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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 18:11 GMT
Kate Russell
By Kate Russell
BBC Click Online Webscape-r

Kate Russell gives us her latest selection of the best sites on the World Wide Web.

Interactive Mathematics

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I thought I would kick off today with something for our younger surfers.

Maths is one of those subjects that makes most children's noses wrinkle up in dread, but what if I told you that the internet can make learning about numbers fun?

No, really, it can.

It is all down to interactivity, actually getting involved in the process of learning rather than being bombarded with facts like it used to be in my day.

As you would expect, the web is alive with places for your budding mathematicians to explore, such as the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives for Interactive Mathematics. Catchy name, huh?

This is a great project, supported by America's National Science Foundation.

The foundation aims to develop a unique library of interactive tutorials to help children of all ages better understand certain concepts of mathematics.

In the Virtual Library you will find a nice menu system allowing you to choose the discipline and key-stage level you want to explore.

There are loads of fun activities under each section - mainly java based apps, so you will need to have this feature enabled in your browser security settings to have a go.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

How much of a sceptic are you?

If you find it hard to accept some of the myths and legends that have grown up with our society, then you might find this next website to be a breath of fresh air.

Skepdic is the online home of author Robert Carroll's book "The Skeptic's Dictionary", and I would say it is a must-read for anyone who is having trouble knowing what to believe in.

From alien visitations and faces on Mars, to chiropractics, chain letters and pyramid sales, the articles in these pages deconstruct more than 400 everyday beliefs and practises, and examine them with a sceptical mind.

The results are refreshing - a frank and open discussion based on reason.

You can explore alphabetically or choose a topical category from the menu bar across the top.

A really nice touch is the inclusion of the critical thinking mini-lessons, which are accessible through the left hand menu panel.

Here the author takes you through the basics of reasoned thinking from a scientific angle, allowing you to step back from the issues and consider them from a rational point of view.

Polymorphic Music

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Next up, a suggestion sent in by viewer Matt Spendlove, who created Polymorphic Music as a way for him and his friends to share their music with the world.

The first thing that strikes you about this website is the stylish design of the interface.

Click the record to open the pages, and then use the quick links across the top to surf the various sections.

Clicking the "play" button beside an artist or track opens a pop-up window containing the Polymorphic Jukebox, which looks and feels much like any other music player.

You can now continue to surf the pages, or whatever else you want to do while sitting at your PC while the music plays.

I have not listened to everything yet, but there are certainly plenty of tracks and artists to choose from.

For the most part what I have heard so far is fairly atmospheric and somewhat abstract.

Not everyone's cup of tea maybe, but some good tracks if you are open minded about music.

Clicking the Jukebox link opens the jukebox with the entire music selection loaded.

You will definitely need a broadband connection to enjoy the content on this website.

Flash Arcade

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

We finish with some more fun and games, suggested by viewer Dan Hardiker.

Thank goodness for Flash, that is what I say.

As well as being a great design tool for slick, fast loading websites, it is of course ideal for creating games.

There is never any shortage of Flash games doing the rounds, and at Flash Aracade there is a great selection of totally addictive examples.

Quick and simple to use, the games are all clearly displayed in appropriate categories on the front page.

Launching a game reveals a page of instructions first, and in many cases you are free to post your final score on the leader board without even having to register.

My personal favourites so far are the Mah Jong tiles and the Cable vs DSL puzzle game, which is based on a pen and paper game I remember playing years ago where you have to occupy more space on the playing area than your opponent by completing the last side of a square.

Good luck with those games, and watch out for the computer opponent in the cable vs DSL game - he is a sneaky one.

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