Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ashley. Ashley Wonders, “Why did people celebrate a new decade this year when every year could be called a new decade?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ashley!

Humans sure do love to measure time. We count seconds, minutes, hours, and days. Those days turn into years, and soon enough they become a century—100 years. You may already know that those centuries turn into a millennium, which is 1,000 years. And, of course, we keep going. Some even count megayears (one million years) and gigayears (one billion years).

Compared to all those big measurements, the time period of a decade—10 years—may not seem like much. But it’s a big deal to us. Why? Because this week, Wonderopolis is celebrating its tenth birthday. We’re a whole decade old!

What is a decade? To us, it’s 248,812 questions (and counting!) in the Wonder Bank. It means 2,648 Wonders of the Day. It means 35 Wonders with Charlie, 350 WONDERful Flipgrid topics, and over 70 million Wonder Friends. But most of all, it means ten whole years of celebrating your sense of Wonder. 

As we were looking forward to our birthday, we also started looking back. When Wonderopolis launched in 2010, the world was a very different place.  Apple had just released the iPhone 4. It also introduced the very first iPad that year. People saw the seventh “Harry Potter” film in theaters. Arianna Grande was still on Nickelodeon, and Mark Zuckerberg was Time’s Person of the Year. 

In 2010, the U.S. population neared 309 million and the world population was almost 7 billion. Those numbers are 328 million and 7.6 billion today, respectively. South Africa hosted the World Cup that year (Spain won). The Winter Olympics took place in Vancouver, and the world’s tallest building opened in Dubai.

Of course, 2010 was also similar to 2020 in some ways. Believe it or not, the world faced a pandemic that year, too—a virus called H1N1, or swine flu. It wasn’t quite as widespread as 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic. Still, it caused panic across the globe.

People around the world were also grappling with how to better protect the environment in 2010. The BP oil spill killed 11 people and put 3.19 million barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. In its wake, everyone scrambled to save wildlife and find ways to prevent such a disaster from happening again.

In 2010, people were creating profiles on a brand new social media platform called Instagram. Many were flocking to theaters to watch the highest-grossing film of the year, “Toy Story 3.” Others were staying home to play “New Super Mario Bros.” on their Wii console. 

2010 may feel like the distant past. Many of our Wonder Friends weren’t even born yet! Since then, smart homes and voice assistants have become commonplace. Companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX have redefined space exploration. More social media platforms, like TikTok and Snapchat, have changed the way people interact online. The world has said goodbye to some of its heroes and said hello to new ones. 

What do the next ten years hold? No one can know for sure. But it’s our birthday wish to keep bringing you Wonders of the Day for the next decade and beyond. No matter when you joined us on this Wonder Journey, we’re glad you’re here. We hope you’ll keep WONDERing with us for years to come.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.6, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

Wonder What's Next?

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