultures, or for kids who are looking for information on a specific subject for a school report. There are games, articles, experiments, a searchable resource library, and more to explore here. For kids who live close to Washington, D.C., or are soon to visit, there's also a ton of information on this site about the current exhibits and events of special interest to kids at the Smithsonian museums.

 

FACT MONSTER: http://www.factmonster.com

This well-organized, kid-friendly mega resource is the place to go for fun facts and homework help. It's brought to you by educational professionals, so no need to worry about the content. The multiple ads per page are the only annoying thing to be found.


 

IPL2 for Kids: tp://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace

IPL2 for Kids is a section of the huge Internet Public Library experimental resource, which is created and maintained by professors and students at library and information science programs. The site is organized by subject and does link to other sites. It may be a bit too cluttered for younger students to find what they're looking for on their own, but for older students, parents, and teachers, it's a well-stocked resource. Kids can submit a question (barring medical, legal, tax, and personal opinion) to a volunteer librarian and receive a well-researched answer back within about a week.

SOCIAL STUDIES:

Enchanted Learning: http://www.enchantedlearning.com

Enchanted Learning is an old-timer on the Internet scene and may not have a lot of the bells and whistles that kids expect, but it does have excellent educational activities, printables, games, and links to even more recommended content. While most of the content is free, it is a member-supported site. If you pay to join, you'll get access to a banner-ad-free version of the site plus printer-friendly pages and exclusive content.
 

KIDIPEDE: History for Kids   http://www.historyforkids.org

The Kidipede history site is a well-organized -- albeit a bit dry -- homework and report helper for middle schoolers. Unfortunately, at least one page that promises to get students "more help" with a topic is actually a broken link. The many flashing ads for things like phone service and credit cards are distracting. One very helpful page is a "How to Cite this Site" page, which kids definitely need as teachers and schools demand better citations of online resources to fight plagiarism.

Scholastic Kids Press Corp:  http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/press_corps/index.asp

Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a news-filled website featuring stories created by a team of kid reporters from all over the country. Kids ages 9 to 14 are encouraged to apply each year to become part of the 50-person press corps and are selected based on their reporting and writing skills. The site is the culmination of the cub reporters hard work and efforts. It features articles, video news reports, and blogs on a variety of topical subjects. Kids will find current news, book and movie reviews, as well as recommendations, entertainment coverage, and blogs. Special reports provide written and broadcast news pieces that are based on central themes such as Olympic coverage or Women s History Month.
 

THE KIDS NEWS:  http://www.htekidsnews.com

HTE Kids News is a current events site designed for elementary school age kids who want to read the news for themselves. All news stories are told here through written text and photos or video. The site says that the topics chosen are all kid-friendly, so kids can read the stories with or without a caregiver present. But parents may want to tell kids they shouldn't post their first and last names when commenting on a story and discuss other rules for appropriate commenting, since the site itself doesn't offer any guidelines.

 

MATH and SCIENCE

NASA KIDS CLUB:  http://kids.msfc.nasa.gov

NASA Kids' Club has games and activities from the space agency. The site doesn't require kids to register or enter an email address to post comments, which are moderated. However, some parts include links to social media, which are less controlled. A section of the site also offers Internet safety tips for parents and teachers.

 

COOLSCIENCEhttp://www.hhmi.org/coolscience/index.html

This educational site offers a wide variety of science-related information, experiments, and interactive opportunities for kids ages 5 and up.

 

CYBERCHASE:  http://pbskids.org/cyberchase

This fun, educational, keep-'em-coming-back-for-more site is the online version of PBS television's popular math cartoon Cyberchase. For kids new to reading, some elements here may be too challenging, while others can be played with a simple knowledge of basic numbers and good listening skills. Kids who are reading independently are likely to find this site highly engaging, whether or not they gravitate naturally to math.

 

MATH PLAYGROUNDhttp://www.mathplayground.com

Math Playground is a site true to its name; it's jam-packed with math problems disguised as fun games. Created by a math teacher and educational consultant, there's nothing fluffy on the site. Games that require specific and complex skills, tutorial videos (made by students), logic puzzles, beginning programming, and an amazing supply of word problems are all here. This site requires the latest Flash Player and Java software; functionality will be missing if you don't have these. Google ads appear on every page.

 

NASA'S SPACE PLACE: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov

NASA's Space Place is a site with interactive games, projects, and facts about space and Earth science. The space-related questions kids submit to the site are sent via Formspring, a Q&A website that launches in a separate window but doesn't require registration. (We don't recommend that young kids register on the site because of inappropriate content, but using the Space Place form without registering is safe. If you do register, the site requires you to enter a username, password, email address, and birthday -- or you can sign in using a Facebook account.)

 

Seymour Simon:  http://www.seymoursimon.com

This science website is mostly a blog and advertising website for the renowned children's science author, Seymour Simon. In addition to a lot of information about his books, there are contests, a science dictionary, one game, and some jokes and riddles for kids. Everything else here tracks more toward adults such as teachers who are looking for classroom information or seeking Mr. Simon for speaking engagements. There are no clearly posted submission guidelines for kids who want to upload photos or videos for use on the site (the rules are buried in the Terms and Conditions), so you may want to discuss with your child what sort of images would be appropriate to send to a science site.


STUDY JAMS:  http://studyjams.scholastic.com

StudyJams! is a free Scholastic site that provides engaging multimedia lessons on math and science, ranging from basic algebra problems to more complex concepts like scientific theory and evidence. The site is ad-free and doesn't collect any information from users. (There's nothing inappropriate for kids under 8, but the lessons may be too challenging for the average kid.)

 

Fact Monster: http://www.factmonster.com

This well-organized, kid-friendly mega resource is the place to go for fun facts and homework help. It's brought to you by educational professionals, so no need to worry about the content. The multiple ads per page are the only annoying thing to be found.

 

Exploratorium  http://www.exploratorium.edu/

The Exploratorium website is a science website from the San Francisco museum of the same name. Kids don't need to register to use the site; the videos, interactive exercises and other features are free. Users are encouraged to follow the museum on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites to post comments and interact with other fans -- but can't comment on each and every section of the site. Many of the videos, for example, on the site don't include comment functionality.

 

CoolMath: http://www.coolmath.com

Coolmath.com is a one-stop math shop for middle and high school students, and also has a helpful section for parents and teachers. There are a lot of ads, but other than that, it's a suitable place for kids to learn math and play educational games.

 

SCIENCE BOB: http://www.sciencebob.com

Science Bob is a website by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder that aims to make science fun and interesting for kids. Although kids are asked to enter an email address, age, and city of residence when submitting science questions to the site, its privacy policy says personally identifiable information won't ever be posted. Parents should also note that many of the experiments on the site require an adult to help out and ensure kids are safe.

 

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