Ever wonder why birds wear feathers instead of fur? Why spiders don’t get caught in their webs? What kind of chocolate is the most popular? Me, too. And now we have a place to go for all those wonders, and more.
The website Wonderopolis bills itself “Where the Wonders of Learning Never Cease,” and that sounds just about right. Envisioned by the Family Literacy Foundation, Wonderopolis is all about curiosity, helping young people and families learn together. Needless to say, it is a fine resource for schools, too. Wonderopolis is perhaps best known for its “Wonder of the Day,” a curiosity-spurring question with lots of useful resources. The wonders of the day come with lists of helpful vocabulary, “Try it Out” activities, and plentiful suggestions for what to do if you want to know more. If you aren’t intrigued by today’s wonder, there’s an archive of past wonders to explore. And, of course, in this land of curiosity, the page ends with a teaser for the next day, for example, “Can a needle replace a pencil? Find out tomorrow in Wonderopolis!” How can you resist going back?
Wonderopolis also has plentiful resources for children and parents. The Educator Sandbox includes a blog, a feed of relevant Tweets, and even a function that will sort through the wonders to find those that match a particular grade level or standard. Camp What-a-Wonder is a free online “summer camp” of family activities. You can learn about a new theme each week, and it’s all free.
At Wonderopolis you can submit a wonder, or vote for the wonders suggested by others. Imagine having a Wonderopolis project, and creating student versions of wonders. Students could pose a question, and then gather resources as if they were authoring the Wonderopolis page. They could gather vocabulary, plan activities, and suggest further explorations. And all the while they’d be using critical reading and analysis–topped off by curiosity. Sounds like an unbeatable combination to me! If your students create Wonderopolis materials, I’d love to see them. And I suspect the folks at Wonderopolis would, too!