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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.

DNA_Overview2tyson science literacy quotegalaxy system arp 274
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).

This Week's Main Project
Project: Scope it Out!

Resources Needed: 4 Microscope Professors, Microorganisms Elementary Microscope Slide Set
School Poverty Level: High
Location:  Morton Elementary School, Jacksonville, NC
Total Cost: $476.82
Still Needed: $201.82 Completed!
Expires: May 31, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Schnarrs:

My Students: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.


Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC - 479 BC)

If students see bacteria with their own eyes, they can fathom the thousands they encounter daily. If they find that bacteria on our floor, they'll never forget it!

Our school is near an urban area, but located in a rather rural spot. So, we have trees, fields, water sources, and lots of places to explore. It is a K-5 with approximately 500 students, 95 in four 5th grade classes. We currently team-teach: a pair of teachers teaches 2 classes, with one teacher concentrating on ELA/Social Studies and the other Math and Science. We really embrace project-based learning

My Project: I want our students to develop a natural wonder about the world around them. This only happens when they can explore, touch, and ask questions about real-life phenomena. Students are so much more engaged when they can pick up pond scum, pick at it with tweezers, and place it on a slide to see tiny organisms moving around.

With these microscopes, we will be able to do this. I see my students wanting to examine every little thing they find!

These microscopes will be available to the whole 5th grade in our pod, so they can be accessed easily and quickly to take advantage of "teachable" moments. It will encourage kids to pursue answers to questions that come up as we learn about cells, micro-organisms, and the human body systems.

Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!
We'd like to be able to assist both small and large projects. Our hope is to present a new relatively modest project each week, and then feature a more ambitious project with a long-term deadline, so we can chip away at it each week when our main project is completed. Since DonorsChoose has something similar to a "rec list", 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. In that way, we can help finish projects that may be beyond our means when only our own dollars are considered.
Long-Term Project
When the main project is finished, let's work on this one.
Project: Building Bridges With Engineering Kits!

Resources Needed: KNEX Education Real Bridge Building kits to construct replicas of real bridges across America during our study of historic bridges and how they have changed over the years.
School Poverty Level: Highest
Location: Toccoa Elementary School in Toccoa, GA
Total Cost: $583.98 (Last week's TIP starting point)
Still Needed: $438.09 $383.09
Expires: Aug 08, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Childs:

My Students: You remember that moment in school where you could get out of your seat, find yourself a spot in the room, and dig into something that interested you. This project will provide students that moment to be true architects by building bridges that work and resemble real bridges in our country.

I serve over 90 students in grades K-5 in a small, rural school in Georgia. Most of them qualify for gifted services, but I am able to serve some of the brightest students who don't quite qualify for gifted instruction. Each week, a group of 72 students and rotating groups of about 30 students experience hands-on activities meant to challenge, inspire, and provoke meaningful conversation.

Many of the students that I serve are living in homes with parents who have few resources to support their children's learning. They do have huge hearts and a great desire to see their children achieve and experience the world in whatever ways we can provide it.

My Project: Students will conduct research of famous bridges including a historic bridge in our county that is missing its middle third section. Students will plot the different bridges across the country and color code these according to the type of bridge they are- for example, cantilever, arch, suspension, covered, and pontoon bridges.

In order to turn a 2D activity into a 4D experience, students will design bridges according to directions in the kits. Once, their engineering skills are established, we will look at the similarities between bridges, how these bridges perfectly serve the purpose they were built for, and what would a brand-new style of bridge need for a budding engineer. My kindergarten through fifth-grade students will design a bridge and construct a new model that will serve a specific purpose. An example might be, a bridge connecting our two playgrounds or a bridge spanning a creek that runs through a park down the road from us.

Kids love to interact with each other and materials that will spark their creativity and challenge their thinking. This project will be used year after year in more difficult and open-ended possibilities. It will offer the students the ability to do more than just read, research, or watch videos on a topic. Bridge kits make it easy to see dozens of possibilities in the field of engineering, and this will be a great way for me to break into this branch of science.

 photo bridge_zps312b3f09.jpg
Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!


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. Occasionally, a fully funded project is called off for some reason internal to the school/teacher, and funding is returned. We have no way of knowing why, but DonorsChoose handles those donations in the same way as for expired projects.

See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 403!

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.

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.


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.

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Originally posted to The Inoculation Project on Sun May 04, 2014 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, and Dream Menders.

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