MUSE is a discovery magazine for children and teens. It takes intellectual curiosity seriously, while never taking itself too seriously. The editors seek fresh and entertaining articles from the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Timeliness and trustworthiness is essential, but humor, irreverence, and atypical angles are also hallmarks of MUSE.
Each edition of MUSE focuses on a central theme and open-ended organizing questions about the theme. Although articles will provide different angles and perspectives on a theme, we aim for every article in an issue to help a reader begin to form at least an initial answer to the organizing questions.
Ideal MUSE articles build on and extend the existing knowledge most young people in grades 4 – 8 have. We value articles that feature innovators, scientists, and engineers who can explain what they’ve done in a clear and understandable way. Articles that explore new developments related to the organizing questions are especially welcome.
We seek articles that describe how things and processes work, and we look for claims or assertions to be backed up with evidence.
Interested writers should familiarize themselves with MUSE’s style and content, particularly in recent issues. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store where you can also purchase a current issue.) Issues are also available at many local libraries. Authors are expected to ensure accuracy in both conception and detail. MUSE purchases all rights to materials.
- Feature Articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars)
- Profiles and Interviews, particularly of underrepresented STEM professionals (500–800 words)
- Activities and Experiments (500–800 words)
- Photo Essays (100–300 words)
- Science Fiction or Science-Focused Fiction (800–1,200 words)
Articles are commissioned. We invite detailed queries for articles related to upcoming themes (see below). Detailed queries include a cover letter, an outline of the proposed article, including scope and treatment, and proposed resources. Writers new to MUSE should also provide a résumé and writing sample. Authors wishing to write an article that belongs in MUSE but doesn’t fit posted themes may submit an abbreviated pitch that conveys the idea in a paragraph or less. No unsolicited manuscripts please.
See our submission guidelines for artists.
2019 Issue Themes
January 2019: DEEP FREEZE
Organizing questions: What are scientists/engineers exploring in our planet’s coldest ecosystems? Who’s there and why? What changes are occurring—and what will happen next?
Possible topics: Life in the arctic and Antarctic; Scientists who study ice and glaciers and the technology and tools engineers have designed to help them; Effects of climate change in cold ecosystems; Bacteria and viruses trapped in glaciers; Frozen prehistoric life forms; Animal adaptations and human gear/structures for thriving in freezing temps; Astronomy at the South Pole
Queries by: June 15, 2018
February 2019: WHAT’S YOUR BRIGHT IDEA?
Organizing questions: Who can be an inventor? How does it work?
Possible topics: How and why the process is inclusive; Inventing on a shoestring; Unsung or underrepresented inventors; Inventions around the world; Unique inventions by and for kids; Applying scientific principles to the inventing process (I know this … so maybe I can do that)
Queries by: July 13, 2018
March 2019: BODIES IN SPACE
Organizing questions: What makes space travel safe and accessible to humans? What challenges and questions do scientists, engineers, and doctors face … and how are they exploring solutions?
Possible topics: Medical and biological research in space; Daily lives of astronauts and improvements from engineers; Weird changes to bodies in space—especially those we can learn from or act on; Studies of animals and other living creatures in space; Companies launching spacecraft and aiming for travel/tourism/colonization
Queries by: August 10, 2018
April 2019: ON THE MONEY
Organizing questions: How are people using and managing money in new ways?
Possible topics: Comparing cash, credit, and digital currency; Security in digital finance; How banks work and how money moves; Kids’ bank accounts and finance apps; Gaming and money, e.g. in-game purchases; Microfinance as philanthropic strategy; Mobile banking for under-banked communities in US and elsewhere; Designing secure physical currency; Is a cash-less society possible?
Queries by: September 14, 2018
May/June 2019: LET’S MAP IT
Organizing questions: What good is a map? Who makes them, and how?
Possible topics: How maps and mapping have changed over time; Blind spots or problems with maps; Improvements in maps of Earth, airspace, outer space, the human body; GPS; How Global Information Systems help people; Navigation systems for self-driving cars; Geocaching
Queries by: October 12, 2018
July/August 2019: FIRE ALERT
Organizing questions: How and why do wildfires burn? And what can we do about them?
Possible topics: Natural v human caused and trends over time (such as increasing occurrences of drought); How to manage conflicts between human development and natural disasters; Warning systems and emergency responses; Detection and fire-fighting tech, including robot firefighters, drones, satellites; Effects on pets and wildlife; Unexpected consequences
Queries by: November 16, 2018
September 2019: SO … MUCH … STUFF
Organizing questions: What is the life cycle of everyday objects? How are we succeeding or failing at recycling, and what opportunities exist?
Possible topics: Things that are hard to recycle (synthetic clothes, electronics, batteries) and what to do about them; Scientific/engineering advances in recycling; Reuse and upcycling, Making things last longer (e.g. light bulbs); Innovations in packaging; How plastic has changed our lives and landscapes; Fresh insight into the Pacific garbage patch; Microplastics; Artwork made with and about trash
Queries by: January 4, 2019
October 2019: THE BIRDS
Organizing questions: Why do birds capture the attention of scientists and citizens alike? What do we learn from observing them closely? How do human actions affect birds?
Possible topics: The Big Year; Ways to get involved—everyday observation, citizen science projects, careers; Birds and conservation and/or impact of climate change; Birdsong; Migration; The why and how of building bird-safe structures and cities; What scientists can learn from birds in museums; Possible Halloween angles: Hitchcock’s famous film; Dark folklore about crows, ravens, vultures
Queries by: February 8, 2019
November/December 2019: MARVELOUS MAKERS
Organizing questions: How are maker labs changing the world? How are 3D printers making serious inventing widely accessible?
Possible topics: The design process, step by step; Maker labs in libraries and schools; 3D printers and other digital fabrication tech; Open Source, defined; Why keep “dying” arts like handwriting/weaving/knitting/letterpress alive; Programming Raspberry Pi etc.; Cool projects from young makers
Queries by: March 8, 2019