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Diary header banner for Daily Kos Inoculation Project diaries.
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 fourteen-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. Each week, we focus on funding a single small-dollar project at a time, in a traditionally red state classroom and preferably in a high-poverty district.
Look for us every SUNDAY morning at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT.

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

We ordinarily present two projects a week. We're awfully close to completing 400 projects, though, and this comes at a time when your intrepid TIP editors have a lot going on in our respective non-online lives, causing us to need a little space before we give a party. So I'm taking advantage of this opportunity to present a much bigger project than we ordinarily tackle, one that we can revisit in future weeks. (Remember that DonorsChoose has something similar to a "rec list", and every time we create a flurry of activity on a project, even if the dollar amounts involved aren't large, we can push the project up that list so it gets shown to more donors outside Daily Kos. That's the secret to how we can hope to see such a big project to completion.)

I liked the community aspect of this project. I hope, when you read the teacher's remarks, her plans will capture your imagination too.

This Week's Main Project
Project: Rocketing Across the Curriculum! A Community Rocket Project

Resources Needed: 56 rocket kits and engines to build and set off their own individual rockets.
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Raymond E. Orr Elementary School, Fort Smith, Arkansas
Total Cost: $645.24
Still Needed: $585.82  $273.06
Expires: Mar 20, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Stephens:

My Students: "Look at it go, Homer. This one is going to go for miles." October Sky, 1999.

There is nothing that gets a child more interested in learning than seeing that learning in action. In our school our teachers work hard to not only teach our students content, but to get them excited about learning.

Our school is located in the middle of one of the most populated cities in Arkansas. We have a high percentage of poverty students, and very few of our students are able to pay for lunch. We are culturally diverse with many different ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds in each classroom. In a school with a high number of below grade level, or "special education," students, we strive to bridge that learning gap by providing many opportunities for general education and special education classes to come together for projects and other learning activities. Our teachers are 100% dedicated to ensuring that every student is given every opportunity to succeed.

My Project: There is not much that will get a child more excited about science than building and setting off a rocket. What we will do is take this rocket building to another level. We will be incorporating lessons across the curriculum. We will read about the rocket program, discuss symbols and learn about rocket science. Our older students, 6th graders, will be building their own rockets and setting them off for the school to see. They will be writing about the entire process, and will create a presentation explaining the symbols they included on their rocket.

This is the small plan. Our ultimate goal is to make this a community wide event. With the high poverty rate in our community, it has become extremely difficult to get parents and guardians to attend school functions. Our plan is to take this unit and make it school wide. We will generate interest in the rockets using the 6th grades, and then we will invite families back to build their own versions of rockets with their kids (modified for age).

We live in a culture where most kids dream of being famous. They don't care how it happens (famous athlete, famous actor, reality star). By placing the power of rocket science in their hands, and getting them excited about science at an early age, we will hopefully plant a seed that will grow into something bigger. Our community will see that school is not just a place where kids go because they have to; it is the place where their futures are being mapped out.

Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!

Our Dollars at Work
Students from Mrs. Rudd's Florida class have their new microscopes from the project, Now You See It.
Mrs. Rudd:
Thank you again for providing my students with the opportunity to use a microscope. Next week, we will put them in the science lab, where every fifth and fourth grade student will have the opportunity to use them. Your donation will touch the lives of almost 300 students.
kids using microscope

kids with thank you signs

There are additional photos at the link.


Last week's main project, A Vivarium For School, was completed. Florida fourth-graders will build a large habitat for plants and animals in their school's lobby, and be responsible for caring for it.

The bonus project last week, Science in Second!, was also rescued with a Kossack assist. Elementary-school students in rural New Mexico will raise ants and lady bugs, as well as study a motorized solar system model.

A project from the previous week, The Great Solar Race - Continues!, was also completed. North Carolina high school students will build and race solar-powered model race cars.

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 396!

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.

How is the poverty level defined at DonorsChoose.org?
Poverty level refers to the percentage of students at a given school who qualify for free and reduced lunch, which is considered a measure of economic need. To be deemed eligible for free lunch, a student's family income must be within 130% of the poverty line (a max of $29,055 for a family of four). For reduced lunch, the family income must be within 185% of the poverty level (a max of $41,348 for a family of four).

Schools with 10%-39% of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "moderate poverty" while schools with more than 40% of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "high poverty". For projects submitted from a school where free lunch rate data is unavailable or unreliable, "Poverty Data Unavailable" will appear. (from DonorsChoose.org)
More information:
DonorsChoose.org main page
DonorsChoose.org blog
About DonorsChoose.org
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.


You are welcome to use The Inoculation Project avatar as your DonorsChoose avatar if you wish. If you need instructions for uploading it to your DonorsChoose profile, you'll find them in this diary.

Donors Choose avatar for Inoculation Project readers to use.
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Originally posted to The Inoculation Project on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:00 AM PST.

Also republished by SciTech, J Town, and Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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