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Children's magazine finds home on Web

December 09, 2009

What comes to mind when you think of the word “science?” Conrad Storad asks this question when he speaks to children in school groups. Invariably, at least one person answers, “boring!”

Storad knows that science is a lot of things – useful, bizarre, awe-inspiring and fun. But it is definitely not boring. Storad is a children’s book author and a science writer at Arizona State University. He has made it his mission to show how cool science can be, which is why he helped to create Chain Reaction. The magazine is written and designed for young readers in grades 4-8. It is published through ASU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs. Each edition of the magazine explains how science works using real scientists and real research projects happening at ASU.

After 10 successful years of publication, Chain Reaction has a new home on the Web:

"I like to describe Chain Reaction as a young reader’s ‘scholarly passport to ASU,’” Storad says. “We write about lots of interesting, fun stuff. But we also promote other ASU resources that are available free for teachers, students and their parents. No other university in the United States has a publication of this type written and designed specifically for young readers.”

With Chain Reaction in hand or on screen, kids can read about fish falling from the sky, origami made from DNA molecules, and vaccines grown in tomatoes. But why just read about other people’s explorations? Young minds can satisfy their curiosity with experiments and Flash games, as well. Educators and parents can visit the “Teachers’ Lounge” to learn about dozens of other K-12 resources from ASU’s four campuses.

The new Web site serves as a value-added companion to the print Chain Reaction. Since its inception in 1998, the magazine's staff members have won 23 regional and national awards for writing, design and Web presence. In November 2009, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded the magazine a gold medal, naming it the best special constituency magazine in the western United States.

The free publication aligns with state and national teaching standards. Educators throughout Arizona and around the country use Chain Reaction to boost science and reading skills in a time when education budgets are shrinking and the need for scientific literacy is growing. And kids love reading about real science happening right now.

“Every time my students use Chain Reaction for a class project, or select it for their choice of free reading material, I utter a silent but heartfelt ‘thank you’ to ASU for sending them to me out at the Mesa Detention Center School," says educator Donna Quilici. "By far, it remains one of the most popular supplemental texts in our room.”

Sandi Baker is an Earth science teacher in Tucson, Ariz.

“I cherish my copies of Chain Reaction,” she says. “They are of the greatest use in the classroom. I love them and my students love them.”

The mission of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs is to strategically grow, administer and support research; connect ASU with the business community locally, nationally and internationally; expand clinical partnerships; promote and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; and facilitate technology transfer. For more information please visit the Web site

Media Contact:
Diane Boudreau,
(480) 956-7260
ASU Research Communications