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A Year in the Life of LAUNCH POINT

June 24, 1998|ANNA MANRING

Irvine experts in the educational use of computers have sifted the World Wide Web to find a range of fun and informational sites for elementary school through high school on 51 topics. Those subjects have been as big as the solar system and as small as insects, as old as dinosaurs and as new as modern dance. You can find--and get direct links to-- all the sites simply by clicking onto The Times' Launch Point Web site. And in celebration of Launch Point's anniversary, the Times site has been updated to give you the most current sites and reorganized by subject to help you find the topic you need quickly and easily. To see the new and improved Web site, visit

The Arts

Visual Arts

Adventures in Art: Get inspired to create your own masterpieces through these drawing and creative thinking exercises, interactive art games, online galleries and a journey through the history of art.

Discovering Art: Whether it's an Escher interlocking pattern or an African sculpture, students can find art from around the world and learn the stories behind the artists and their works.

Performing Arts

Dance: Experience dances from many countries and cultures: Listen to the music, learn about the steps and costumes, find out the meanings behind the movements, and see video clips of performances.

Drama: Whether you want to perform before the footlights or work behind the scenes, choose from a variety of drama resources: acting exercises, screenwriting tips, reader's theater scripts and patterns for making puppets and costumes.

Music: Learn about music in all its forms, from the notes on the page to orchestral instruments to international musical styles and famous composers.


Martin Luther King Day: Relive the drama of the U.S. civil rights movement: View photos of key figures and events such as Rosa Parks and the lunch counter sit-ins and hear excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches.

April Fool's Day: Learn the history of this holiday, get ideas for April Fool's pranks, and sample an assortment of knock-knock jokes, puns, cartoons and bloopers.

Cinco de Mayo: Learn about the 1862 Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla through historic accounts, profiles of key figures, and tips for celebrations.

Halloween/All Saints Day/Day of the Dead: Find out the stories behind these three autumn holidays.

Thanksgiving: Read about the Pilgrims and their celebration of the first Thanksgiving, find out about the holiday's origins in the old English harvest festivals, and try some quizzes, recipes and games.

Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa: Uncover the meanings and traditions behind the Christian observance of Christmas, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the African American celebration of Kwanzaa--all of which occur in December.


Authors: Find out all about your favorite authors through biographies, interviews, a portrait gallery, a literary calendar and even Laura Ingalls Wilder's photo album.

Literature: Travel to mysterious lands and meet fascinating people by reading some wonderful online stories: from Theodore Tugboat and "The Wizard of Oz" to Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott and William Shakespeare.

Reading: Exercise your reading and thinking muscles with an assortment of fun activities: Read literary classics, participate in interactive stories and test your vocabulary knowledge.


Mathematics: Whether you're doing multiplication tables or calculus equations, you'll find clear explanations of mathematical concepts as well as some fun math puzzles, games and tips.



Arctic Circle: Discover the land above 60 degrees latitude, with its diverse plants and wildlife, wonders like the Northern Lights, and amazing artifacts that demonstrate how ancient people survived harsh conditions of minus 30 degrees Celsius.

India: Marvel at the beauty and achievements of this South Asian country with its influential philosophies, architectural diversity, innovative music and numerous scientific discoveries.

Israel: Experience this vibrant land with more than 3,000 years of history--from the stone monuments in Jerusalem to the salty Dead Sea.

National Parks: Learn about the more than 350 U.S. national parks through categories including geology, archeology, wildlife and even scenic drives. See videos of Mt. St. Helen's eruptions.


Basic Economics: Find out the history of money, what checks are and why banks pay interest. Try your hand at buying and selling stocks on Wall Street, and see if you can balance the national budget.

Careers: Get some help planning your future through an online career center, quizzes that help you determine your interests and working styles, and facts on various occupations.

U.S. History

U.S. Revolution: Pore over maps, timelines, analysis and commentary, and documents of this era. Study famous battles and take virtual tours of historic spots in Philadelphia.

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