The Ultimate Website for Kids Science
Sorry, this is not an actual site. It's my constantly-growing
description of what I would do if I had huge amounts of funding! ;)
A WEBSITE DEVOTED TO SCIENCE FOR KIDS
It would include:
- School Science Club Network
- Worldwide 'periscope' Realtime Stillcam Network
- "How it Works," use mouseclicks to take everything in the world apart
- "Ask an Expert" section
- Kid-created WWW newsgroups
- Communal projects: tutorials, textbooks, movies
Think of it as a kids-only duplicate of the internet, with science
learning as its focus.
Desired: - realtime text translators to Spanish, etc.
- Heavy on woman scientists and inventors.
SCHOOL SCIENCE CLUB NETWORK
Your school has no science club? Yes it does, right there on the internet
terminal. Surf in and take a look at all the cool projects everyone is
working on, and make comments. Read the ongoing discussions in the
Science Club WWW Newsgroups. Browse the bank of Ideas for Science Fair
Projects and add your own. Ask that kid there how they got their volcano
to spout lava like that. Find a good book in the Library Listing, then
see if your school will order it through online interlibrary loan. Print
out the Weekly Science Project listing, and talk your parents into a
special trip to the grocery for the needed supplies.
And get your teacher to sit down and check out all the information, aids,
ongoing discussions, and Real Human Consultants available to educators who
want to run a science club but don't know where to start!
WORLDWIDE 'PERISCOPE' REALTIME STILLCAM NETWORK
You've seen webcams before, but you haven't seen this! Click on the
Empire State Building camsite and take a look around a 360-degree view of
New York City, with full interactive tilt/pan control. But what are all
those little symbols on the distant horizon? Click on that one out in the
ocean, and end up on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, panning around an
image that was grabbed five minutes ago. The screen is an imagemap, so
click on that funny building sticking up over there, and end up in the
Louvre website. Or click on the timelapse button and replay the last hour
as an mpeg download. Or replay the last YEAR, and watch a distant
building being built, see the snow appear and vanish, watch the sun swerve
around as the seasons change. Or go voyaging among all the other camsite
symbols along the horizon. Is Hong Kong all black because its 3AM there?
So go south through Australia and see how dark it is outside the camera in
the Antarctic. There's supposed to be a hurricane somewhere in New
Zealand, but its dark, so you'll have to check back later. So go to an
historic site, and hit the 1885 button. You'll see an explorable view of
stock photos and artists conceptions mapped into a 360 degree virtual
world, with all kinds of clickable parts which bring up labels,
suggestions for books, etc.
HOW IT WORKS
This is an absolutely humongous graphical world where nothing is breakable
and everthing can be disassembled. Somewhat like the "Internet Frog
Dissection," but ALL THE TECHNOLOGY IN THE ENTIRE MODERN WORLD is yours to
take apart. Wander into the kitchen, take the case off the microwave oven
and look inside. Curious about the high voltage powersupply inside? Take
it apart and see what it looks like. Check out all the linked pages which
tell about all the parts, how they are made, who invented them, good books
about it, etc. ASK QUESTIONS and you'll automatically search the giant
database of previously answered questions, or shoot off a quick email
question to one of our expert volunteers. Get points for good questions
not asked previously! When that gets old, go out into the virtual
livingroom and start miswiring the VCR and stereo, and see if you can get
it to do something new! Or pull the engine out of 'Parents Car' and see
how deep inside you can get before its time for bed. Or get bored and
pull out an electrical outlet, follow the wires through the wall, up the
power pole, cross country, and into the State Power Utility, where you can
pull out the fuel rods and find out how expensive each of those little
uranium beads are.
ASK AN EXPERT
Like Newton:Ask a Scientist, but WWW based, with a staff to seek out and
recruit expert volunteers, supply computers to homebound retirees, etc.
A giant database of previously-answered questions would grow from this,
with human-language based searching. How many ways are there to explain
why the sky is blue? Lots!
KID-CREATED WWW NEWSGROUPS
All kinds of things could be happening right now on USENET if kids were
allowed to start up new newgroups, and if they were exclusively NO ADULTS
ALLOWED, AGE LIMITS ENFORCED. Do this like the KidStar radio station
does, with mail-in registration for proof of identity as a kid.
COMMUNAL PROJECTS: KID-CREATED WWW TUTORIALS, TEXTBOOKS, MOVIES
This is already being done: the kid-created encyclopedia projects
Idea: no conventional subject headings. There always has been discussion
about the fact that 'Physics', 'Biology,' etc. are artificial divisions
which tend to compartimentalize science. So what happens when they're
gone? Let's make it a policy to let this site grow as it will, rather
than imposing a traditional gradeschool view of what science is.