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March 16, 2012 / keikok

Why this Article was Picked as an Award-Wining Science Story?

SCIENCE” has been one of my favorite magazines since I was 10.  This science journal is published by The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  This famous magazine, which is sold all over the world, has catchy headlines with beautiful pictures and is easy to read and understand

Today, I would like to introduce one of the award-wining science stories from AAAS.

Image

(Photo is retrieved from http://www.sydneyobservatory.com.au/2011/deadly-moons-%E2%80%93-an-interactive-workshop-for-teaching-young-children-%E2%80%93-wins-an-award-from-science-journal/)

“Astronomical Perspectives for Young Children” is an essay about the “Deadly Moons” workshop held by Universe Awareness (UNAWE), an astronomy education and outreach program targeting 4 to 10 year old kids in underprivileged environments.

This story was written by Carolina J.Ö.G. and Deirdre K. and published by AAAS in 2011.  They introduced the “Deadly Moons” workshop where students can interactively learn about moons and the other solar systems.  This program gives kids a chance to appreciate the scale and beauty of the universe, empowering them to think independently and bringing them closer to each other.  They mentioned that these events present the perfect experience to link kids and educators worldwide, so that even though children from around the world are different, they can share knowledge, a desire to learn, and an understanding of the space around them and their world in it.

Personally, I really enjoyed the essay but why was their article picked by the judges as an award-wining science story?  What kind of evaluation criteria do you think they are using?

First of all, some of the rules of eligibility for the award called Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) are

  •   The project must focus on science education
  •   The resources described must be freely available on the internet
  •   The project can be targeted to students or teachers at the precollege or college level, or it can serve the informal education needs of the general public
  •   The internet resources must be in English or include and English translation

(www.sciencemag.org)

In my opinion, this essay passed all of the criteria.  However, I think the judges also considered the goals of AAAS, which is to

  •   Enhance communication among scientists, engineers, and the public
  •   Promote and defend the integrity of science and its use
  •   Strengthen support for the science and technology enterprise
  •   Provide a voice for science on societal issues
  •   Promote the responsible use of science in public policy
  •   Strengthen and diversity the science and technology workforce
  •   Foster education in science and technology for everyone
  •   Increase public engagement with science and technology
  •   Advance international cooperation in science

(www.sciencemag.org)

To be honest, even though I have known SCIENCE for more than 10 years, I did not know about their goals till now.  However, looking back on them now, every magazine accomplished these goals.

Here is my question: do you agree that the essay “Astronomical Perspectives for Young Children” fulfills these goals for AAAS?

Reference: Carolina O., Deirdre K. (2011) Asronomical perspecives for youg children. AAAS. SCIENCE. Vol.333. 26 Aug.

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24 Comments

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  1. samanthagnanarajuwa / Mar 16 2012 7:41 am

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It’s informative and portrayed the essay in a great light. I personally have not read the SCIENCE magazine and today, with this insight, I will definitely be looking it up.

    The story behing the essay is brilliant and has a certain warm fuzziness about it. I guess it is how I feel when it comes to working with children and moulding their minds. The workshop also showed the children that there are bigger things than the world we live in. I think this essay does encompass the goals of the AAAS. The publishing of this article would have encouraged other school to engage the students in such projects and workshops, allowing them to step outside of their curriculum. I certainly enjoyed steering away from the class curriculum, growing up.

    I’ve only got one issue with your post and that is the title. I feel the title could have been a bit more engaging and less wordy. I guess it is my personal opinion that less is more in terms of titles. But at the same time being able to be relevant.

    I hope my comments helped in any sort of way. Have a great weekend!

    • keikok / Mar 19 2012 11:55 pm

      Thank you for your comment and advice Samanthagnanarajuwa.

      It took me 3 days to decide the title to be honest. As you say, the title could have been shorter such as “Why did this article win a prize!?” but I wanted to include the words “Award-Wining Science Story” so that at the end, it became the long one…
      Can you give me some more advice? What would you title it if you were me? I would love to hear your opinion 🙂

  2. elenav90 / Mar 16 2012 12:06 pm

    A rather bright and admirable child you were, reading Science from the age of 10! Thanks for pointing out the valuable goals of AAAS, which I’m sure most of us ignored. In some distant future where we’ll feel knowledgeable and confident enough, hopefully we can adopt and carry out these goals ourselves.

    About the article itself, I’m not surprised it won the ward: it concerns an international (1) volunteer (2) organisation bringing inspiring (3) science education (4) to underprivileged (5) children (6)… A heart-warming story which makes us feel better about our future generations knowing that somebody else is helping them… tick, tick, tick! Had I been the author, I may have even considered adding “underprivileged” before “young children” in the title.
    I find it nice actually, that the story is so humanistic and relatable as opposed to being an overly detailed, technical publication regarding a physics/chemistry topic (for example) which we wouldn’t be able to connect to, or encounter in our day-to-day lives. And perhaps the competition judges were also intrigued and sympathetic towards this humanistic publication for the simple reason that the winning-article guidelines were not very specific, as would be expected in a magazine which publishes all sorts of scientific subjects.

    I also appreciate when publications include a photograph and a paragraph or two about its authors, it gives us a better understanding of the article’s motives and makes us more sympathetic towards the research/project.

    Nice work 🙂

    • keikok / Mar 20 2012 11:15 pm

      Thanks for your comment Elenav90 and I agree with your point.
      Picture is worth a thousand words. But we need to be careful when we chose it because people might get miss perception from the picture.
      You must have seen this photo taken by Kevin Carter who won Pulitzer Prize.
      http://pulitzerprize.org/photography/kevin-carter-1994/
      I get so shocked every time I see this photo. I think he definitely was one of the greatest science communicator. However, he suicide because of the pressures from the others saying “Why didn’t you help her before taking a photo!?” Here is the huge perceptions difference. Some think he did great job to show the world that Sudan need a help but others think he was an evil not saving her immediately (Actually, his colleagues were there to help her)…
      I definitely think the photos in “Astronomical Perspectives for Young Children” are effective to SCIENCE readers. Also, did you realize that children hide their face? Is it a culture thing that it is hard to put faces of kids in the media?

  3. ashfonty / Mar 18 2012 9:17 am

    If only I had been reading SCIENCE when I was 10… would have made 1st year a hell of a lot easier!

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for directing me to it. I agree with yourself and elenav90 that it has met the criteria!

    What impresses me most though is that it was written well for its audience. People that read SCIENCE magazine are (presumably) intelligent and interested with what’s happening in the world. Although the authors were writing about a project that caters to 4-10 year olds, I feel they ‘spoke’ the language of their audience. It was a intellectual and well structured piece of writing. I don’t think it would be a walk in the park to write about a children’s incentive in such a mature and professional manner.

    Now, ‘that’s deadly!’

    • keikok / Mar 20 2012 11:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment Ashfonty.
      As you say, the target audience might be someone who are intelligent and are aware of the news.
      Since my father is oceanology (presuming he is one of them…), he gave me SCIENCE magazine when I was 10 and he said “You do not have to read”. However, I got hooked on it because it had such a great photos. I think this is part of SCIENCE magazine because even though I was not their target audience, it grabbed the mind of a kid. It is interesting that even though the writers talk about the program for kids, the target audiences for the article are usually adults. A story of kids has such a great allure to attract adults.

  4. amber0699 / Mar 19 2012 7:08 am

    I think you did a very good job by not stopping with outlining the eligibility of the award, and including the goals of AAAS. I think that it was interesting in a very good way for you to put in the fact that you have been reading the magazine at such a young age. I believe that the article fulfilled all requirements very well. I especially enjoyed the twist on the name, using slang to interest children in a title. What an inspiring piece to read! Educating the next generation is always a worthy goal.

    I do agree with samanthagnanarajuwa about the title though. Maybe something with more catch such as “The Makings of a Champion Article” or “The Road to a Successful Science Story” would have had fewer words for the reader to take in as a headline.

    Thanks for the well written post! You now have me interested in reading SCIENCE as well!

    • keikok / Mar 21 2012 12:05 am

      Thanks for your comment and adviece Amber0699. I am glad to hear that you are now interested in SCIENCE magazine 🙂
      Titles are always important and I do agree with you and samanthagnanarajuwa saying it could be better. When I look at books, a title is always the one I see. If it grabs my attention, I step forward to a back cover blurb but if the title is not interesting, I don’t even be bother taking the book in my hands. So, great ideas you gave me!!

  5. lachlanpetersen / Mar 19 2012 8:29 am

    I like it how you used the fact you had been reading SCIENCE for so long as way of giving yourself credibility in a way that is not pretentious but rather humanizing. It fits in well as you refer to yourself when you were a child in a blog about an article written about children, it ties it all together nicely in a subtle way.
    I really liked the way you dissected the SPORE rules and the AAAS goals and presented them so you could use to the article to extrapolate a conclusion.
    Though this may be going above and beyond the workload expected of you, it may have been worth mentioning some of the other articles that were also eligible for the award, and discuss why this one triumphed.
    Well done, and yes, I would say that it does meet the goals of AAAS.

    • keikok / Mar 21 2012 12:28 am

      Thank you for your comment and advice Lachlanpetersen.
      I actually thought about comparing the goal of SCIENCE and the other magazine, NATURE for instance. However, as you mentioned, if I also talked about the other magazine, it would be too wordy and exceed word limit…but I would love to discuss the different goals of magazines 🙂
      Thank you for the good suggestion!

  6. lachlanpetersen / Mar 19 2012 8:32 am

    edit – *…so you could use the article to extrapolate a conclusion.*

  7. stinaboroe / Mar 20 2012 5:27 am

    A very informative post. Thank you! You have done a good job on clearly outlining the goals of SPORE and AAAS. I agree with you that the winning article fits the criteria.
    However, I find it interesting that you, as a steady reader of ‘Science’, had never heard of the goals of AAAS before. Does anyone know why they don’t promote their goals more clearly?

    • keikok / Mar 21 2012 11:43 pm

      Thanks for your good point Stinaboroe!
      In my opinion, I think they have not broadcasted because the goals of AAAS exist not for the target audiences but it does for AAAS. For example, I have couple of goals in my life but I do not necessary have to tell about them to the others because they are MY goals and not the others. However, as I am not hiding them, I sometimes tell the others part of them if they ask. I think it is happening not only to AAAS but also any companies, or even anyone. They do not have to promote their goals because spreading their goals is not part of their goals.
      However, since AAAS is a company and people want to know what their goals are so that they need to note them.
      What do you think?

  8. priscillalyf / Mar 21 2012 4:10 am

    Your post was very thought provoking. I have not heard of this science magazine, but from reading this article it sounds like a very good magazine to be interested in and to start reading.

    I really liked the idea of having a science educated program for underprivileged children and making it fun to learn about astronomy. Children have different views about science than we do. We think of science as subjects; physics, chemistry and biology, doing experiments, researching about scientific topics but for children who do not have any science background knowledge and if taught about science in an interactive way, they would think it is fun to learn about science and would want to learn more about the topic, in this case astronomy.

    While reading this essay, it is something pleasant to read, talking about children learning about science related materials reminded me of my childhood when I use to watch science related television programs, for example “The Magic School Bus” or go to science related interactive museums like “Science World.” I thought learning about science in that sort of manner was much more interesting then how we learn about science today, for example reading textbooks.

    After reading this essay I also thought it passed all the criteria to make it an award winning essay. It promotes science, tells us about interactive ways to learn about science for children, how we can communicate science to children and increases public awareness about science.

    I was wondering though, where and how did you hear about this magazine when you were 10?

  9. keikok / Mar 21 2012 11:58 pm

    Thank you for your comment Priscillalyf.

    I met SCIENCE magazine when I was 10 because of my dad. He is oceanology and he gave it to me saying “You do not have to read”. However, I got hooked on it because it had such a great photos. I still remember that when I saw it I thought “Cool!!”
    I think this is part of SCIENCE magazine because even though I was not their target audience, it grabbed the mind of a kid. It is interesting that even though the writers talk about the program for kids, the target audiences for the article are usually adults. A story of kids has such a great allure to attract adults.
    Even “The Magic School Bus”, target audience of this program seems children; I think their target audience is also the parents who pay for it. The program also has to grab the attention of parents so that the parents make their kids to watch it.

  10. lodoubt / Mar 22 2012 5:20 am

    The AAAS goals were an interesting direction to take this, I didn’t realise they had such comprehensively defined critera at SCIENCE. I definitely agree with samanthagnanarajuwa though, in fact I was very overwhelmed by the emotional aspect of the article, which is not a specific AAAS goal but helps a little with all of them. The initiative itself definitely meets all those goals to me, which is pretty awe inspiring when you think about it.

    Whilst Carolina and Deidre both had a role in the well designed Deadly Moons program the article is about, the part that really bowls me over is the quality of the writing in the article itself. It’s almost impeccably laid out and very emotive. I’m sure that any kind of speech by the judges associated with winning this prize would include that, but it almost seems a shame that there is no quantitative recognition for these qualities. I say almost because ultimately I believe it should stay how it is, the quality of the writing about a project doesn’t change whether or not it is a good project.

    • keikok / Mar 23 2012 3:16 am

      Thank you for your comment Lodoubt.
      I agree with your last sentence “the quality of the writing about a project doesn’t change whether or not it is a good project.” I reckon the Deadly Moons program is great inspiring kids in the world of space. On the other hand, as you also mentioned, Carolina J.Ö.G. and Deirdre K. did impressive job writing about the program but it does not affect to the program itself or, the student might be increased according to this article…
      When you create something, you always need to think about the target audience and key messages which can accomplish your goals. However do you think we need to know about their goals when we were given?

  11. mmaideni / Mar 22 2012 3:48 pm

    An award-winning story indeed. It becomes an encouragement for the class room teacher who would have to convey the science of the universe to such a tender, enthusiatic age of 4-10 year olds. The teacher feels good at the end of the lesson having the children themselves demonstrate with use of art work in a scientific situation. The picture also makes a good poster for the classroom board where the underpriviliged can appreciate the existence of the universe and probably generate more discussion in a science class without watching a movie of any sort. Everyday the child enters the classroom understands that while other people are sleeping and resting others are busy doing their work. The goals of the AAAS are met by the visualisation of the universe of astronomic bodies such as the moon and the sun at early stage of human life.

  12. noelynn / Mar 22 2012 10:27 pm

    The AAAS essay was probably the best one at that time, so it was awarded.
    While I commended the use of images or photo in this case, the title of the post was perhaps too wordy. However, I enjoyed reading through the post.

    The overall presentation and format used was easy and very readable. The targeted audience would be a science community who is very aware of what’s going on. I am just making this assumption based on the photo and your expressions outlined in the SPORE and the criterion used for the AAAS.

    Overall, it was a very light presentation of your thoughts, I could easily follow and enjoyed it.

    • keikok / Mar 23 2012 4:30 am

      Thanks for your comment Noelynn.
      When I write a blog post, the most biggest point I concerned about is to make it simple. Since English is not my first language, it is hard for me to use jargons any way. If I could read the article without a dictionaly, I can say it would be easy to read 🙂
      What do you think Noelynn? What do you concern about most when you write something in your second laungage?

      • noelynn / Apr 24 2012 3:24 am

        Keiko, I think we are on the same boat. I am concerned about the clarity of the message and how simple we can write.
        Thanks Keiko, I like your posed question.

  13. tahliajade / Mar 23 2012 2:59 am

    I myself haven’t heard of the Science magazines, but I did read Double Helix Magazine religiously as a kid and I remember that it was the pictures that originally drew me in too.
    This article is very well written and it includes every one of the AAAS goals in its content. Very impressive, although I must say that the main thing I was interested in was the program itself and not how the essay was written. I don’t think I paid much attention to the structure because I was too engrossed in the topic haha.
    As a kid, I would have LOVED to participate in a program like this! It sound absolutely amazing! I remember being so fascinated with space…although, this could have had a lot to do with my obsession with E.T. (I had an E.T. bedsheet and doona set, a doll, a framed movie poster…I was a strange kid…what can I say).
    Remote and underprivileged areas need these sorts of programs to keep kids interested in learning as well as giving them a sense of community with their peers because often, sadly, these sorts of areas come hand in hand with a lot of conflict as well.
    Definitely a worthy read!!

    • keikok / Mar 23 2012 4:45 am

      Thanks for your comment Tahliajade.

      I love the fact that you had E.T. bed set when you were kid but I think you still can have them in your room since it seems part of your dream!
      It is sad that you can dream about anything when you were kid but people sometimes stop dreaming about them after the real world. We need to face on to the real world but at the same time, we should keep dreaming, shouldn’t we?
      The Deadly Moon program actually gives kids the dream about the space I believe and I am sure there are many other programs which give great impression to adults too.
      Please let me know if you find anything nice 🙂

  14. Anna Gardiner / Mar 23 2012 5:03 am

    Super post! You anlysed the criteria really well and I agree this story was perfect and deserving of the win. I love how you bought your own personality into the post, it made it so much more enjoyable to read. I just have one question, why’s it called the *deadly* moons program? It makes it sound so sinister when it’s such a lovely concept. Sorry if it’s explained in one of the links, I read them in a hurry.

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