Award Winners

2022

Children's Science News

Gold

Cockatoos learn from each other how to open garbage bin

Science News Explores -- October 26, 2021

A panda stands out at the zoo but blends in the wild

Science News Explores -- December 15, 2021

Goldfish driving ‘cars’ offer new insight into navigation

Science News Explores -- February 16, 2022

The judges liked the cartoon format in these stories from Science News Explores (formerly known as Science News for Students), published by Science News Media Group. The stories discussed how cockatoos teach each other how to open garbage bins, how pandas stand out in zoos but blend into their environment in the wild, and how researchers managed to put goldfish in the driver’s seat in an experimental apparatus that allows them to maneuver across a room. “I loved all three stories and the wonderful way the well-written text jibed with the comics,” said judge...Read more

Silver

On a journey to finding a happy zoo

Kids Donga Science (South Korea) -- November 15, 2021

Home for lost animals, Sanctuary

Kids Donga Science -- December 1, 2021

In an ambitiously comprehensive look at the state of South Korea’s zoos, Kids Donga Science enlisted children as “Zoo Guards” to help report on regulated and unregulated zoos near their homes. Under the guidance of veterinarians and other professionals, the teams of children found more than 150 facilities that did not need to register as zoos because they housed fewer than 10 species or 50 individual animals. Most of them were animal experience centers such as raccoon cafes and parrot cafes, which have been surging in number and which have raised concerns about possible zoonotic...Read more

2021

Children's Science News

Gold

“Why bird nests aren't covered in poop” Sept. 2, 2020

Vox

“The secret history of dirt” Sept. 3, 2020

Vox

"How to be a Cloud Detective" Sept. 4, 2020

Vox

In the first of three award-winning segments, the Vox team uses the discovery of a bird’s nest on a porch swing as an opportunity to view hatchling robins closely and answer some important questions about bird life, including why the crowded nest is not eventually covered in bird poop. It turns out the newborns present their poop to their parents in convenient fecal sacs, which the adults gladly remove from the nest. The other segments on the secret history of dirt and the identification of clouds are equally captivating, the judges found. “These are engaging videos for adults as well as...Read more

Silver

"Whales get a second life as deep-sea buffets" Oct. 15. 2020

Science News for Students

When whales die and sink to the ocean’s bottom, their bodies can provide a feast to smaller organisms, including living things found nowhere else on Earth. “Think of it as a watery free-for-all,” Stephen Ornes tells his readers. “Hagfish, octopods, squid, sharks, crabs and worms all gather and devour. It’s a rich ecosystem all of its own. In deep water, where relatively few animals live, the feast may last for years.” For marine biologists, Ornes, says, “the body of a dead whale provides an opportunity to study life in one of the least explored places on Earth: the bottom of the ocean...Read more

2020

Children's Science News

Gold

"Sniffing for Scat"

Cricket Magazine April 2020

Tracy Vonder Brink introduced her young readers to Eba, the conservation canine, who helps scientists find floating scat from orcas, also called killer whales. By studying the scat, the researchers can learn a lot about the health and diet of the animals ― and the pregnancy status of the females ― without disturbing them. “All kids are fascinated with poop, but that's not what makes this story so fantastic,” said judge Christine Dell’Amore, senior editor on the animals desk at National Geographic. “The approach of using Eba as a ‘spokesdog’ for orca conservation is an ingenious way to...Read more

Silver

“Virion: A Tale of Coronavirus for Old School Comic Fans” May 5, 2020

Kompas.com

“Virion: A Tale of Coronavirus for Old School Comic Fans – Part 2” June 15, 2020

“Virion: An Interactive Quest to Find Covid-19 Vaccine” July 9, 2020

A team of Indonesian journalists and graphic artists for Kompas.com used a comic book format to explore the biology of the novel coronavirus that triggered a global pandemic. In a three-part series with 11- to 14-year-olds in mind, the team did not shy away from complexity and encouraged young readers to go on a journey of discovery. The series tells how coronaviruses were first identified, the changing understanding of their modes of action and impact on humans, and how science itself has been changing during the COVID-19 pandemic as researchers rely on new ways to get the latest...Read more

2019

Children's Science News

Gold

“The Science of Whiskers” April 5, 2019

Tumble Science Podcast for Kids

“The Cave of the Underground Astronauts” January 11, 2019

“Why do seals have whiskers?” wondered six-year-old Karah from Baltimore, Maryland. In “The Science of Whiskers,” the Tumble Science Podcast for Kids team was determined to find out. They interviewed “whisker scientist” Robyn Grant and explored how animals use whiskers “just like we use our senses to navigate our world.” Their second award-winning podcast on “The Cave of the Underground Astronauts” adopted the same sense of curiosity, with the podcast team interviewing archaeologists working in a subterranean cave in South Africa. The “underground astronauts” Skype in from 30 meters...Read more

Silver

“Rare-plant hunters race against time to save at-risk species” February 7, 2019

Science News for Students (online magazine)

In her winning entry, Canadian science writer Sharon Oosthoek followed efforts by scientists trying to save Hawaii’s endangered alula, a plant that once was widely used in decorative leis. She lured her readers into the story from the outset, writing: “Somewhere on a windswept cliff on the edge of the Hawaiian island of Kauai grows a plant that looks like a cabbage on a stick. It’s the last wild plant of its kind, and its exact location is a closely guarded secret.” Oosthoek described efforts by horticulturists to save that last, lonely plant by cultivating offspring in greenhouses and...Read more

2018

Children's Science News

Gold

“Fighting to the End” October 2017

Muse magazine

Guinea worm disease, a disabling condition that once afflicted millions of people mostly in rural areas of Africa and Asia, is now close to eradication thanks to aggressive efforts by public health authorities to promote use of clean drinking water. The number of cases has dropped from 3.5 million in 1986 to 25 cases in 2016, and the end is in sight. Jeanne Miller told her young readers about the complex life cycle of the disease, in which tiny fleas containing the guinea worm larvae are ingested through contaminated drinking water. The spaghetti-like worms eventually emerge through the...Read more

Silver

“Why do we have butts?” May 31, 2018

“Science Magic Show Hooray” from The Washington Post

“Why am I so sweaty?” July 12, 2018

“Science Magic Show Hooray” from The Washington Post

Anna Rothschild has a knack for telling stories that both entertain and enlighten her young audience. In one of her award-winning segments, Rothschild explained the evolution of the digestive tract and why the human posterior looks like it does. In the second, piece she explored the functions of sweat, from the days when our ancestors were evolving to more efficiently cool their bodies as they became more active in chasing prey (and avoiding predators). And as Rothschild points out, “Getting a super-efficient way to dump excess heat may have been part of what allowed our brains to get...Read more

2017

Children's Science News

Gold

“A New Way to See”

Ask Magazine

Elizabeth Preston wrote about a blind 13-year-old boy who has learned to use echolocation, a way of seeing with sound, more commonly associated with animals such as bats and dolphins. Humoody Smith, who was born in Iraq and lost his sight at the age of two, clicks his tongue as he walks through his neighborhood, sensing objects by listening for echoes. Preston describes ways in which her young readers can themselves experiment with echolocation. She also talked to a scientist who has used brain scans to determine that echolocators use areas of the brain normally associated with seeing when...Read more

Silver

“The Secret Lives of Plants”

Scholastic Science World

Jennifer Barone wrote about how plants detect and respond to changes in the world around them and even communicate with their neighbors through chemical signals. When scientists recorded vibrations of a caterpillar eating leaves and played the recording back to some plants but not others, the plants exposed to the munching sound produced more chemical defenses against the bugs. When sagebrush plants are attacked by hungry insects, researchers have found, they emit chemical cues into the air to alert neighboring plants. Trees also interact with their environment, Barone reported. Scientists...Read more

2016

Children's Science News

Silver

“The shocking electric eel!” - 2 June 2016

Science News for Students

 

From its opening paragraphs about a zoologist’s unwise affection for a pet eel named “Sparky,” to its description of an eel’s use of electrical pulses to trick its prey into revealing their location, Roberta Kwok’s story on electric eels offered a fascinating glimpse into the behavior of these underwater predators capable of demolishing an entire school of fish. Philip Stoddard, the Florida International University zoologist who attempted to pet Sparky, was immediately zapped with about 500 volts of electricity, roughly four times the jolt he would have received from a...Read more

Gold

“What Really Causes Cavities?” - 25 Jan. 2016

“See Microbes with this DIY Microscope” - 4 Jan. 2016

Three Surprising Questions About Periods” - 10 Feb. 2016

Gross Science from NOVA

 

Anna Rothschild engaged her early adolescent viewers with a series of brightly written pieces about the microbial culprits behind cavities, a clever homemade microscope that can be used to view the denizens of pond scum, and a frank and informative discussion of menstrual periods. “Funny, compelling, intriguingly gross and hugely informative—the videos written, edited, animated and narrated by the multi-talented Anna Rothschild do a marvelous job of conveying science in a form that is kid-friendly and likely to stick in young brains,” said Claudia Wallis, managing editor of...Read more

2015

Children's Science News

Gold

"Where will lightning strike?" - 16 Sept. 2014

Science News for Students (online site)

 

Stephen Ornes told his youthful readers about the natural events that unfold in clouds to produce the visible bolts and roaring thunder that produce one of nature's most dazzling displays — and also one of its most dangerous. Starting with a harrowing story about hikers caught in a thunderstorm atop a mountain in California's Sequoia National Park, Ornes describes what scientists have learned about the behavior of lightning and what they are still struggling to understand. That includes exactly how a bolt is triggered and how to predict where it might connect with the ground...Read more

Silver

"Science Trek: Bats - White Nose Syndrome" - 16 Sept. 2014

Idaho Public Television

 

Joan Cartan-Hansen showed scientists at work in an underground chamber at an old power plant in Idaho, swabbing the forearms and noses of hibernating bats in search of evidence for a deadly fungus that has been killing millions of bats across the nation. Cartan-Hansen described the importance of the research in determining whether the outbreak of white nose syndrome had reached southwestern Idaho (there was no evidence of it in the power plant building), and she noted that humans can spread the disease by transporting the fungus on their shoes and clothing from caves...Read more