For this contest, The Learning Network invites you to bring that same spirit of inquiry and discovery to finding a STEM-related question, concept or issue you’re interested in, and, in 500 words or fewer, explaining it to a general audience in a way that not only helps us understand, but also engages us and makes us see why it’s important.
If you click on any of these articles, you’ll see that they are written for a general reader. Special technical or scientific knowledge is not required, and each is designed to get our attention and keep it — by giving us “news we can use” in our own lives, or by exploring something fascinating in a way that makes it easy to understand and shows us why it matters.
That’s what Times journalists do every day across our Science, Health and Technology sections, and it’s what Science News and Science News for Students do on their sites too, where journalists explain things like meteor showers, the science of ghosts and how sleep may affect test scores.
So what questions do you have about how the world works? What science, technology, engineering, math or health questions might be inspired by your own life or experiences? What innovations, processes or problems in any of these areas puzzle or intrigue you? What concepts in STEM — whether from biology, physics, psychology, computer science, algebra or calculus — have you learned about, in or out of school, that might be useful or fun to explain to others?
The best of this kind of writing includes three elements we’ll be asking you to include, too:
It begins with an engaging hook to get readers’ attention and make us care about the subject.
It quotes experts and/or includes research on the topic to give context and credibility.
It explains why the topic matters. Why do you care? Why should we care? Whom or what does it affect, why and how? How is it relevant to broader questions in the field, to the world today and to our own lives?
Read more about the contest here!