Maybe we should call this “Super Disney-World-for-the-Brain Site.” I first found How Stuff Works while looking for some good overviews of complex topics to assist some students who were lost in the weeds of physiology. The How Your Kidneys Work article has become a favorite for my classes…it doesn’t tell them everything they need to know for the class, but it does provide a sort of mental site map.
For my psychology pal Anne, there are countless topics on why we do what we do. I just checked out “Personality Disorder Quiz,” one of the “Get Smart Challenge” quizzes the site offers. (It did not diagnose any of my disorders, but it did equip me to make a guess about other people’s!) The featured article for the day under the mental health tab was “10 Addictions You Might Not Know You Have.” Hmm….how many cups of coffee have I had this morning? And how long have I been at this keyboard?
For my buddy Pat, aka “Stats Stud,” there is an article on today’s main page detailing how to beat the odds in a plane crash. I also found a neat bit on “How are Fibonacci numbers expressed in nature?” (This one has a bonus picture of cute bunnies…real rabbits, not the other kind.)
A dedicated web surfer (see addiction story referenced above) could spend days wandering around in HSW. Any of us in the explaining profession should find some really great ideas for assignments. Once our students find the site, they may decide that we are not really needed after all.