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Science For Kids

New USDA Web Site Offers Kids a Sneak Peek into the Science Behind Agriculture

By Jan Suszkiw
September 16, 1998

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16--Helping kids use science to bridge the gap between agriculture and daily life is the aim of "Science For Kids," a new World Wide Web site from the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.

Geared to children ages 8 to 13, "Sci4Kids" is a series of interactive stories based on research projects featured in Agricultural Research, ARS' monthly publication, and other news items. Sci4Kids debuts today on the web at:


"We're hoping children will use the site to gain a greater understanding of agriculture's importance to their daily life--the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the water they drink," said Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics I. Miley Gonzalez. "Today's children are tomorrow's farmers, scientists, policy makers and consumers. So it's important that children have access to information about agricultural research that is significant and timely as well as enjoyable."

New stories will be added regularly, accompanied by photos, graphics, trivia, classroom connections and links to other scientific resources.

Sci4Kids stories also offer a window through which kids can peek into the sometimes wacky world of science. Among the 19 stories now featured:

  • Gainesville, Fla., entomologist Sanford Porter is enlisting a head-hunter fly to battle the fearsome imported fire ant, a major farm and household pest in much of the South.
  • In Beltsville, Md., researcher Rufus Chaney grows plants with a taste for "heavy metal"--not the hard-rocking kind, but real metals like zinc and nickel that can contaminate soils.
  • Tucson, Ariz., scientist Eric Erickson uses satellite technology to help beekeepers track their bee colonies in remote areas.

Another Sci4Kids feature, "Dr. Watts," allows kids to e-mail questions or comments about the stories they read. Kids, as well as parents and teachers, can also e-mail Dr. Watts their suggestions for improving the site.

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