What is the Computer Center?
The Computer Center is a special place in The Science Center's Science DiscoveryWorks feature. It uses carefully screened sites that will provide children in Grades 1 and 2 with additional background on the science topics they are learning about in Science DiscoveryWorks. The linked sites are colorful and exciting; many are interactive.
When should I use The Computer Center?
You can use The Computer Center to do a simple child-centered activity that will extend and enhance a science topic your children are studying.
How should I prepare for use of The Computer Center?
Houghton Mifflin has screened every Internet site listed in The Computer Center. However, sites may change after the screening process. Therefore, you'll want to preview the sites yourself before your class uses them. Print out a Computer Center Activity Sheet and make copies for each child. Be sure to closely monitor and supervise children whenever they are using the Internet.
How should I help my children use The Computer Center?
Encourage children to explore The Computer Center Web sites and to do the activities. Have the children click on headings, menu items, and clickable graphics that are related to the science topic they are studying.
Do I need any special plug-ins for The Computer Center?
Before you take your class to The Computer Center, you'll want to download some of the more common plug-ins, such as QuickTime, SoundMachine, RealPlayer, Acrobat Reader, Shockwave, Crescendo, and HyperStudio Player.
THE COMPUTER CENTER ACTIVITY SHEET
What I already know about...
Use this element to assess children's prior knowledge of the science topics.
What I did at The Computer Center
Have children record the learning activity they experienced at the Web site. You may wish to evaluate children's record on accuracy, creativity, and completeness. You may also want to keep the activity sheets in the children's portfolios.
What I learned about...
Children's descriptions of what they learned will vary, since children's prior knowledge differs.
Questions I have about...
Have children pose questions that might be answered by visiting the Web site or by doing further investigations.
What I made while I visited The Computer Center
You may wish to have children file their drawings or objects made in a science activity portfolio.
What I think about my Computer Center Activity
Have children circle the face that best describes how they feel about The Computer Center activity. Here are some things you may wish to keep in mind as you guide your class in rating The Computer Center Web site and an activity done while at that site.
A Good Source for Teachers in Evaluating Web sites
- Is the Web site written in words I can understand?
- Can I find my way around the Web site?
- Do the pictures and photos teach me something new?
- Are the instructions easy to follow?
- Did I make or do something that teaches me something new?
- Does the Web site make me uncomfortable? If it does, I should tell my teacher, parent, or a responsible adult
- Does the Web site ask me for information about myself? If it does, I should not answer any questions that give personal information. I should tell a teacher, parent, or a responsible adult about the questions.
Refer to the American Library Association's Selection Criteria: 700+ Great Sites--Selection Criteria: How to tell if you're looking at a great Web site.