Say you’re a ninth grader preparing for an upcoming science fair. It’s 8 p.m. on a Sunday night and you’ve got a research question you’d like to explore–but the library is closed.
Or is it?
As it happens, the Douglas County Public Library has a new digital branch that is open for business around the clock. What’s more, a new online resource center called BrainFuse is available — at any hour — to anyone with a library card and password.
Geared for students in grades one through college, BrainFuse is more about examining questions than providing direct answers.
Say you want to understand the makeup of the human body. On a screen titled “Send Question” you can formulate a research question and submit it online to an academic specialist — in, say, biology. Within a day, you’ll have your answer.
“How many cells does the human body have?” you might ask. In reply, an expert named (in this case) DHKrishna will send you a note explaining that, “We do not provide answers.” Then adding, “We help you find the answers.” Links are included, and you’re off on a treasure hunt. As you read the work of a biologist at Arizona State University, you’ll discover there are between 60 and 90 trillion cells in the average human body. Another source will estimate the number of cells at 10 trillion. The search has been launched, and an intriguing science-fair project is sure to follow.
Clicking from one page of BrainFuse to another, you’ll find that different sections of the site are designed for different learning styles. In a section titled “Flash Bulb,” for example, students find flash cards that can help them remember significant dates in U.S. history. A crossword puzzle has the clue: “Who gave the Gettysburg -----?” Kids who grew up playing “Angry Birds” on their parents’ iPhones will get a kick out of “Bug Match,” which traces developments in the Civil War. In the “Test Center,” high school students can take and re-take practice SAT questions and work on improving their writing.
How to connect with BrainFuse?
Start at the Douglas County Library website: douglas.lib.nv.us.
In the left-hand column, click on “Digital Branch.”
Under “Digital Branch categories” click on “A - Z List of E-Sources.”
Scroll down to “BrainFuse – HelpNow – NEW! Login required – click here.” You’ll need to login with the name or number on your library card, as well as your password.
Scroll down and click, again, on “Brainfuse – HelpNow – NEW!”
“New Users” will be asked to “Register Now” for a “Learning Account” by creating a Username and Password.
Then—finally!--the fun begins, exploring skill building, or tapping into the writing lab or language lab. You can also get live online help from an expert tutor—at any hour.