The Inoculation Project: Math & Science in Red State Schools
Solid science education is the best inoculation against ignorance. The Inoculation Project, which was started by hyperbolic pants explosion back in 2009, is a group of Kossacks who gather weekly to try 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. 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 Sunday, we focus on funding a single small-dollar project in a traditionally red state classroom, preferably in a high-poverty district.
Next week's diary will post on SUNDAY morning at 10 AM EDT.
Many school districts throughout the country are teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in grades K-12. LEGO robot kits are emerging as the primary tool to teach STEM.
The LEGO brand is readily recognized by kids and equated with fun. Teachers are exploiting kids' fascination with LEGOs to engage them in learning STEM subjects in new and fun ways. The LEGO Mindstorms robotic systems allow quick prototyping and can be programmed with many languages such as LEGO NXTG programming language, LabVIEW, ROBOTC, or JAVA making them adaptable to many different curricula in grades K-12 as well as in college engineering classrooms. In short, students develop both their creativity by designing and programming their robotics to perform specific tasks and collaborative skills by interacting with others in their group. Students also get a taste of how STEM professionals build, test and refine structures, tools and machines. Many schools are going a step further and forming robotic teams to participate in FIRST competitions.
FIRST is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to engage students aged 6-18 in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills. All of the FIRST Programs also build team cooperation skills, critical thinking skills, and self confidence. The Jr. FIRST LEGO League Challenge (ages 6-9) involves building a LEGO model with a motorized part. Both the FIRST LEGO League Challenge (ages 9-14) and and the FIRST Tech Challenge (ages 14-18) involve building a robot from a kit and programming it to undertake a specific task. For the FIRST Robotics Competition (ages 14-18), students build a robot from scratch and program it to perform prescribed tasks. They compete against other teams at various levels and vie for a spot in "The Super Bowl of Smarts". Students who become involved in FIRST gain valuable skills and enroll in engineering, science, or other technology undergraduate programs more frequently than their peers who have similar backgrounds but did not participate in FIRST.
| This Week's Main Project:
Project: LEGO Robotics Goes Viking!
| BONUS Project #1: When the main project is finished, let's work on this one.
Project: The Hungry Little Caterpillar Experience
A big thank you to lineatus and Dawn Chorus for hosting us last week. Our main project, Is That A Rat Skull In That Owl Pellet? was completed!
Many thanks to all contributors! You can see the teachers' thank-you notes at the links above.
See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 130!
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 are in no way affiliated with DonorsChoose.org, or any of the classroom projects presented for funding.