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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 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.

Look for us every SUNDAY morning at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT.
WELCOME TO OUR PARTY!
Last week, we completed our 200th project at DonorsChoose.org! To celebrate, each of our three regular diarists will pick a project below, for your possible donation, and take the opportunity to say a little bit about why she chose that particular project. We're NOT asking you to address these in order as we usually do. We've chosen them with enough time so that we can bring each back another week, so please feel free to donate to any that might strike your fancy!

IN ADDITION, you've already seen part of our surprise. The awesome navajo has made us a logo for our group, which now appears above as our group avatar and as a diary heading. But there's more: if you ever donate to our projects, and you would like your future gifts to be readily identified as coming from a Daily Kos member, we have a special file you can grab and load to your DonorsChoose profile as your avatar. There is a box below today's projects with the picture and instructions for how to use it. Of course it is not required that you use it - if you'd like to use it, to send a message about who helps classrooms, please feel free.

Late Update: Since all three original projects are now completed (which is completely amazing), we've posted an additional project at the bottom so that latecomers can still play. We'll have time to bring this project back next time or thereafter if it doesn't get finished. THANK YOU to everyone who has pitched in to make our party such an enormous success!!!

belinda ridgewood: I'm interested in all the sciences, but my people are electrical engineers. Some aunts receive nephew pictures that are of their nephews; I get ones of a small nephew's first solder joint (right). When I was little, it was my good luck to have all my male relatives be able to show me interesting stuff about electricity. Kids in school now need a chance to learn about it in science class.
Project #1
Project: It's Electric!

Resources Needed: Alligator leads, a lightning ball, a magnetic field display, and neon glow bulbs in order to better understand electricity.
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Margaret Winn Holt Elementary School, Lawrenceville, Georgia
Total Cost: $184.22
Still Needed: $184.22 COMPLETED!
Expires: Aug 5, 2012

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Rivers:

My Students: Static Electricity, current electricity, and magnetism are some of the most exciting topics for my fifth graders to learn about in science. It is one place where most students have little prior experiences but thrive in learning and wanting to know more.

I currently teach over 200 fifth graders in a Title I school in Georgia. They are the most inquisitive kids you will ever meet! They love to learn and always want to know more about whatever we are learning about! Electricity and magnetism are two topics that they will love to get their hands on.

My Project: By working with these supplies, my students will get the opportunity to develop their own thinking. They will get to do hands on inquiry lessons that will give them a solid foundation about these topics. They will be able to watch how electricity flows through currents by using the alligator leads and banana plugs with wires to light up neon light bulbs. Also, they will be able to actually watch the magnetic field change around a magnet using the display. These items will truly give my students a chance to see how these things work.

My class deserves the chance to experience science in its best form, through open guided inquiry. I know with these supplies, they will increase their knowledge beyond paper and pencil know how. They will truly understand the ends and outs of all things electric and how they work in our world.

COMPLETED!
Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!



nomandates: Speaking as a former student whose least favorite subject each year was whatever science class I was taking, The Inoculation Project brings science to life for me each week. It is always difficult to choose from among so many worthwhile projects, but I lean toward those that seem well-planned and embody a "having fun while learning" philosophy in hopes that students will remember these lessons and that some will even be inspired to pursue careers in science.
Project #2
Project: Give a Hoot! Owl Pellet Dissection and Butterfly Pavilion

Resources Needed: owl pellets and a butterfly habitat to help them move beyond the textbooks into the realm of hands-on science discovery
School Poverty Level: High
Location: W H Rhodes Elementary School, Milton, Florida
Total Cost: $183.12
Still Needed: $158.12 COMPLETED!
Expires: Nov 03, 2012

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Albro:

My Students: Do you remember how it felt to sit in a science class and listen to the teacher lecture, read from the text book, and then answer the questions at the end of the chapter? I want my students to experience science through hands-on experiments, projects, and real life applications.

The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher (Elbert Hubbard). This quote reflects my goal as a teacher - to create independent learners. Each morning I am eagerly greeted by an amazing and diverse group of students who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Many of my students are struggling to cope with the multifaceted dilemmas of living in poverty. In spite of their obstacles, the one thing that I see in all of their eyes is an eagerness to learn. They hang on every word I say, and even beg to stay after school to do more work. My goal is to provide them with educational experiences that will sustain and promote this sense of curiosity and desire for life-long learning.

My Project: Food chains and life cycles are one of the most important science topics covered in my third grade curriculum and is also one of the most high-interest. The implementation of an owl pellet dissection lab will offer students a concrete way to understand how energy, in the form of food, is passed through the food chain. The activities will enable hands-on experiences for the students to be able to better understand the energy cycle because they will be able to explore, touch and discuss the content. The owl pellets are a hands-on experience which demonstrates high level concepts in a way primary students are able to understand. The educational experience of raising butterflies is a project that employs multiple scientific research skills. The students will learn about the life cycle of the butterfly as they watch the transformation day by day from the egg state all the way through the metamorphosis to a butterfly. We will also plant butterfly friendly flowers/plants outside our classroom.

This will be my first experience hatching butterflies in a butterfly pavilion, and I am extremely excited to learn with my students. Dissecting owl pellets allows my students to move beyond the textbooks into the realm of hands-on science discovery. Every year, former students return to my classroom and ask, "Do you remember when we dissected owl pellets?" It is a learning experience that lasts a lifetime.

COMPLETED!
Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!
nervousnellie: I generally look for science projects that feature hypothesis driven experiments, provide materials for an interesting hands-on lab, or need a piece of equipment or software that will allow a high poverty high school or middle school classroom to compete successfully with their more affluent counterparts. For elementary classrooms, I look for projects that have well thought out lesson plans and will capture students attention. My son is a software developer and believes that the job market for computer software developers and engineers will continue to grow. I chose this project because game programming is a clever way to get high school students hooked on coding and will allow them to expand their technological horizons.
Project #3
Project: Game Programming Students Need XBox Controllers

Resources Needed: 2 XBox Game Controllers
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Hillcrest High School, Dallas, TX
Total Cost: $198.56
Still Needed: $159.45 COMPLETED!
Expires: Nov 18, 2012

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Weaver:

My Students: Imagine trying to complete a project without the proper tools?

Our school is an urban school in Texas. We are around 70% free and reduced lunch, and are very ethnically diverse. At one time, we were surveyed it was found that over 40 different languages were spoken at home. In fact, we are diverse in just about every way you could measure a population.

My Project: I am putting together a game programming course using Microsoft's XNA Materials. The materials are free but the equipment isn't, and to best make use of the materials, it is helpful to have XBox controllers.

This course will be based on the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and will be geared to students who have never taken a computer class before.

I believe that all students should be exposed to as many educational experiences as possible. If you never took computer science, how would you know if you could do it?

Unfortunately though, the thought of a Computer Science class seems to turn off students. The good news, is that the thought of a game programming class seems to excite students.


COMPLETED!
Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!
Bonus Project
Project: Recycling to Help Our Environment!

Resources Needed: recycling containers and lids for our recycling program
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Liberty Elementary School, Toccoa, Georgia
Total Cost: $558.84
Still Needed: $166.98 $115.10
Expires: Oct 12, 2012

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Martel:

My Students: Do you do your part to help the environment? My students are trying to do their part by recycling materials found in our classroom and at home. They are also earning money for our butterfly habitat garden as they recycle.

I teach in a rural school in beautiful NE Georgia. My students are a very active group! We have been working with Terracycle.com for the past 3 years, collecting and recycling potato chip bags. We earn money for each chip bag that we send to Terracycle.com. We use that money to improve our butterfly habitat garden. Terracycle.com then upcycles the potato chip bags and turns them into other useful items. This helps to keep trash out of our landfills and we provide a natural habitat in our schoolyard!

My Project: My students would like to expand our recycling program! Terracycle.com offers other programs where we can recycle a variety of items. We have joined the shoe brigade and the glue bottle brigade. We are going to collect used shoes and empty glue bottles and glue sticks. We will send these items to Terracycle.com and they will turn these items into other items! However, we have a storage problem. We need recycling containers to hold the shoes and glue bottles and glue sticks! Having 32 gallon cans with lids will provide a great storage solution!

Not only are we keeping trash out of the landfill, but Terracycle.com also pays us to send them trash! We will receive $0.02 for each glue bottle and glue stick and $0.10 for each pair of shoes. That doesn't sound like a lot, but believe me, it adds up quickly! With this money, we are purchasing new plants for our butterfly habitat garden. We are recycling and providing habitat to help our environment!

You can help my students to help the environment! By funding our project, you will help to keep trash out of the landfills and help us earn money for plants for our butterfly habitat garden.

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


Introducing Our DonorsChoose Avatar!

◊ (Windows users: Right-click / Mac users: Control-click) on the image above and select Save Image As. Save the file on your computer as a JPEG Image file (.jpg).

◊ Go to DonorsChoose.org. If you are not currently logged in, you'll see a My Account link in the upper right. If you are logged in, the same link will say Hi, [your name] and will have a dropdown choice My Account.

◊ Select My Account in one of those two ways. If necessary, log in when prompted. If you don't have an account yet, follow their instructions to create one.

If you do not already have a DonorsChoose avatar: near the top of your account page, there is a box headed Who told you about our site?, with an upload a photo link in the center. Click this link.

If you already have a DonorsChoose avatar: at the upper right of your DonorsChoose page, your current avatar is shown. Click the Change Photo link under it.

◊ A popup window appears. On the left is the option to upload a photo. Click Select photo. (If you already have an avatar, it will be shown, and the Select photo button will be below it.) Browse to the Inoculation Project image you saved on your computer in step 1 and select it.

◊ Check the box to indicate you have permission to use the picture and it's not inappropriate, and click Upload.

◊ A screen will appear offering to allow you to crop the image. That's not necessary, so just scroll down below the picture and click Save.

◊ Voila! When you make any donation to DonorsChoose, the Inoculation Project image will appear on the project page where your donation is listed, so that, whether or not you want to share your name or location or any further message, the teacher will know that another reader of Daily Kos has contributed to the success of their project!


Housekeeping:

Last week, we completed THREE PROJECTS!

Our main project, Wild About The Environment, will bring "at risk" bilingual second graders in Garland, Texas a variety of hands-on projects that will help them with both science information and reasoning and research skills.

Bonus project #1, Post EF5 Tornado Agri-Science Investigators Part 8, continues the enormous task of rebuilding the agricultural sciences program in Joplin, Missouri, after the entire school (and town) was destroyed by an EF5 tornado last year.

Bonus project #2, Making Math Tangible: Mathematics Manipulatives, will help hardworking low-income high school students in Tunica, Mississippi study algebra in a way that is more accessible and less dry.

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 202!

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 Jul 08, 2012 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Dream Menders, J Town, SciTech, DK GreenRoots, Backyard Science, Science Matters, and Birds and Birdwatching.

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