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 twelve-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.

This Week's Main Project
Project: Now You See It

Resources Needed:2 microscopes, invertebrate, plant and animal cell slide sets
School Poverty Level: High
Location:  Scenic Heights Elem School, Pensacola, FL
Total Cost: $518.19
Still Needed: $188.19 Completed!
Expires:  Dec 01, 2013

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Rudd:

My Students: Have you experienced the magic of looking through a microscope? My students have not. At the end of the school year, my fifth graders take a standardized science test. I need to make science come alive for my students. Microscopes are a step in the right direction.

I work in a Title 1 city school. I teach an inclusion classroom, and have students with a wide range of talents and disabilities. I also teach English Language Learners (ELL). It is not unusual to have two to three languages spoken in my classroom. Our school received a C for our school grade, and one area that we need to make progress is in our fifth grade science scores. We have a makeshift science lab, and our school lacks equipment necessary for exciting scientific experimentation to occur. My students with special needs, my ELL's, and my academically gifted students would all benefit from using a microscope. In addition to my class, these microscopes would be used by 6 other fifth grade classrooms.

My Project: Currently, if my students want to look at the parts of a plant or animal cell they have to rely on a picture in a book. If they want to examine a part of a plant they have to use a plastic hand lens. Giving them the opportunity to look through a microscope will excite and engage my students. Instead of labeling a xerox copy of a cell, my students would see with their own eyes the parts of the cell. They could then sketch their own drawings, and the study of plant and animal cells goes from dull and boring to thrilling and exciting. As our world becomes more technical, my students need to be excited about science.

Our fifth grade science lab has a very limited budget. Our school can not afford to spend money on microscopes. Having two microscopes in the science lab will create many exciting learning opportunities for our entire fifth grade. Viewing cells or invertebrates through the lens of a microscope will inspire my students to be good scientists. The majority of the students in my classroom have never even seen a microscope, and it is important they have this life enriching experience.

Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!
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: Every Action...

Resources Needed: 6 Newton's Cradles
School Poverty Level: High
Location:  Gwinn Middle School, Gwinn, MI
Total Cost: $251.29
Still Needed: $99.65
Expires: Jan 12, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Gollakner:

My Students: Knowledge is different than understanding. My students are mesmerized by a very small Newton's Cradle that I have in my classroom that I use for demos and discussion. Demos can give knowledge, but to truly understand students need to have materials in hand to experiment and problem-solve first hand.

My 6th and 8th grade students and I live in a small rural town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, just south of Lake Superior. The best aspects of my middle school students are their natural curiosity and great sense of humor. They keep me smiling every day. I love how they come into class excited for what we are going to do next!

My Project: Students are mesmerized by Newton's Cradle. Adults are mesmerized by this simple contraption that so perfectly proves Newton's Laws of motion. The beauty of Newton's Cradle is that it takes a child's natural curiosity and turns it into learning. Students may have the knowledge of the laws of motion, but they may not truly understand what they mean. Having enough Newton's Cradles for children to work and experiment in small groups will turn knowledge into understanding. Students will be able to experiment with the fact that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction." They will be able to better visualize and grasp the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy. They will be able to witness energy transfer between moving objects. And the list goes on. This cradle also lends itself for a great way to introduce how we make hypotheses based upon previous knowledge and observations before experimenting.

Newton's Cradles do more than simply help children understand these important underlying principles of physics... they spark fascination and cause children to want to learn more. As a science teacher, my number one goal is to have children fall in love with science so they want to learn more about the topics we cover or pursue a career in this amazing field of learning!

Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!


Last week's main project, Spread Your Wings and Fly!!, was completed. Elementary school students in Hodges, SC will have the materials they need to study the butterfly life cycle.

The bonus project last week, Who Ever Said You Can't Learn Through Osmosis?, was also completed. Middle school students in Atlanta, GA will have the materials they need to do osmosis and diffusion experiments.

You can see the teacher's thank-you note at the link above. Many thanks to all contributors!

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.

See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 367!

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.

Donors Choose avatar for Inoculation Project readers to use.

Originally posted to The Inoculation Project on Sun Oct 27, 2013 at 07:00 AM PDT.

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

Your Email has been sent.