10 Fun Questions Kids Can Answer with Wolfram|Alpha

August 5, 2010
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The Wolfram|Alpha Team
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Here at Wolfram|Alpha we’re always asking questions and seeking answers in an effort to make all of the world’s knowledge computable and understandable by everyone (big or small).

We’ve put together a short list of common questions asked by preschool- and kindergarten-aged children that can be answered with Wolfram|Alpha. We hope these examples inspire your child to dream up more!

Is the Moon bigger than the Earth? Ask Wolfram|Alpha to compare “size of earth, size of moon”, and you’ll discover numerical and graphic size comparisons showing that the Earth is indeed larger than the Moon.

size of earth, size of moon

Chances are your little artists will discover the answer to this question on their own, but they can try asking Wolfram|Alpha what color they get when they “mix red and blue”?

Mixing the colors red and blue

Whether it’s because they’re excited about the party or just turning a year older, the birthday countdown is always on! Simply ask Wolfram|Alpha about the date of the child’s upcoming birthday, such as “October 8 2010”, to learn the number of days, weeks, or months until the big day.

Counting down to October 8, 2010

Are there other people who have my name? Simply enter your child’s name, for example, “Jacob“,  in Wolfram|Alpha and learn how the name ranks in popularity among children born in the United States along with the number of people born with that name each year, the estimated number and the most common age of people with that name alive today, and much more.

Statistics for people in the U.S. named Jacob

Help your child learn shapes by asking Wolfram|Alpha questions such as “How many sides does a triangle have?”. In return, Wolfram|Alpha will provide an answer and a visual representation.

Wolfram|Alpha's results for a triangle

Working on number recognition or basic addition and subtraction? Ask Wolfram|Alpha to answer “What’s 10 plus 4” to get a result a result in words, numbers, and pictures.

Does your little archaeologist stop a bedtime story about dinosaurs to ask questions such as “Is a brachiosaurus taller than a triceratops?” Answer this question and more when you ask Wolfram|Alpha to “compare a brachiosaurus and a triceratops”.
compare a brachiosaurus and a triceratops

“When I grow up, will I be as tall as you?” Enter your child’s gender, age, and height into Wolfram|Alpha and you’ll discover a projected growth chart along with distribution plots showing how your child’s height and weight compare to other children of the same age. For example, enter “growth chart male, 7yr, 4’2”.  Click the image below to see the full result.
Growth chart

It doesn’t take long for young ones to start building up their vocabulary. They can have fun learning new words by exploring rhyming words in Wolfram|Alpha. For example, ask Wolfram|Alpha for “words that rhyme with bear”:
Words that rhyme with bear

Has the tooth fairy been making frequent trips to your house? Do your children wonder when they will get their two front teeth? By asking Wolfram|Alpha about a tooth, such as “lower right first baby molar”, you can see a visual representation of the tooth, learn about its function, and find out at what age the permanent tooth is expected to arrive.
Lower right first baby molar

These are just a few fun questions kids can answer with Wolfram|Alpha. We hope these examples inspired you and your child to dream up more! Did your youngster ask Wolfram|Alpha a great question? Feel free to share your stories in the comments section below.

7 Comments

Love it!!! Let’s get kids interested in this sort of stuff. The road to STEM is easier when it’s paved. :-)

Posted by AmoebaMike August 5, 2010 at 11:42 am Reply

Wolfram, stop being so awesome

Posted by Donald August 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm Reply

@ AmoebaMike: Whats STEM?
That questions are well-known (as I think), but thank you for the progressive improvement, WolframAlpha!

Posted by Mabie August 5, 2010 at 4:49 pm Reply

    Sorry it’s so late, as I doubt you’ll see this, but for all: STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math.

    Posted by AmoebaMike August 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm Reply

Hi, thanks for these great idea. I have used the name in class and let the students post two names to compare. They can be characters from a story we are reading or simply the names of two friends or relatives. They love studying the results!

Posted by Kathy Shields August 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm Reply

I LOVE this idea! Not only does W|A give answers (with awesome visuals!), it contains EXTRA info that could make it a real learning opportunity. For instance, if you’re looking up a question about gallons and cups, it will also tell you about liters — a chance to talk about the metric system.

One idea I had was the potential of sorting the rhyming words into “easy words/hard words” pods. I think that would give you more of a springboard for talking to a 4-yr-old about “what rhymes with bear” without having to explain what an eclair is.

Keep up the incredible work! And thanks for fixing the neutrino mass.
~CoolCat
P.S. Why don’t you post on the Mysterious Shrinking Proton (as I like to call it)? A.K.A. the new measurement of the proton’s charge radius that says it’s smaller than we thought. For one thing, you could explain what a charge radius is. Seems like it would be right up your alley!

Posted by CoolCat August 10, 2010 at 8:20 am Reply

Wolfram/Alpha, you continue to amaze and engage learning! I just wanted to say that in my role as an Educational Technology Facilitator in Alberta, Canada working with Administrators and their knowledge of tech integration….YOU ROCK! Last month I offered a hands-on workshop based on your semantic search engine and wowed a few folks (thanks to you!) I also blogged about the workshop at http://slitech.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/be-semantically-aware-tech-tuesday/. Check it out!

Posted by Nicole Lakusta October 18, 2010 at 9:33 am Reply
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