A friend just sent me a link to this site, and I had to pass it on to everyone. FreeRice is a vocabulary building word game with a twist. In a simple window, a word is displayed with four possible definitions. Your challenge is to pick the correct answer and define the word. Now here’s the twist. If you get the word right, the site will donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. This nifty trick is done by turning around the ad revenue generated by a simple – and very unobtrusive – banner ad at the bottom of the window.
The program runs an algorithm to determine your word level and bases its choices from there. I found many words that I knew, several that were unfamiliar but decipherable, and some that I had no idea about. The owners of the site say that there are 50 levels in all, but that it is rare for someone to get over the 48th level.
In about 5 minutes, I was able to donate over 1400 grains of rice and got to level 46. And guess what … it was fun.
So, I know that I don’t have to go on and on about the benefits of improving your own vocabulary: the precision, the persuasion, the power it gives you (and not mention better grades and – dare I say it – better SAT scores). But here is a fun way to challenge yourself, better your vocabulary, and help someone else out there in the world at the same time.
Go ahead, click on the image above and play around for a while. Trust me. You’ll like it.
Note: According to the site’s own totals page, they’ve been able to donate a pretty large amount of rice:
Total Donations by Date
Date Grains of Rice OCTOBER 2007 537,163,380 NOVEMBER 2007 4,768,969,790 December 1, 2007 235,092,740 December 2, 2007 231,789,260 December 3, 2007 252,053,160 December 4, 2007 280,971,480 ____________ Total All Dates 6,306,039,810
(according to my calculations, assuming the average grain of rice weighs ~25mg, that’s about 157,651 kgs of rice)