Wonderopolis.org® is a free website brought to you by the National Center for Families Learning with generous funding from the Verizon Foundation. Internet access is the only restriction to using it.
Wonderopolis is not only an instructional tool for educators, but it is also a significant bridging device for multi-generations to access together. Wonderopolis has the power to engage students and families in conversations about the world around them, with inquiry and discovery activities suitable for everyone. Each Wonder of the Day® includes three wonder questions to ponder, discuss, and motivate users to investigate further.
Wonderopolis builds and reinforces vocabulary and literacy skills for all learners at all levels, including English Language Learners. Each Wonder of the Day has a listen/play button for beginning readers. The text is highlighted as it is being read, so that readers can follow along. There are three areas of differentiation for the vocabulary in the text. Vocabulary is grouped together in basic, intermediate, and advanced levels. Definitions for vocabulary words are provided by simply hovering your cursor over them. Currently, users can play an interactive, matching word game with the intermediate words. In the near future, the advanced words will include writing prompts for further exploration. Each Wonder of the Day also includes assessment questions for each learner to test their own reading comprehension skills.
Wonderopolis supports the goals of schools, school districts, and the communities they serve. One way of supporting these goals is by bridging the school to home gap by encouraging families to engage and interact with the content provided on the website. The content from Wonderopolis.org is written to align with the Common Core for State Standards and does so by prompting students to:
- ask and answer questions about key details in a text
- identify the main topic and retell key details of a text
- describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text
- ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text
- identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text
- actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding
The inquiry-based questions posed by Wonderopolis naturally lean toward more STEM-focused subjects. Here is a sample of those Wonders:
For more check out our STEAM Wonder Bundles: Wonder Bundles: STEAM - LiveBinder
What makes Wonderopolis so unique are the possibilities associated with this educational tool. In many ways it is like a personal learning environment, where the user has the ability to set their own goals and outcomes. The learner may use the site to become a better reader, or the site could be used to inspire creativity and further digital exploration.