Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids!
Bigfoot, aliens, UFOs, ghosts, lake monsters and more. Kids love books and articles on these topics and there are plenty of them out there. The problem is, tasked with sharpening their critical thinking skills, I’m often dismayed at how unscientific and unskeptical these books can be. The only person really pushing a great kid-friendly skeptical view of these topics has been Daniel Loxton in his fantastic Junior Skeptic issues. But those only come bound in the regular Skeptic magazine and I can’t really justify getting a subscription for a grown up magazine at my elementary school for an insert. Here’s hoping the success of his excellent book, Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be leads to more of his wonderfully illustrated work for kids being published in book form.
But now we have a great, and amazingly free, resource for our students. I dare say it may be the most valuable critical thinking tool I’ve seen come out specifically for kids recently. It’s Dr. Robert Carroll’s famous Septick’s Dictionary repackaged specifically for kids nine and up. The Skeptic’s Dictionary for Kids currently has around fifty articles that come straight from the original Skeptic’s Dictionary but they’ve been re-written in a more accessible manner without being “dumbed down” and he’s added tons of fun illustrations. He’s even added a little speaker symbol next to difficult words that can be clicked on to hear pronunciations.
And did I mention it’s free? It is! It’s completely free and ad-free! So if you get any requests for information on astrology or werewolves or vampires or crop circles or that 2012 doomsday nonsense, now you have the perfect site to share for inquiring minds and you’ll be happy knowing they’ll be sharpening their critical thinking skills while they enjoy tales of crazy creatures and nutty delusions. For older students, or those needing more references with their articles, the original Skeptic’s Dictionary is still a wonderful resource, but there are a few text ads.
Partee Elementary Library