16 Great Research Websites for Kids

Please see the update here with more websites, kid-friendly browsers, citation resources, how to research, and a poster!

Quick, safe spots to send your students for research:

  1. BrainPop–with the BrainPop characters, a launchpad to curiosity
  2. CoolKidFacts–kid-friendly videos, pictures, info, and quizzes–all 100% suitable for children
  3. Dimensions–academic research geared for college-level
  4. Fact Monster–help with homework and facts
  5. Google Earth Timelapse–what changes to the planet over time
  6. Google Trends–what’s trending in searches
  7. History Channel–great speeches
  8. How Stuff Works–the gold standard in explaining stuff to kids
  9. Info Please–events cataloged year-by-year
  10. Library Spot–extensive collection of kid’s research tools
  11. National Geographic for Kids
  12. Ngram Viewer–analyzes all words in all books on Google Books
  13. SqoolTube Videos–educational videos for preK-12
  14. TagGalaxy–search using a cloud
  15. Wild Wordsmyth–picture dictionary for kids
  16. World Book–requires membership

More

Use Unconventional Research Sites to Inspire Students

How do I teach Inquiry and Research in Middle School

updated 3-22-21


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Can Your Fifth Grader Answer This Math Problem?

Thanks to Jeff for this…

Can the level of math education sink any lower?

Teaching Math In 1950:
A logger sold a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960:
A logger sold a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970:
A logger sold a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980:
A logger sold a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990:
A logger cut down a beautiful forest, because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? After answering the question, the topic for class participation is: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)


The Result In 2005:
Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The young woman at the counter took my $2. I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies while looking at the screen on her register.

I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Jeffrey J. McGovern


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Is Handwriting Like Camera Film–So Last Generation

UPDATE

Another problem for cursive in schools: Common Core is ‘silent’ on it, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education. That’s like the Fat Lady warming up, but not sure when she’ll be performing.

Studies show one in three children struggle with handwriting. I’d guess more, seeing it first hand as a teacher. Sound bad? Consider another study shows that one in five parents say they last penned a letter more than a year ago.

Let’s look at the facts. Students hand-write badly, and don’t use it much when they grow up (think about yourself. How often do you write a long hand letter?). Really, why is handwriting important in this day of keyboards, PDAs, smart phones, spellcheck, word processing? I start students on MS Word in second grade, about the same time their teacher is beginning cursive. Teach kids the rudiments and turn them over to the tech teacher for keyboarding.

I searched for reasons why I was wrong. Here’s what I found:

  • 1 in 10 Americans are endangered by the poor handwriting ofHandwritingCursiveCapDir physicians.
  • citizens miss out on $95,000,000 in tax refunds because the taxman can’t read their handwriting
  • Poor handwriting costs businesses $200,000,000 in time and money that result in confused and inefficient employees, phone calls made to wrong numbers, and letters delivered to incorrect addresses.

Read on:

Schools: Less cursive, more keyboarding

BROWNSBURG, Ind., Aug. 28 (UPI) —

Officials in an Indiana school district said cursive writing lessons will be scaled down this year in favor of computer keyboarding.

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Google Earth: User Friendly in the Classroom

What an amazing program! I decided to devote a unit to it for my fifth grade technology classes. I gave them a list of locations which they had to locate on Google Earth using the Fly To bar or with Google Earth Community, placemark them (with their choice of creative placemarks), create their own tour file folder under ‘My Places’ and save each location to their tour folder with one interesting fact (which didn’t include Boy is this a great place!). (more…)

How Blogs Make Kids Better Writers

If kids are inspired to write, they get better at writing. The trick is to make writing fun.educational blogs

Blogs do that. The students get to interact with their favorite toy–a computer–and go online for legitimate purposes. They get to see their thoughts in print. What could be more appealing. Blogs and online forums are a teachers dream.

The problem is how teachers use these tools. Like every good skill, blogging and online writing requires a bit of explanation. Start with these simple rules:

  1. Be concise in a blog. Readers don’t go to blogs to read a novel. They want something that will help them in, say, a minute (that seems to be the average time people spend on a post)
  2. Be pithy. Readers don’t want to waste even that sixty seconds. They may get tricked the first time by a snazzy title, but not again. So, students must put their thoughts together in a cogent and concise arrangement.
  3. Be knowledgeable. There are so many bloggers out there, students must come across as intelligent on their topic and smart enough to discuss it in that one minute the reader gives them. How do they do that?
    1. Watch grammar and spelling.
    2. Pick a topic they know about. If it’s an opinion, pick something they have ideas about.
    3. Don’t tear down the other guy’s opinion as a way to promote their own. This sort of mean-spiritedness turns people off.

For more great reasons why blogs are good for kids, visit Educational Blogging Wiki–including helping them find their voice and empower their maturing identities.

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