MadSciMag, Where Teens Drop Mad Science.
Five of the top ten industries today involve a deep understanding of the life sciences: biomedical engineering is the fastest growing occupation, with medical scientists, physician assistants, biochemists and biophysicists right behind them. Yet, students lack opportunities to engage with science in a deep, meaningful way during the years their critical thinking skills most need exercise: their teens. The MadScience Media Initiative offers an out-of-school learning experience that prepares this generation for success.
Okay, but… How?
We Ask Critical Questions,
Find Scientific Answers, and
Explain Our World.
In a nutshell? The MadScience Media Initiative is a nine-week, action-packed investigative boot-camp for young science reporters in training.
Nine weeks in a teen’s life. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, nine weeks is what it takes to make a habit – or rekindle a dormant passion. In these nine weeks, teens learn the scientiﬁc and journalistic reasoning skills they need to be critical thinkers in the 21st century economy, while having the times of their lives.
The Training Regimen:
Week One: Mission Brieﬁng and media literacy assignment – understanding how to read and construct a story.
Week Two: Research Methods – conducting online and in-person research.
Week Three: The Scientiﬁc Method – learning best practices and limits of research, and communicating data via infographics.
Week Four: Critical thinking – compare and contrast different media coverage and develop questions to minimize bias.
Week Five: Writing and video editing – interviewing key scientists in pairs.
Week Six: Developing the multimedia story in four teams: research, writing, video and design.
Week Seven: Follow-up research and preliminary video, writing edits.
Week Eight: Final edits – wild audio, music, voice-overs for video; ﬁnal clean-up and citations for feature articles.
Week Nine: Project completion. Teens, parents, mentors and community members gather for a pizza party and interactive presentation of MadSciMag (Mad Science Magazine), resulting in a multi-generational conversation about the content these teens have explored and shared.
We’ve just completed our pilot program, and are preparing curricula for our Spring Issue, on the Hidden Sugars in Food.
Who’s Behind This?
MadSciMag is a project of BetterBio, in partnership with Science Club for Girls (SCFG) and others, soon to come. BetterBio and SCFG have come together to realize our shared mission of fostering the development of our local youth in the ﬁelds of science, technology, and communications. This initial pilot is a healthy collaboration between our two organizations’ complementary capacities: Science Club for Girls brings proven expertise in electrifying young women around the sciences and BetterBio provides a cadre of dedicated scientists, science journalists and community educators that can connect that science to people’s lives.
BetterBio’s mission is to empower disenfranchised communities typically ignored by existing media outlets with the information they need to lead healthy and successful lives and to help place that information in context. BetterBio’s strategy combines media and education, serving three major target audiences: teens, parents, and patients. In order to best address the needs of teens, we work with them to develop an educational and interactive online media outlet called MadSciMag. Here, they learn to employ the journalistic and scientific methods in order to understand and report on the world around them. These skills are taught through in-person, after-school programs, the first of which began in Cambridge, MA on August 10, 2011. Through MadSciMag, teens serve as the ambassadors to their communities, sharing and translating critical knowledge about health, the environment, and economic justice.
Science Club for Girls’ mission is to increase the self-confidence and literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) of K-12th grade girls belonging to groups that are underrepresented in these fields, through free programs that include hands-on learning, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. SCFG serves approximately 900 children annually through school year programs in Cambridge, Newton, Boston, Lawrence, and Fitchburg. Its 9-12 grade Media Team Program is critical in engaging more than 75 teen girls in STEM-related research, writing, video, web design. Over 75% of our program participants are girls of color, primarily Black and Latina. Approximately 50% of the girls will be the first generation in their families to attend college. 100% of the girls are rising leaders with great potential to affect positive change in the world. Please help us reward their hard work!
The MadScience Media Initiative prepares local teens with the scientiﬁc and journalistic skills needed to turn their natural drive for discovery into lifelong achievement. Please contact us to get involved.