HomeworkCentral.com is a research site suited to the needs of any user from kindergarten through adult. The kid-safe site was conceived with an eye toward creating a "one-stop" study site for students of all ages with a guide to the wealth of knowledge available online. Here are the sites of the week:
Malaysian Time Line
In presenting the sweep of Malaysia's past, this handsome history is an example of how time lines are woven into Web sites as a means of connecting events once understood mainly in isolation. Moving horizontally across the homepage are five eras. Ancient Malaysia, 35,000 BC - 100 BC, begins with the earliest known human remains, in the Niah Caves, and summarizes what is known of later migrations. Next is the 1,500 year period of the Hindu Kingdoms, which began as India made contact: "Early writings from India speak of a place called Savarnadvipa the Land of Gold. ... Blown across the Bay of Bengal by the reliable winds of the southwest monsoon, they arrived in Kedah sometime around 100 BC."
Islam and the Golden Age of Malacca 1400-1511 provided a brief interlude before the European dominance of Colonial Malaysia began in 1511. The fifth section, Independence and Onward, highlights 1957 to the present, as Malaysia has undergone many changes, including tremendous growth and prosperity.
Peale Family Papers
Primary resources leap directly to the desks of researchers when they are made available on the Internet as has been done here by the Smithsonian. The Charles Willson Peale Family Papers, a historical editing project established in 1974, is an integral part of the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery. Although papers from the collection have been made available previously on microfiche and in printed volumes, their accessibility on Web pages makes them virtually available to anyone anywhere. The attractive design and authoritative introductory texts place the papers in a setting for study by the general student, as well as by experts. The inquisitive, energetic, intelligent and many-faceted Peales would surely have been Internet guros, and heartily approved of the good work of the cybercurators who created this Web site.
Here Comes the Sun
A solar/terrestrial tutorial from Plymouth State College, this Web site introduces solar science basics with texts and animations. The sun is composition as a mass of incandescent gas is explained in an introductory section that includes many facts and statistics, as well as paragraphs on solar wind, sunspots, and solar flares. The seasons are described in pages on rotation, equinoxes, solstices, and the Earth1s orbit. Another section gives the fundamentals of solar heating, with pages about sun angles and temperature. The informal approach and emphasis on key principles make this tutorial an unpressured learning environment.
The National Park Service is staking out some very useful study territories on the Internet with lush sites like this one on the plantation agriculture of the coastal American South. Included is a map showing ten geographical plantation agriculture locations in the Golden Crescent, which runs in a wide swath along the Atlantic Coast from Savannah to Cape Canaveral and inland towards Tallahassee.
Without traveling to Dixie, from this Web site a student can learn about coastal rice farming, the cotton culture, and the essential historical events related to plantation agriculture. One can also move with a click or two to the larger Golden Crescent site, where five other topics can be studied.
Animated Chinese Characters
Go, for example, to the politics list and click on "Churchill." Three large Chinese characters appear at the top of the page. Click on one of them and at the top right an animation will patiently draw the character, stroke-by-stroke, over and over. Beneath the animation will be four static variations of the character. Hundreds of characters can be chosen, both through different groups of topics and from entire character sets. Students of Chinese and students of calligraphy can use this as tutorial. The rest of us can see here for the first time the sequences for writing pictures of meaning developed by Asian scribes over thousands of years.
The Pencil Pages
Colorful and full of facts, these pages explain how pencils are made, give the history of the eraser, describe graphite, and more. Highly interactive, they provide lots of practice in pointing with a mouse.
A lot of interesting information for younger students has been collected here by the National Weather Service at State College, Pennsylvania. Included are online essays on important weather matters, like the dangers of thunderstorms and lightning.
Note: To use this information and connect to these sites, simply copy the text of the URL (uniform resource locator or internet address denoted by the http prefix) and paste it into the location bar of your browser.