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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 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.
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This Week's Main Project
Project: We Like to Build It, Build It!

Resources Needed: natural building blocks and tools to become our future engineers.
School Poverty Level: Highest
Location: Richard Kluge School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Total Cost: $268.11
Still Needed: $248.11 Completed!
Expires: June 24, 2014

Teacher's Comments from Mrs. Goodman:

My Students: Many of my students have never built a snowman despite living in a cold snow filled climate. Often my students don't know what to do with Legos or blocks. They have never been exposed to engaging play materials. My students will be so excited to learn to build with these new materials.

My students are 95% free/reduced lunch which means they come from poverty stricken homes that lack puzzles, games, and books that give many children the background knowledge they need before coming to school. On my recent assessments many children could not complete a 4 piece puzzle. They do not know how to hold scissors and have never played a board game. I am thrilled they are in my pre-kindergarten classroom so I can offer them new experiences to begin their school years.

My Project: My students have adored learning about construction, tools, and building. We love reading and retelling The Three Pigs and The Three Billy Goats and have integrated talking about building bridges and construction into the familiar fairy tales. I know that these new toys and building materials would be an exciting addition to our classroom for my budding kindergarten engineers.

Studies continue to show how important children's life experiences are to their success in school. I hope by providing rich, engaging learning opportunities, I can bridge the gap that my students come to school with. The discussions and vocabulary opportunities that will arise with these new building blocks and tools will create excited learners that want to succeed.

COMPLETED
Donations of ANY size can make a BIG difference!

Going forward, we hope to feature a mix of larger and our usual smaller projects. Last week, we featured a project that Square Knot brought to our attention: A high school class in Mesa, Arizona needs supplies to restore a one acre lot on campus into a Sonoran desert ecosystem. 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.
Long-Term Project
When the main project is finished, let's continue working 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
Still Needed: $832.35 $772.35
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.




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

Housekeeping:
See our list of successfully funded projects. We're up to 401!

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)
More information:
DonorsChoose.org main page
DonorsChoose.org blog
About DonorsChoose.org
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 Mar 30, 2014 at 07:00 AM PDT.

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

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