Wonder Wheel, It’s a Wonder!

I was reading a blog post about Wonder Wheel this morning (really it was about the power of Twitter-see below.)  (Snow day 2, Cable is out)  Wonder Wheel is a search option on Google which essentially creates a web for the search term that you enter.  For example I typed in Boston Massacre and this was the result.

As you can see.  The web then offers a variety of suggestions for narrowing the search or a search terms that are related.  The results appear on the right hand side.  If you click on one of the search terms another web appears and the search results on the right change to reflect this new search term.

Other  than being “neat” I think this has some real potential to help students.  My fifth graders don’t often know what they are looking for at the start of a unit.  Although I usually try to have them build some background knowledge using books before we get to the internet searching, it doesn’t always work as planned.  Teaching students how to conduct keyword searches is important but challenging if they don’t know what keywords to enter.  Sometimes even I have to try a variety of combinations for a student before I can find a source that works for them.

I think this would work well for a group lesson too.  If you project your search results for the whole class to see it could spark discussion about the people, places, and events listed.  Students could form small inquiry groups to get more information on each topic and then report out to the class.  This would be a great way to help build background knowledge and assist students in generating questions for deeper study.

To access Wonder Wheel, there is a link on the left side of the Google search page under “More Search Tools.”  Another little tip is that I often add the word “kids” to my search to bring up kid friendly sites.

How are you helping students navigate the overabundance of information on the internet?

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7 Responses to Wonder Wheel, It’s a Wonder!

  1. Tara says:

    I did not know about this feature! I really like the idea of group strategy sessions using this at the very beginning of the year – to set the stage for research,

  2. Bev says:

    I can’t help thinking that the blog post in which you read about Wonder Wheel was mine as I posted it about 12 hours ago: Wow! The power of Twitter!

    While I too had just discovered Wonder Wheel (and agree it is an amazing tool!) my blog post was highliting the power of Twitter. Your blog post here and your tweet just a little while ago certainly reaffirms in my mind the power of Twitter. Linking hands across the oceans as we have would have been mind blowing just a few years now. Look at us now!

  3. Katie says:

    @ Bev Yes! It was yours. I’m new to twitter and lost track of where I found the link. Thanks, I wanted to link to it. And yes, it does reaffirm your ideas in your post about the power of Twitter. Fabulous!

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Wonder Wheel, It’s a Wonder! | Inquiry Live in the Classroom -- Topsy.com

  5. Mary Lee says:

    Thanks for reminding me of Wonder Wheel. I think I’ll introduce it to my 4th graders along with Wonderopolis (http://wonderopolis.org/) and Pebble Go (https://www.pebblego.com/UserLogin.aspx). My school has a trial subscription to Pebble Go, but Franki (co-blogger and librarian) has purchased it for her school and loves it.

  6. Bree says:

    This is a very cool feature! Thanks for sharing.

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