Alien Seasons

This was my first article ever accepted. Since I had never actually published anything, I leveraged my position as an astronomy teacher: I wasn’t a writer, but I do know my subject matter!

The article was fun to write, and it taught me a lot. The first draft turned out to have a lot of words that were unfamiliar to the Ask audience (ages 6-9). I couldn’t use the words ‘orbit’ or ‘angle’, for example. In an article about seasons on other planets. Which are caused by the angle that a planet is tilted with respect to its orbital plane. So ‘angle’ became ’tilt’, and ‘orbit’ became…well, it stayed ‘orbit’. We added a definition. A very good lesson for a first time writer to learn. I had looked at my state’s science education guidelines, so I knew what was appropriate science for 6-9-year-olds. But I hadn’t thought about vocabulary, which for this group is still very much in the developmental stage.

Because I was unpublished, I had to dig through all my files to find two 250-word writing samples. The first was an astronomy exercise I gave to an adult education class. The second was the “Description” and “Benefits” sections that I wrote for a Target Foundation grant for my kids’ elementary school. Seriously–you can find writing samples anywhere.

And do you love those illustrations (by Mark Hicks), or what?