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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, a fourteen-year-old organization rated highly by both Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau. Here's a little introductory video about DonorsChoose. 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.

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Look for us every SUNDAY morning at 10 AM ET/ 7 AM PT.

This Week's Main Project
Project: Class Microscopes

Resources Needed: 3 compound microscopes for our cell unit. The microscopes need to have the ability to see cells clearly.
School Poverty Level: Highest
Location: Don Mensendick Elementary School, Glendale, Arizona
Total Cost: $533.73
Still Needed: $183.14  Completed!
Expires: Jul 16, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Ms. Horton:

My Students: My classroom is a place where everyone learns and collaborates as a team. My students ask as many questions as I will let them in the short time we are with each other. If I don't know the answer, we will figure it out together.

My students are curious and love hands on activities. They can't wait to get into the lab and investigate what we are learning in class. They have been patiently waiting to get their hands on some microscopes, and even though we haven't started the cell unit, they have already started bringing in pond water to look at!

My Project: I believe that when students are studying cells, they should have quality tools to help them learn. I was disappointed to find that my school has cheaper plastic microscopes that will not serve my students adequately. I would like to use the new microscopes to look at pond water while we discuss Anton van Leeuwenhoek's research, and allow the students to take cheek cell samples, and see their own cells under the microscope. My current selection of microscopes are not appropriate for the activities that I would like my students to participate in. They are so excited about this unit, and I don't want their curiosity to be held back by lack of equipment on my part.

My students' learning experience will be improved with better microscopes, because they will actually be able to clearly see cells and unicellular organisms moving in real life. Videos and pictures aren't as exciting as seeing your own cells, or moving organisms from your own backyard. These will create more engagement and curiosity, as well as strengthen their enthusiasm for knowledge.

Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!

We'd like to be able to assist both small and large projects. Our hope is to present a new relatively modest project each week, and then feature a more ambitious project with a long-term deadline, so we can chip away at it each week when our main project is completed. Since DonorsChoose has something similar to a "rec list", every time we create a flurry of activity on a project, even if the dollar amounts involved aren't large, we can push the project up that list so it gets shown to more donors outside Daily Kos. In that way, we can help finish projects that may be beyond our means when only our own dollars are considered.
Long-Term Project
When the main project is finished, let's work on this one.
Project: Desert Outdoor Research Field

Resources Needed: round point shovels and leather gloves
School Poverty Level: High
Location:  Mesa High School, Mesa, AZ
Total Cost: $1,115.29 (TIP starting point: $832.35)
Still Needed: $772.35  $582.35
Expires: May 26, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Mr. Jung:

My Students: "Environmental Science" is a multidisciplinary science course that focuses on interconnections of the topics we learn throughout the year. Students learn concepts through a wide variety of activities and then construct a series of concepts maps which eventually become interconnected into one map.

My students live in an urban setting dominated by a low income Hispanic population; 65% qualify for the free or reduced price lunch program. Our school is the oldest in the state; the current campus is 42 years old. Historical records reveal that upon graduation, less than 25% of the students qualify for admission into a four-year university degree program even though our school has earned a "B" rating.

My Project: Our campus has a fenced-in acre lot that hasn't been used for almost 20 years. The high school agricultural program once grew crops and grazed animals in the field; it now is filled with weeds, has lots of junk, and a half dozen dead citrus trees still stand. We plan to restore the lot back to a functioning Sonoran desert ecosystem. Following a grading of the lot by our district's heavy equipment, students will plant native species using the shovels and gloves donated through this grant program. This project will take several years to complete. Students will participate in the research of plant selection and spacing, propagation of native seeds in our planting beds and greenhouse, the planting of these and donated plants, and the maintenance of the garden.

I'm always amazed at how few students have any experience with planting and/or taking care of a plant. When they are given this experience, their thinking is transformed. They give names to their plants, they care of them and talk to them. Students take ownership of another living thing. Since this pollinator garden will take permanent residence on campus, students can return years from now to observe the growth of the one they planted, and take pride in their contribution to school improvement.

Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!

Our Dollars at Work
A student in Ms. Livingstone's North Carolina middle school class with his new net, from the project, Insects: Living Jewels Of The Natural World.
boy with insects and net

There are additional photos at the link.


Last week's main project, We Like to Build It, Build It!, was completed. Pre-kindergarten students in Wisconsin will receive blocks and other learning materials for building. You can see the teacher's thank-you note at the link. Many thanks to all contributors!

See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 402!

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. Occasionally, a fully funded project is called off for some reason internal to the school/teacher, and funding is returned. We have no way of knowing why, but DonorsChoose handles those donations in the same way as for expired projects.

How is the poverty level defined at
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". Schools with 40%-64% of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "high poverty" while schools with 65%+ of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "highest poverty". For projects submitted from a school where free lunch rate data is unavailable or unreliable, "Poverty Data Unavailable" will appear.
More information: main page blog
All math & science projects search results

We are in no way affiliated with, 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 Apr 06, 2014 at 07:01 AM PDT.

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

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