This week I'm not featuring the usual line up of professional Web sites from the likes of National Geographic, PBS or the Library of Congress. This week my five-star sites were created by fourth, fifth and sixth graders, and you're going to be blown away by how marvelous they are! I've chosen five personal favorites from the second annual ThinkQuest Jr. competition, a Web site building contest for upper-elementary students. Want to join in the fun? Details on entering next year's ThinkQuest Jr. (or the original ThinkQuest for twelve- to nineteen- year olds) can be found here. [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: ThinkQuest Jr.]
"You're out on a moonless night...really dark... in a field that seems like the middle of nowhere. So far from any lights that the Milky Way hanging over your head looks close. You hear frogs croaking and crickets chirping, and you smell something sweet. Wait! Something's running through the brush...you can hear it. What was that?!" Explore all things nocturnal, including our natural fear of the dark, in this investigative look at animals, plants, folklore and the night sky.
"Melvil Dewey lived an extraordinary life! He was born in Adams Center, New York, on December 10, 1851, and died on December 26, 1931. He was a librarian who invented a decimal classification system for library books called the Dewey Decimal System." This team expresses unbridled enthusiasm for a subject that others might consider, in a word, dull. Do not miss Dewey and the Alien, a fabulous illustrated story explaining the ten major Dewey categories.
"We like sound. All kinds of sound. We also like music. So we wanted to make a page about music and sound. Did you know that a certain kind of energy makes sound? On our site you will find lots of information about how sound is made and what it looks like when it is recorded." Highlights of this musical site are the instruments-of-the-orchestra pages, the homemade instruments (found under Orchestra/Activities) and Sound is Energy, which just about covers the whole site!
"Before trying any tricks or skills with the rope, try them without the rope. Jump with both feet, unless the instructions say otherwise, and land on the balls of your feet. You should also bend your knees to absorb the force. When you are ready to use the rope, keep your hands at your sides and turn with your wrists. There should be little or no arm movement." One of the axioms of writing is to write what you know ï¿½ and these young Webmasters certainly know jump roping! Their site is filled with skills to learn (divided into basic, intermediate and advanced), important information about cardiac exercise and fun facts about your heart.
"Origami (pronounced or-i-GA-me) is the Japanese art of paperfolding. 'Ori' is the Japanese word for folding and 'kami' is the Japanese word for paper. That is how origami got its name. However, origami did not start in Japan. It began in China in the first or second century and then spread to Japan sometime during the sixth century." Pieces and Creases won Best of Contest, and it's easy to see why. Enjoy the activities, the history, and the poems. "After you've visited our Web site, you won't be able to pass up a square piece of paper without a little folding."