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 The Inoculation Project: Science & Math in Red State Schools

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Solid science education is the best inoculation against ignorance. The Inoculation Project, founded in 2009 by hyperbolic pants explosion, is a group of Kossacks who gather weekly to combat the anti-science push in conservative America by providing direct funding to science and math projects in red state classrooms. Our conduit is DonorsChoose.org, a ten-year-old organization rated highly by both Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau.

Here's a little introductory video about DonorsChoose.

DonorsChoose.org allows you to make direct contributions to specific, vetted projects in public school classrooms, resulting in tremendous and immediate impacts from small dollar donations. A recent Seattle Times editorial endorsed DonorsChoose, along with the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to gain visibility for it in the Seattle area.

We're no Gates Foundation, but each Sunday, we focus on funding a single small-dollar project in a traditionally red state classroom, preferably in a high-poverty district.

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Look for us every week on SUNDAY morning at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT.

This Week's Main Project
Project: Energy Investigations

Resources Needed: energy investigation kits, composting materials, redworms and technology accessories, like a wireless keyboard
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Northeast Elementary School, Pikeville, North Carolina
Total Cost: $950.38
Still Needed: $87.19 COMPLETED! Please see bonus project below.
Expires: July 11, 2012

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Blair:

My Students: Benjamin Franklin said, "Energy and persistence conquer all things." This project will teach my students persistence as they conquer critical science skills needed to be successful in school.

My Third grade classroom contains a tapestry of learners and ethnic backgrounds. We have a large number of military families, students with ADHD and learning disabilities, as well as special education students in our room. My students come from a high need rural community, where the majority of students' families are low income.

My Project: Our "Energy Investigations" project will begin with several hands-on science experiments with soil and energy. The students will investigate properties of soil and how energy from the sun, or heat, can affect composting and soil. Students will also learn about the relationships among porosity, permeability, and particle size of soil. Then, they will investigate alternate forms of energy using other components of the science kits. After the students analyze their findings from the experiments, they will create multimedia presentations (using an iPad and projector) to share their learning with their peers.

Sometimes in life we are given the rare opportunity to make a lasting impact in the lives of those around us. This project will expand my students' understanding of vital science skills and the energy in the world around them. With a chance to make such a lasting impact, how can you refuse?

COMPLETED!
Please see bonus project below!
We try to focus on the main project until it is completely funded, and then move on to the bonus project. If a project doesn't meet its funding goal by its deadline, it dies and any donations to it are referred to their donors to be moved to another project. For that reason, we don't like to split our sometimes limited resources between two open projects. Of course the choice of project to which you donate (if any!) is entirely yours.
Bonus Project #1
When the main project is finished, let's work on this one.
Project: Help My Students Explore Alternative Energy Solutions!

Resources Needed: solar powered race cars to explore the benefits of alternative energy sources  
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Enka Middle School, Candler, North Carolina
Total Cost: $518.56
Still Needed: $96.28 $56.28
Expires: August 13, 2012  

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Atkinson:

My Students: Energy! We all need it and use it on a daily basis. Who will be the ones making the decisions to help solve the growing energy crisis? Our students, that's who! We need supplies and equipment to successfully enable our students to study positive approaches to this problem.

Our Middle School in NC currently enrolls 1,100 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students from a rural NC community, with 58% of our students on free and reduced lunch. Our school goals include setting high academic standards for all students, ensuring academic growth for all students, as well as ensuring that each student acquires the skills needed to compete in the 21st century.

Many students coming to a 7th grade science classroom lack the necessary scientific inquiry skills needed to be successful at this level of study. There is always a struggle of presenting information and the students not being able to investigate the topic fully. The resources provided by this grant would give our students the opportunity to successfully investigate sources of alternative energy.

My Project: I am requesting Solar Power exploration kits for my students. These kits are designed to promote exploration and learning of the many uses of solar energy to help solve many of our energy problems. While discovering the many aspects of solar power, the students will also learn about physics and air quality. The kits are teacher and student friendly, and allow the students to explore the various ways in which the power of the sun can be harnessed to do different types of work.

There are many more lessons and opportunities for the students to learn, however we do not have the funds to provide this invaluable resource to our students. For example, students would learn the basic tenets of physics, environmental impact of humans, technological design, alternative energy sources, and scientific inquiry. Would you consider helping our students become more successful in their studies?

513 solar racer
DONATE HERE
Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!


Our Dollars at Work
Elementary school students from Ms. Hodgson's class are dissecting sheep's brains provided by the project, Inside the Brain.


students dissecting sheep brains

Ms. Hodgson's thank you note and additional photos are posted at the link.


Housekeeping:

Last week's main project, Citizen Science - Birds, Bugs, Trees, and Dirt!, was completed. High-poverty high school students in North Carolina will receive materials that enable them to examine birds, bugs, trees, and soils, becoming citizen scientists, with "No Child Left Indoors!"

The bonus project last week, Folding Paper is More than a Ton of Fun!, was also completed. High-poverty 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in Georgia will study geometry as they work on their origami project: while having a great time folding paper and making interesting shapes, students can see the symmetry, transformations, angle measures, and polygons formed by each fold of the paper.

You can see the teachers' thank-you notes at the links above. Many thanks to all contributors!

See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 192!

When projects are not fully funded by their expiration date, donors are contacted by DonorsChoose and asked to choose another project to which to redirect their donations.

We were concerned about the notice we received from DonorsChoose this week stating that the Plate Tectonics project expired because it was not completely funded. Since the project page indicated that the project was completed and the expiration date was July 21, we contacted DonorsChoose and asked for clarification. DonorsChoose responded that upon completion of a project, the teacher is contacted and given 30 days to confirm that the materials are still needed. In this instance, the teacher never responded to any of the attempts to reach her by email, fax, and phone. As a result, DonorsChoose has assumed she is no longer teaching or no longer needs the materials. The money that you had donated to this project will be available in your account, and you may choose another project to support or you may let DonorsChoose decide for you.

More information:
DonorsChoose.org main page
DonorsChoose.org blog
DonorsChoose.org donor FAQ
All DonorsChoose.org math & science projects search results

We are in no way affiliated with DonorsChoose.org, or any of the classroom projects presented for funding.

Originally posted to The Inoculation Project on Sun May 27, 2012 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, SciTech, Backyard Science, and Kosowatt.

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