Surfing the Net with Kids: Best of 1999

Surfing the Net with Kids: A Helping Hand

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December 19, 1999

Dear Readers,

Welcome back. For my newest readers, let me take a paragraph and point out
two interesting features you’ll find back at the SurfNetKids site. First, the Calendar brings you
three features on a single page: links to site reviews related to upcoming
holidays; links to online educational contests and competitions; and
educational chat events for kids of all ages.
The second feature is only for Webmasters. Are you responsible for the Web
site for your company or school? Then I’m sure you’ll love my free “Did You Know?” Daily Factoid

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Best of 1999

Another year, another four thousand Web sites visited and considered. I’ve
gleaned the following five sites (from the 255 sites that made it in my
column this year) as representative of the educational nature of the
Internet circa 1999. Not only do their topics vary (current events,
geography, language, and science), but they each make use of the
interactive nature of the media in a different way (including Web cams,
opinion polls, quizzes and games). Wishing you a happy and safe new year.

6 Billion Human Beings


“Every second five people are born and two people die, a net gain of
three people. At this rate, the world population is doubling every 40
years. However the United Nations estimates that we will only be 12 billion
in 120 years. By visiting this Web site, you will understand why the
world’s population has exploded in recent years and why it might
stabilize during the next century.” This fascinating exhibit from the Musée
de l’Homme of Paris, France, uses interactive features (“Tell me your age,
and I’ll tell you how many people were in the world when you were born.”)
to personalize your visit.



“Africam welcomes you to the world’s first virtual game reserve.” This
amazing site is a treasure trove of thirteen cams located in five South
African national parks and game reserves. Choose from cams at watering
holes, wild dog cams, elephant cams, even mobile cams operated by park
rangers. Have you ever dreamed of going on a photo safari? Snap a picture
of any of the cams (use the right-hand button on your mouse and choose Save
Image As) and email it to Africam for
possible selection as Picture of the Day. The competition is tough,
however, as they often receive 500 images a day.

Detection Protection


“Microbes are the oldest form of life on Earth. Some types have existed
for billions of years. These single-cell organisms are invisible to the
eye, but they can be seen with microscopes. Microbes live in the water you
drink, the food you eat, and the air you breathe. Right now, billions of
microbes are swimming in your belly and crawling on your skin. Don’t worry,
over 95% of microbes are harmless.” This entire exhibit (from the American
Museum of Natural History) is fabulous, but the best clicks are the
Shockwave games with names like Bacteria in the Cafeteria and Infection!

Junior Scholastic


Well designed and well written, Junior Scholastic Online combines
original reporting with a news quiz (ten challenging questions), an opinion
poll (“Do violent video games affect kids’ behavior?), a geography game, a
research helper, and links to additional news sources. Elementary and high-
school students can find their own grade-appropriate versions by choosing
Scholastic News Online in the drop down menu at the top of the page.

Word Central


“Check out all the stuff at Word Central. Look up words (fast) in the
student dictionary. Or better still, build your own dictionary. Stump your
friends with today’s Daily Buzzword! Try all the games on the second
floor.” My favorite click on this Merriam-Webster site is Build Your Own
Dictionary where you can submit your own made-up words and their
definitions (every family has a few of their own made-up words, don’t
they?) Another fun click is the rhyming MadLibs-like game found in the
Music Room’s Verse Composer.

Surfing the Calendar

Walt Disney’s

Dec 5, 1901

Dec 7, 1941
Ludwig von Beethoven’s

Dec 16, 1770
Wright Brother’s First

Anniversary of
Establishment of Poet Laureate

Dec 20, 1985
Anniversary of First
Crossword Puzzle

Dec 21, 1913
Anniversary of Pilgrim

Dec 21, 1620
Chats & Contests

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Copyright © 1999 Barbara J.

Surfing the Net with Kids