Robotics. Artificial Intelligence. Climate Change Solutions. Nanotechnology. Gene Editing. Autonomous Vehicles. Science and technology are ever-changing. We may not know where these innovations will lead, but our kids will most likely be part of their development and implementation.
Now more than ever, it is so important that we raise our kids to be scientifically literate. According to the National Academies, scientific literacy is “the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.” Our children need to have these skills so they will be empowered to confront critical issues that impact their lives.
How Magazines Build Scientific Literacy
One way for our children to expand their scientific literacy is by reading articles about science and technology topics. This will give them practice in understanding science and how to engage in conversations about the complex information presented.
But how can we make it fun for them? Well, a new magazine was developed to do just that. Smore—a magazine to know more and science more—is a bi-monthly, comic-style magazine to appeal to all children who enjoy science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.
Created by female scientist Sarita Menon, Smore is a “new kind of science magazine for curious girls everywhere to stay interested in science and grow up to be confident, brilliant and successful women in science and technology”. Smore aims to bridge the gap between the 74 percent of middle school girls who say they enjoy science and the fewer than 15 percent of them who actually enter the workforce in science-related fields. Sadly, cultural stereotypes imply that girls have lower ability in technological fields compared with boys, which causes them to believe they are not good at STEM starting at a young age.
Although the magazine is targeted to girls ages 7-12, it appeals to all kids and teens interested in science. My nine-year-old son can vouch for this!
Why Smore Magazine Is So Special
My son and I thoroughly enjoyed reading through our copy of Smore. It is rich with creativity, cutting-edge knowledge, and inspiration. We found the following aspects of this magazine particularly unique:
From robotics to space to environmental issues, Smore covers the gamut of STEM topics that will interest kids. The magazine begins with a Science In The News section that covers some of the latest discoveries. My son said it expanded his mind by teaching him new facts. He especially loved learning about how slime cells can communicate with each other.
Science Like A Girl was fascinating, focusing on a professor of computer science who learned how to merge computers and psychology in her work in the robotics field. It presented the many ways that robots are being designed to help people with disabilities and injuries.
Science Diva was one of the best articles in the magazine. It really speaks to young readers because it shows how one of their peers can make a huge difference in scientific research to do something amazing like working on a cure for cancer. My son enjoyed reading the interview and felt so connected to the story. He kept talking about how amazing Nia the young scientist was.
My son really enjoyed reading all of the articles and said he would definitely recommend it to his friends—both boys and girls. He hopes that the next edition has some articles related to science and sports.
We enjoyed the modern, playful design of the magazine. The layout is very organized, with lines separating different parts of articles and bubbles calling out certain text. Also, some words and phrases are highlighted to make it easier for the reader to understand the key points of an article.
There is a wide variety of colors, backgrounds, and fonts used to provide character for each section. For example, the earth science section about mushrooms was designed in brown and green to look like earth tones, while the fun facts page about blood appears all in red. We also loved how the DMI’s Diaries section was designed with notebook paper in the background to look like a diary was filled out.
It is also clever how there is a mix of drawings, schematics, cartoons, and photographs to present the different topics. The biographical articles have photographs of the people discussed, while the more comical sections contain cartoon-type drawings.
And a huge bonus is that it is printed on 100% recycled paper!
Smore is well thought out because it presents content in a variety of ways to grab a young reader’s attention. The Trivia page makes a game out of testing their knowledge and learning new facts. The Laugh Out Laugh section includes a comic strip featuring a technology theme that is sure to have readers chuckling. Smore wants children to be inspired by the articles they read and communicate their thoughts and ideas to be shared to other readers. This is done through the Smore Club page where kids’ contributions are highlighted. Finally, the last section called Colorplay includes an interactive color-by-number map to identify the status of wetland distribution in the United States. Because Smore makes STEM so enjoyable, it is the perfect supplement to our kids’ science curriculum at school so they can keep learning at home.
One of the most important takeaways from my son’s time with the magazine is that he felt inspired after reading some of the articles. The Imagine and Inspire section peaked his interest in wanting to invent something on his own. He also really loved the article called Humanizing Robots because it described various types of working robots. Dr. Hoffman’s story about his robotics engineering lab definitely grabbed my son’s attention. He just made the robotics team at his school, so he can really utilize what he learned from this article in his own designs. By reading about a real robotics engineer, he now understands that he can also follow that career path someday.
Subscribe To Smore Today
Smore is available as a subscription in print in the USA and online to anyone that has a device which can download the app. Smore would make a wonderful birthday or holiday gift for a school-age child. Subscribe now.
*The views expressed in this post are my own.