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What to Surf - Family Websites

The most family friendly websites for the week of June 11, 1999

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Name That Candybar
Can you recognize popular candy bars by examining their insides? While trying to distinguish between a Milky Way and a Three Musketeers, children will actually be learning about the science of cross-sectioning. There’s lots more to explore at this terrific site sponsored by the Science Museum of Minnesota, but nothing puts scientific terms into kid-friendly applications as adeptly as Name That Candybar. This is one time you may worry if your child gets all the answers right! A

A+ Math
If math homework’s a problem in your household, this smart site from software engineer Steven Chase has got your number. Tried-and-true flash cards, boring in paper form, have more kid appeal on screen, where correct answers are rewarded with an enthusiastic “correct!” and incorrect ones come minus that parental sigh. Math versions of Bingo and Concentration, advanced problems in algebra and geometry, and a homework helper that’ll let you know if you’re handing in A or D work all add up to a site that we’d love to see multiplied in other subject areas. A

Journey of the Corps of Discovery
It was almost 200 years ago that Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began their famous 7,500-mile expedition. Now, at this trailblazing PBS site, young explorers can head “Into the Unknown” to lead the long, perilous journey themselves. They’ll make difficult decisions about sandstorms, Indians, bears, illness, and directions, and they’ll get an interactive history lesson along the way. They’ll also gain a deep respect for the intrepid duo, who successfully completed their mission without the technology to simply click themselves out of life-threatening situations. A-

Surfing With the Bard
Shakespeare may be in style these days, but that doesn’t mean kids have a clue what he was talking about. This comprehensive site, designed by Olympia, Wash., teacher Amy Ulen for both students and teachers, goes a step beyond Cliffs Notes by offering summaries of all of Shakespeare’s major plays, discussion zones and links to other sites — including the Bard’s complete works online. Teens may want to check out the study guide to A Midsummer Night’s Dream before heading over to the multiplex, or explore the unexpected relationship between Shakespeare and Star Trek. Would a Klingon by any other name smell the same? A