Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Tech Review: Weed to Wonder

The WEED TO WONDER app and website explores how a common Mexican weed was transformed into a modern food and fuel known as corn.
Developed by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the fascinating story is told through a series of tutorials that include text along with over 150 photographs, maps, diagrams, and videos. The materials are divided into six sections including an introduction, domestication, hybrid vigor, genome sequencing, jumping genes, and biofortification.
Designed for middle and high school levels, librarians will find this app/website to be a good addition to their growing “interactive e-book” collection.
To explore the website, go to

Website Review: Hungry Hiker

HUNGRY HIKER: BUILD-A-MEAL is a short, interactive web-based game from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Users begin by learning about the elements of a balanced meal. Then, players are asked to create a healthy meal. Feedback is provided for users who need aren’t able to build a plate to the required specifications. Students have unlimited opportunities to build a health plate.
Librarians will find this to be a quick and easy web-based interactive to use with students. Place it on a laptop in a healthy eating display along with books and plastic food items where youth can practice building healthy meals.
To try the website, go to

Website Review: Hour of Code

HOUR OF CODE week is an annual event in December encouraging young people to explore computer science. However, the resources are available year round.
Organized by, the website has helped millions of people learn the fundamentals of computer science.
For those wishing to spend an hour as part of the annual celebration or any time of year, go directly to the hour of code section. Themes include Minecraft, Star Wars, Frozen, Classic Maze, Flappy Code, Infinity Play Lab, Play Lab and Artist.
The Computer Science Fundamentals section is divided into four courses with options for ages 4 through 18. An accelerated course is also available for ages 10 through 18.
Galleries show stories, games, and art created by users. Registered users can choose to Make an App or Draw Something. Then, save it for later exploration and saving.
The website is an effective way to promote computer science at home or at school. The short activities would work great in a classroom or library setting. Set up a library station that includes the website along with fiction books such as Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and nonfiction works exploring tools such as SCRATCH.
To Learn an Hour of Code, go to
To go to the Code Studio, go to