The Science Journal for Kids logo, which is a black rectangle containing the text "Science Journal for Kids" with the black outline of a beaker bubbling over next to it. In a smaller hexagon on the bottom right of the image is the LabXchange collaborator spotlight logo, which is three people in different colors—yellow, red, and blue—joining arms in a circle.

Collaborator Spotlight: Making Science Kid-Friendly with Science Journal for Kids

How do you explain complicated scientific concepts to growing minds? Science Journal for Kids makes science more understandable for kids and teens by writing about it in an accessible—and accurate—way. Tanya Dimitrova, founder and managing editor of Science Journal for Kids, shares more about the organization's work and their engaging content, which is now available on LabXchange!

What does your organization do?

At Science Journal for Kids, we publish articles about scientific discoveries written in a kid-friendly language. Uniquely, all our articles are personally vetted by the original researchers ensuring that their science is presented accurately. We cover topics from environmental science, biology, chemistry, social sciences and, of course, dinosaurs and space travel. Readers can also “meet” many of the scientists we work with in our Ask-a-Scientist video series and podcast.

What's one fun fact that LabXchange users should know about your organization?

Any student can record and send us a question for any of the scientists whose research we’ve adapted. We’ll get the researchers to record a reply and share it in our Ask-a-Scientist page. In one really cool case, the researchers recorded their reply from the field in Africa while surrounded by hundreds of their study subjects

What role does your organization play in science education?

The most important take-aways for our student readers are not the scientific discoveries themselves but the research methods the scientists used to reach them. The scientific method is really the most important cognitive tool that we humans have in our quest to understand how the world works. The scientific approach is essentially normal thinking, just a bit more structured.

A vertically oriented flow chart diagram showing the steps of the scientific method. The text of the steps read: "Observe, Ask Question, Background Research, Hypothesis, Experiment, Analyze Data, Conclusions, Hypothesis supported, Hypothesis not supported, Report Results"

You observe the world. Ask a question. Do background research to find out what’s already known about the topic. Form a hypothesis. Test it with an experiment. Analyze the data and form conclusions. If the hypothesis is supported, share your results. If not, go back to the drawing board.
This is exactly what each of our articles illustrates.

Unfortunately, many students leave school without clarity on how science actually works. We see this in tweets by climate change deniers, in creationism proposals and anti-vaccination campaigns. In a post-truth world governed by social media trends, familiarity with the scientific method is an important skill for a future electorate. If every person is exposed to some real science as a kid, they can develop a rational data-driven understanding of the world.

Who are your personal scientific idols or sources of inspiration?

Sal Khan and the work Khan Academy is doing. I admire and have always shared their mission: providing high-quality educational resources available for free for everyone. I firmly believe that education is the most effective way to improve our world, albeit not the fastest.

Tanya Dimitrova, a woman with dark brown hair in a bun and wearing a brown dress, stands on a stage at a TEDx event. Behind her is a slide about a question ("Do bees get the flu?") which was published in the Science Journal for Kids.
Tanya Dimitrova presenting at a TEDx talk about Science Journal for Kids.

What is the first science experiment you remember performing?

I must have been in primary school when someone told me about the superstition that dreaming of swimming in clear water meant that something bad was going to happen to me the next day. And in general, that dreams were omens for things to come. I found it hard to believe without evidence so I set off to collect data in search of a correlation. For more than a month, first thing every morning, I kept a diary with everything I remembered dreaming that night. Then in the evenings, I listed (in general terms) what had happened to me that day. When I analyzed my data, it turned out there was no correlation at all. (I didn’t know the words “data” or “correlation” at that time.) Alas, dreaming of swimming in any kind of water never turned out to mean anything.

What motivates you to continue your work?

The abundant positive feedback we get from teachers. To me, teachers are the unsung heroes of modern times. They have such a profound impact on a person's life (for better or worse), the demands and requirements of their job are so high, the pay is so low considering their importance. And there are so many wonderful people getting burnt out and abandoning this career. If our resources can help, even marginally, teachers in their work, all our efforts are worth it.

Finally, what's your favorite science joke?

Written by
LabXchange team

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