Wednesday, March 4, 2009

How much do YOU know about the Nobel Prize?

We hear about Nobel Prize winners once in awhile - we might even be able to name a few if we think about it for a minute. But many adults and most kids don't really understand what the Nobel Prize is or what kinds of people get it. is a pretty cool site that breaks down the actual prizes (physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics, and peace - the one we probably hear the most about), includes information about past winners, and features many educational games associated with the prize winners and their fields.

Here is a little blurb about the actual founder:
At the age of 17, Swedish Alfred Nobel spoke five languages fluently. Nobel became an inventor and businessman, and at the time of his death on 10 December 1896, he had 355 patents worldwide – one of them was the patent on dynamite. Furthermore, he had started 87 companies all over the world. According to his will, Alfred Nobel's enormous fortune was to be used to establish prizes to award those who had done their best to benefit mankind in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, five years after Nobel's death.

The rest of the site is the really interesting part - the games! These are not just silly games either - they are interesting for junior high and high school students, as well as adults. All of the games have to do with ideas developed and promoted by Nobel Prize winners. One that I checked out was, of course, Lord of the Flies - one of my very favorite books! The game brings out the themes that the author, William Golding, was celebrated for when he won his Nobel Prize. I played and guess what? I do know that book pretty well! The other was Pavlov's Dog - it was a pretty simple demonstration of how his experiment worked but included a lot of other interesting information about his experiments.
There are a lot of games on the site like The Blood Typing Game, Tuburculosis, The DNA double helix game, The Electrocardiogram game and the Malaria game, just to name a few. As you can tell by their titles, there is a lot more "educational" than "game" going on here.
This is a really interesting way to engage students in the field of study pursued by any particular Nobel Winner, and to introduce kids to the Prize itself and the kinds of innovation, creativity, and possibility it promotes.

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