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Wonderopolis: When Does a Cut Need Stitches?


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Activity Description

Use this online mini-lesson—which contains reading, vocabulary, listening, conversation, and more—with intermediate or advanced students when teaching about the topics of health, injuries, accidents, health care, and medical emergencies.


  1. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school before using it or having students use it. (This particular video originates from Vimeo and is frequently blocked at schools.)
  2. Set speaker settings to a reasonable volume.
  3. Preview the video to make sure its level and content are appropriate for your class.
  4. Take the quizzes and choose which sections of the page you will use in class. (Suggested sections can be found below in the "How to" list.)
  5. Note any vocabulary in the video that you will need to pre-teach.


  1. If you are doing this as a whole class activity, visit the Example Web Site (above) and project it for students.
  2. Start with the “Have you ever wondered?” discussion questions (right side panel) in order to activate content schemata and introduce the topic to students.
  3. If the entry contains a photo gallery (Wonder Gallery), view and discuss the photos, making predictions about the text and/or video content.
  4. View the video, if the Wonder entry contains one, and follow up with questions about the video.
  5. Preview “Wonder Words,” vocabulary words and terminology used in the reading passage. When the words are selected (in the right panel), they are highlighted in the text and a pop-up definition appears in the list.
  6. Have students read the article, which can be printed by selecting the printer icon located in the sharing options icons above the "Have you ever wondered" questions.
  7. Students can optionally listen to the text while it is read aloud. Choose Listen on the Web player. Optionally, select player settings (gear cog looking icon), such as word or sentence highlighting and scrolling.
  8. Return to the Wonder Words and go over definitions, pointing out where in the text the words are used, optionally having students write down the words and terms, parts of speech, sentences from the article, and original sentences.
  9. Have students, either as a whole class or individually, take the Wonder Word Challenge (by selecting the button) to check their understanding of the vocabulary.
  10. Listen to and/or read the article again, as needed.
  11. Have students, either as a whole class or individually, take the reading/listening comprehension quiz Did you get it? (the button is located at the bottom of each article) or Do you know the answer? (located on the right navigation panel in the Test Your Knowledge section). These quizzes are the same and typically have only three main idea and supporting detail questions.
  12. Assign students to do a Try it Out (discussion questions and project ideas) or Still Wondering (extra online activities) follow-up task and report the results or findings back to the class.

Teacher Tips

  • Linked words and terms within the text lead to other site content that provides more information.
  • The mp3 audio file can be downloaded, and by selecting the settings on the audio player, the following options are provided, all of which can help lower-literacy students gain reading fluency:
    • text highlighting can be enabled, with options for only words or whole sentences to be highlighted as they are read
    • text color
    • the speed of the reading can be set for slow, medium, or fast
    • automatic scrolling can be enabled
  • Students can be assigned to work on the site "Wonder" entries individually or in pairs in a computer lab setting, or the site can be projected onto a screen with an LCD projector.

More Ways

  • The site has more than 1200 entries with activities that pose an intriguing question and present its answer in a variety of ways (reading passages, audio, video, comprehension questions, follow-up activities, and links for learning more) that appeal to many different learning modes.
  • The site content is suitable to all ages, so you can assign adult students to use the site at home to promote family literacy.
  • Teachers can use the site’s many resources for useful pre-reading warm-up exercises in class.
  • To find specific content on the site, select “Explore Wonders ,” which is a gallery of the site content that can be sorted and search by grade level and subject matter.
  • To supply students with a new Wonder of the Day on a regular basis, you can embed the Widget on your class Web site or in your Course Management System, and the widget will change to the site’s new wonder entry daily without the need to navigate to an external site.

Program Areas

  • ESL: English as a Second Language


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.