December 31, 2000
Welcome back and Happy New Year! I hope you enjoy the
holiday surrounded by loved ones.
David, age 4 from Zimbabwe, sent us this joke last week:
Q: Why didn’t Cinderella ever make the baseball team?
A: Because she ran away from the ball!
You can send us your jokes from here.
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Best of 2000
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
“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
“This is a lively, interactive Web site for practicing and testing times tables. It’s based on the
popular BBC Schools Television series Megamaths, using the same castle setting and a selection
of characters from the program to introduce a variety of activities and games. Children familiar
with the series will recognize old friends but knowledge of the television series is not necessary.”
This Shockwave site is one the year’s best because of the variety of its multiplication activities. To
practice with a particular number (such as eight), choose it from the jester’s deck of cards.
National Geographic Map
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: What inspired this
age of balance and order?
“Renaissance, French for â€˜â€˜rebirth,’ 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.
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Copyright © 2000 Barbara J. Feldman
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