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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. 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: Putting A Different Spin On Science Class

Resources Needed: bicycle wheel gyroscope, turn table and rotating stool
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Lodi, NJ
Total Cost: $545.67
Still Needed: $160.38 COMPLETED!
Expires: Jan 29, 2013

Teacher's Comments from Mr. Bigos:

My Students: Physics is FUN! So many people don't believe me when I say this. I believe this belief is deeply rooted in their first experience with the subject. All too often, a first experience consists of word problems and math. I like to make the first experience much, much more exciting to hook them for life!

My students are a curious bunch, eager for knowledge and passionate about growing as individuals. They do, however, often forget this! But that is where I come in, to remind them daily that life is full of surprises and curiosity is a gift which needs to be shared. I teach over 125 children with dozens of different personalities and interests. Our school district is not overly affluent and with New Jersey in the midst of education budget cuts, supplies are becoming more difficult to acquire. It is my hope that this organization can help these children become interested in learning. This will serve them well in the years to come.

My Project: Have you ever wondered why you can balance on a bike while it is moving, but not while it is standing still? How about how a figure skater can spin so incredibly fast? Both of these questions as well as countless others can be quickly explained in a dynamic, hands-on, fun, and, most importantly, memorable demonstration using the supplies I have requested.

Many people have played with gyroscopes. Most don't understand the physics happening with a gyroscope. However, imagine instead of playing with a gyroscope, you became one! While I won't be turning my students into gyroscopes, exactly, I will be providing them with a demonstration which will allow them to feel and see the effects first-hand. Once this is accomplished, teaching the mechanism of the action becomes much easier and it will stick in their long term memories much more effectively.

I teach 8th grade science, and I am the first teacher to expose many of my students to basic science principles. As a result, it is my goal to hook them and hook them well. All too often, a student's first exposure to science is dull and uninteresting, thus resulting in a belief that science is dull, boring, and hard. I wish to shatter this belief! It is my goal to have every one of my students become scientists or doctors. Will I accomplish this? Probably not, but these supplies will sure help.


COMPLETED!
Please move on to the Bonus Project!
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: Graph It!

Resources Needed: dry-erase graph boards, easel pads, markers
School Poverty Level: High
Location: Oxford Middle Schoo, Oxford, MS
Total Cost: $200.92
Still Needed: $122.09 COMPLETED!
Expires: Mar 14, 2013    

Teacher's Comments from Mr. Field:

My Students: My students have trouble understanding graphing equations. When they have trouble, they try to hide it from me. These boards keep that from happening. In addition to making it clear to me when a student "gets it", they can see each other's work readily, allowing them to learn from peers.

My kids live in a university town in impoverished Mississippi. They are a diverse group, with professors' kids mixed in with the bluest of blue collar laborers. Their parents (even the professors) aren't much help anymore with their math homework, and the students respond well to hands-on, fast-paced math instruction.

My Project: The boards, markers and easel pads will allow kids to show their work and get immediate feedback. In my other schools, the students have loved to immediately throw their answer in the air and get a resounding "yes" from the teacher! Those who aren't getting it tend to sneak glances at their peers and self-correct. They're easy to spot, and after a fast-paced activity, I can focus on the kids who haven't mastered the task.

This project will help kids to construct their own conceptual understanding of mathematical functions, an idea that will allow them to move forward with not just a head full of memorized facts and formulas, but a clear concept of the idea of function, and maybe - who knows? - a stronger desire to pursue a mathematical career!


COMPLETED!
We'll be back next week with more projects!

Housekeeping

Last week's main project, Funds for Fractions:You Too Can Eliminate Fraction Anxiety, was completed. Middle school students in Mississippi will have the pattern blocks they need to make studying fractions easier.

Last week we completed the following three bonus projects:

New American ELLs Need Fluency in Basic Math Facts: Elementary school English language learners in Missouri will have the flash cardsthey need to practice both their math and language skills.

Super Sorting Students: Special needs students in Ohio will have the materials necessary to learn sorting skills and also develop their fine motor skills.

Magnet Mania: Elementary students in Florida will have the magnets that they need to understand magnetism.

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 260!

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 Dec 16, 2012 at 07:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Dream Menders and J Town.

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