Another year, another five thousand Web sites visited and considered. To sum up the year, I've chosen the following five sites (from the 255 sites that made it in my column) as representative of the educational nature of the Internet circa 2000. Their topics vary (history, health, math and geography) but they each make use of the interactive nature of the Internet to teach us something interesting. Wishing you a happy and safe new year full of educational opportunities!
"Board games were very common in ancient Egypt and people from all levels of society played them. Many game boards from ancient Egypt have been found by archaeologists." This British Museum exhibit presents a marvelous interactive overview of ancient Egyptian life. Each of the ten topics (for example Pyramids, Geography, Pharaoh) feature a Shockwave challenge such as playing a board game or matching tools to the correct tradesman. Teachers will find curriculum notes in the Staff Room.
"Calling all kids. Ever wonder how your body works? What makes you sick? Or how to keep safe? Get all the answers to your health questions in this kids only section." This comprehensive site (created by the nonprofit Nemours Foundation) is one the best of the year because of its depth, breadth and excellent organization. For example, listed under "People, Places, & Things That Help You Feel Better" are articles on Going to the Dentist (filled under People), What Happens at the Emergency Room (found under Places) and Living with Braces (listed under Things).
Not just an online version of a printed atlas, National Geographic's Map Machine lets you create and save your own customized maps. A few examples of your mapping choices include Degree of Ecosystem Threats, Annual Precipitation, Recent Earthquakes or Mineral Resources. Of course, political maps (as well as flags, statistics and all the country stuff you need for school reports) are also available. The quality and variety information (as well as the fun factor) make the Map Machine one of the best of the year.
"Renaissance, French for ï¿½ï¿½rebirth,' perfectly describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. During the era known by this name, Europe emerged from the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the Renaissance was an age in which artistic, social, scientific, and political thought turned in new directions." In addition to well-written articles, annotated Web links, and a soothing design, this Annenberg/CPB Project site includes some interactive activities.