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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 is 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.

Today, faithful and generous donors, we're looking at just one project, one whose needs are on the higher end of those we usually tackle. We'll confess that we have an agenda in giving airtime to a few somewhat ambitious projects this month: we have a big celebration coming up, because we're almost to the point of funding our 200th project. We have some special plans for that celebration, and so we're buying ourselves a little time by not completing two smaller projects every week, without slacking off on supporting worthy classroom projects.

Obviously, we can't predict exactly when our celebration will happen, because we can't be certain when any given project will be completed, but we think we're looking at sometime in July. When it's time, we promise we won't be quiet about it -- it's not a surprise party! We hope you'll all join us, because you're the reason we've been able to come this far with our little enterprise. Many thanks to all of you, no matter what form your help has taken!

The Inoculation Project was originally set up to fund math and science projects in red state classrooms. Due to the lack of interesting math projects we have featured many more science projects. This week we have a teacher with an academically diverse class of students who has come up with a unique way to teach coordinate graphing. I think we want to be part of this!

This Week's Main Project
Project: Help! I'm Stranded on an Island and Need to Plot My Location

Resources Needed: ndividual graphing boards and accessories
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Fred A Anderson Elem School, Bayboro, NC
Total Cost: $205.32
Still Needed: $156.79 Completed!
Expires: Jun 21, 2012  

Teacher's Comments from Ms. Revels:

My Students: I tell my students that they can achieve anything as long as they have determination and a drive for success. Many of them can only see the present, so I try to open their minds to the possibilities that lie ahead and challenge them to become citizens that can make a difference in the world.

My fifth grade students are located in a rural community in North Carolina. The county is lined on three sides with water and a large portion of the county was destroyed due to Hurricane Irene. Many of the students are still living in transitional homes until permanent housing can be arranged. I teach 41 students which include 9 exceptional children, 1 bipolar child, 10 attention deficit, 1 autistic, and 7 academically gifted students. Even though it is a very diverse group, they are kind students that are willing to help each other and encourage each other daily. The students strive for success, but sometimes the struggle is overwhelming. That is why my classroom is very hands on and interactive so that it gives opportunities for success to everyone each day. The students need lessons that relate to real world situations and manipulatives to experience positive educational concepts that relate to their prior knowledge and can help them succeed in the classroom and in the world.

My Project: I would like to do a unit on coordinate graphing "Survivor" style. Many of my students are extremely involved in watching the Survivor series on television. This unit would have the students stranded on an island located somewhere in the world. Over a course of four weeks, the students would use clues, activities, and the materials to graph coordinates to determine what island he or she was stranded on. Throughout the unit,each student will have to complete mental and physical "challenges." With each challenge, the children will receive hints and coordinates to plot on their graphs. I am requesting graphing boards and accessories in order for the students to record their data during the unit. The boards will be a changeable resource to guide the student. The large graph will be used to plot the entire class. Students will use the data to make a guess about which island they are stranded on. Once a student has the correct island, he or she will be entered into a "final" competition.

The majority of my students are overcoming personal obstacles everyday and I try to make school a place where they can leave their worries behind. I feel that this unit would give them an opportunity to excel because it is based on one of their interests and it allows time for student learning and team building skills in a nontraditional setting. It is important to use activities for a diverse group of students that motivates them for success.

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COMPLETED!
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: Case of the Needy Criminalists.

Resources Needed: magnifying glasses, safety glasses, and a ruler for photographing evidence, and 2 books of case studies
School Poverty Level: High
Location:Granby High School, Norfolk, VA
Total Cost: $193.89
Still Needed: $193.89 $158.89
Expires: Oct 22, 2012

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Stewart:

My Students: Somewhere a body is discovered...So what DO forensic scientists do? They are the people who carry out the scientific work in a criminal investigation. Getting jobs for students with strong science backgrounds is becoming more appealing, in large part due to the TV shows related to forensic science.

Our four-year comprehensive high school is the only high school in our school division that offers an International Baccalaureate program. Our student population is approximately 2,100, 44% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Student demographics: approximately 44% black, 47% non-Hispanic white, 4% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 1% other. Granby employs 106 FT teachers for a student-teacher ratio of 20:1.

The forensic class consists primarily of college-bound juniors and seniors who have passed chemistry and geometry and are interested in pursuing STEM careers.

My Project: Because I am a floating teacher, I am requesting some easily portable lab equipment (magnifying glasses, safety glasses, and a ruler for photographing evidence) so that the students can each get hands-on experience during all investigations. Additionally, I am requesting a book of case studies to inspire the students to think and problem solve.

Our science staff has been publicly recognized by the school district for our commitment to giving students authentic experiences both in the lab and out in the field. Our philosophy is to get the students "doing science" instead of just reading about it.

Many of our students have already had encounters with law enforcement by the time they graduate. Our goal is to expose them to the science behind the law and inspire them by doing "cool" things like: crime scene documentation (sketching and photography), fingerprinting, blood spatter analysis, DNA tracking, hair and fiber analysis, analysis of bones and teeth, and mock trials featuring forensic evidence.

This project is just the beginning of outfitting our forensic lab with some of the basic tools of the trade. Having supplies for each student in the class will ensure that all have the potential to participate equally. Many of the procedures are time consuming, so students without the tools will be spending their time off task. The more students we have involved, the better the chance that they will get hooked on science.


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


Our Dollars at Work
Middle school students from Mr. Moore's class are working with their solar cells provided by the project, Alternative Energy and the Alternative School.

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Mr. Moore's thank you note and additional photos can be seen at the link.


Housekeeping

Last week's main project, Alternative Energy, was completed. High poverty middle school students in Wyoming will have their solar photon and wind energy kits they need to study alternative forms of energy.

We made a significant dent in the bonus project. We have some time on this project and I will bring it back for a second round in the very near future.

Many thanks to all our contributors who made these projects possible in these classrooms! Thank you notes from the teachers can be seen at the links.

See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 195!

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.

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 Jun 10, 2012 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, Dream Menders, SciTech, and Backyard Science.

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