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Curriculum Details for
I Was Wondering

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Resource Description
Staff, Planning,
and Costs
Standards, Research, and Evaluation

I Was Wondering

I Was Wondering is an engaging online space comprised of interactive activities, such as games, comics, forums, and a timeline, that highlight scientific explorations and celebrate women scientists. This resource supports young people, especially girls, in learning the fundamental skills of scientific investigation and empowers them to tackle such adventures. Complementing the ten-volume series of biographies entitled Women's Adventures in Science, the website showcases the accomplishments of contemporary women scientists.

The National Academy of Sciences developed this resource in order to deepen young people's understanding of science concepts, careers, and the valuable role that women have played in the advancement of science. Hands-on science lab activities and the biography series move the learning off line - and the comprehensive Teacher Guide provides tips on implementing the activities.

Content Focus:
Science, Career Exploration

Linkages to:
Social Studies, Literacy, Life & Social Skills

Grades/Ages: Elementary & Middle School

Costs: Free
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.

Publication Date: 2006

Developer Contact Information
National Academy of Sciences and FableVision Studios
WASComments@nas.edu
http://www.iwaswondering.org

Design Overview

The Women's Adventures in Science (WAS) website is explicitly designed to engage young girls from the very start. When a user first visits the homepage, she meets Lia, an animated girl who is excited about science and inquisitive about the world around her. Lia welcomes and guides users through the site, introducing 10 contemporary women scientists. Their stories are told through scrapbooks, comics, and videos, revealing how each woman became a scientist, what she studies, and why that interests her. The site includes links to more activities, resources, and current news stories.

The hands-on science lab activities, forum, and interactive games give young people opportunities to learn more about a particular science concept, such as geology, global warming, or robotics. The lab activities guide youth through experiments, prompting them to collect and analyze data, reflect on their predictions and conclusions, and modify and re-test their projects. The Teacher Guide provides support and strategies for implementing and extending the science lab activities. The moderated online forum, Ask It!, provides the space for young people to be inquisitive and ask scientific questions that their peers and experts in the field can respond to. Students can vote for questions they would like to see answered by experts and mark favorites that they would like to follow. Students' personal Ask It! homepages keep track of their questions, responses, and favorite questions.

  • Activity Types: self-directed online games and interactives, facilitated hands-on activities
  • Materials/technology required: Computer, high-speed Internet connection. Some of the Science Labs require additional craft and building materials.
  • Program Length/Duration: Varies

Instructional Approach

The I Was Wondering website educates young people about women scientists via storytelling, presenting their biographies in multiple formats including comics, readings, and video. Related hands-on activities give young people an opportunity to explore for themselves the concepts they've learned about in the stories. Students also are encouraged to be inquisitive and have opportunities to interact with and learn from other students around the country.

Consideration of Special Student Populations

In an effort to boost their interest in STEM careers, the website targets middle school girls. Research has shown that they tend to lose interest in science and math after the fourth grade.

The developers produced the content in multiple formats to appeal to different learning styles



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