I spent the last Saturday afternoon in September in the National Geographic cafeteria surrounded by a bunch of very smart 12- to 15-year-olds. They were finalists in the Broadcom MASTERS competition. It’s a little like the Intel competition for high schoolers. These kids qualified based on the science fair projects they’d done in 6th, 7th, or 8th grades.
The kids had done great projects, and a lot of them seemed to really get science. It’s not just that they knew a lot about their topic areas, although of course they did. They knew how to do science–how to come up with research questions and test them. That’s pretty impressive in a 12-year-old.
My story on the kids’ projects was posted today at the Science News for Kids website. It’s the first story I’ve done for that publication. Writing for kids is really hard. You know how you sort of have a vague sense of what resin is? If I were writing a story for adults, I could just refer to resin and move on. For this story, I had to actually come up with a definition. Yikes.