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 fourteen-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.
If you joined us last week, you'll have heard that we're fast approaching our 400th-project celebration and, as a group, your editors need to have that not happen quite yet, each for reasons of our own. We're taking advantage of that situation to take on a much larger project than we ordinarily present.
Our Arkansas community rocketry project started last week with almost all of its over-$600 price yet to be covered. Kossacks have donated more than half of what the project needs. I think that, if we can hit it with another round of donations this week, even in small amounts, we can bring the project into the realm where non-DK donors will help us finish it off. (Remember that DonorsChoose has something similar to a "rec list", and 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.)
Thank you for humoring us and putting your love and money behind the kids in Fort Smith. Our TIP family has done some great things together, and this will be yet another of those!
Resources Needed: 56 rocket kits and engines to build and set off their own individual rockets. School Poverty Level: High Location: Raymond E. Orr Elementary School, Fort Smith, Arkansas Total Cost: $645.24 (remaining after last Sunday: $273.06) Still Needed:$253.06 $73.06 Expires: Mar 20, 2014
Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Stephens:
My Students: "Look at it go, Homer. This one is going to go for miles." October Sky, 1999.
There is nothing that gets a child more interested in learning than seeing that learning in action. In our school our teachers work hard to not only teach our students content, but to get them excited about learning.
Our school is located in the middle of one of the most populated cities in Arkansas. We have a high percentage of poverty students, and very few of our students are able to pay for lunch. We are culturally diverse with many different ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds in each classroom. In a school with a high number of below grade level, or "special education," students, we strive to bridge that learning gap by providing many opportunities for general education and special education classes to come together for projects and other learning activities. Our teachers are 100% dedicated to ensuring that every student is given every opportunity to succeed.
My Project: There is not much that will get a child more excited about science than building and setting off a rocket. What we will do is take this rocket building to another level. We will be incorporating lessons across the curriculum. We will read about the rocket program, discuss symbols and learn about rocket science. Our older students, 6th graders, will be building their own rockets and setting them off for the school to see. They will be writing about the entire process, and will create a presentation explaining the symbols they included on their rocket.
This is the small plan. Our ultimate goal is to make this a community wide event. With the high poverty rate in our community, it has become extremely difficult to get parents and guardians to attend school functions. Our plan is to take this unit and make it school wide. We will generate interest in the rockets using the 6th grades, and then we will invite families back to build their own versions of rockets with their kids (modified for age).
We live in a culture where most kids dream of being famous. They don't care how it happens (famous athlete, famous actor, reality star). By placing the power of rocket science in their hands, and getting them excited about science at an early age, we will hopefully plant a seed that will grow into something bigger. Our community will see that school is not just a place where kids go because they have to; it is the place where their futures are being mapped out.
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 DonorsChoose.org?
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" while schools with more than 40% of students receiving free/reduced lunch are denoted as "high poverty". For projects submitted from a school where free lunch rate data is unavailable or unreliable, "Poverty Data Unavailable" will appear. (from DonorsChoose.org)