Our good blog friend @McLNeuro is running a Donor’s Choose fundraising drive for March Madness. The idea is that you donate $10 or more to a Donor’s Choose project and then register a bracket under Darwin’s Balls (use that link) at CBS Sports.

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of the Donor’s Choose charity. My Readers have generously funded many, many projects in classrooms all across the nation in response to my occasional pleas.

Online drives can work collaboratively with a blog host picking a few interesting projects to fund, that way we online science folks can take credit for pushing them to funding. So keep checking with the EdgeForScholars page if you want to go that direction.

But if the ones on that page don’t grab your attention, just click on the main Donor’s Choose page and find something that tickles your fancy. There are ways to screen projects by location (if you want to help your town, or home town), topic domain (sports? Science? Literacy? …..food*)

*Oh glory. Teachers have to beg for food to keep hungry kids on task now. I just can’t even, America. We are supposed to be better than this.

Nice going folks! The first day saw the full funding of the projects of Mrs. Lucero and Mrs. Dillon. Good progress on the Literacy project of Ms. Gover [Update: Fully funded!] as well.

In the event that one fully funds, I have a few more for your consideration.

Arizona [Update: Fully funded!]: Mrs. Rogers seeks chromebooks for her classroom.

My Native American students are unique, visual, and intuitive. They perform better to culturally responsive teaching and they love to work in cooperative teams. Technology has opened a window for them to explore and go beyond the boundaries of their beautiful landscape at the reservation.

Just recently I learned about Chromebooks and Google Classroom. We were very fortunate to qualify for a free Google Classroom school-wide account. I’ve been teaching my students about the “cloud” and how I can post assignments and they can submit them without printing them and waste so much paper.

Do I even need to mention that my kids’ classrooms have had tablets and laptops for many years now? And we aren’t even in a fabulously well-to-do school district. Let’s help this highest poverty classroom keep pace. This project is matched by a Best Buy initiative so your donation is doubled.

The classroom of Mrs. Van Doorp seeks help for purchasing Hokki stools to keep kids on task.

My students are bursting with energy and have a strong desire to grow and learn. The majority of my students are Native American and due to the low, socioeconomic area we live in, 100 percent of my students receive free breakfast and lunch at school.

Sitting can be hard! So during our instructional day, I try to keep my students moving as much as possible. They rotate through centers during our reading block. During math, they are fluidly moving around the room to complete different tasks and fluency games. My students also have flexible seating options during other parts of our day.

A small donation from you will help make this a reality for these highest poverty elementary students.

South Dakota [Update 10/11: Fully funded! thanks to the person who has been the stalwart behind science blog drives since forever, Thanks Janet!]: My kids have had assignments from Scholastic News all throughout elementary school. Ms. Dunn would like to use these resources in her highest poverty classroom as well.

My students come to school eager to learn. I teach at a Title I school on a reservation. We educate students grades K-6. Our goal is to help our students become life long learners. Because our students live on a reservation, they have very little opportunity to explore the world beyond where they live. They enjoy visiting new places through their readings. Scholastic News helps bring current events to our classroom and allows them to relate to other children their age from around the world.

Donors Choose Drive 2016

October 10, 2016

Seeing as how it is Columbus day and all, I was struck by a thought. Why not focus this years’ efforts on schools which serve significant numbers of Native American children?

So I went searching and apparently this is not easy to find on Donors Choose’s site. [UPDATE: Use ‘reservation’ in their search box and you can find quite a number.]

But I also recently saw a quote attributed to Saint Mother Teresa that said “If you can’t feed a hundred, feed one.” Kind of meaning, if you can’t do it all, this is no reason to fail to act.

New Mexico[UPDATE 10/10: Fully funded! Strong work everybody! Page down for more projects.]: I would like to invite you to contribute, in any way you can, to the classroom of Mrs. Lucero. She teaches 6-8 graders at Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque New Mexico, a high poverty school.

Excited, energetic and brilliant kids walk into the room each day eager to engage and share in the lesson. Working with a group of students who represent multiple Native American tribes is refreshing and fulfilling. Our students enrich our classroom as they weave knowledge of their culture and pride into the work and projects they produce in class.

Working in a school that not only provides 100% free lunch, but the opportunity to grow in their sense of identity is truly amazing.

Though many of our students may struggle with balancing a challenging home life with school life, they have high ambitions and we want to help them achieve!

Mrs. Lucero is asking for support to purchase measurement tools: Triple beam balances, compact scales, thermometers, meter sticks….. Oi.

As you know folks, these are the sorts of materials that were just…..available….in many of our schools growing up. If you are like me, reading over these requests lists is painful to see how our communities are refusing to support what we feel are the basics of education in the public schooling systems.

Please consider a donation, no matter how large or small. Every little bit counts and gets this project closer to completion.

Arizona: Ms. Gover’s classroom serves 5th grade students in a highest poverty school in Indian Wells, AZ. She is looking to expose her students to a wider range of literature.

My students are excellent scholars. They have all grown up on a Native American reservation. For some of them, the reservation is all they have known. Each student travels no less than 15 miles to get to school every day. Some students travel down dirt roads to reach their bus stop.

For my students, literature is the best way to not only explore their imagination, but places around the world.

These books will expand their horizons and take them places they would never think was possible.

I was a big reader as a child and was lucky to have a household that was filled with books. Although the biggest disappointment I have as a parent is that my kids aren’t even remotely as big of readers as I was, our household is able to provide them with just about anything they would care to read, one way or another. Can you help give this high poverty classroom a few more books?

Wisconsin [UPDATE 10/10: Fully funded!]: Mrs. Dillon teaches 6-8th graders in the high poverty Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa School in Hayward, WI. Her special education students need a large table to do their projects on.

My students live on the reservation. The reservation has a school that receives students from K-12. My students are in special education. I have students in 6-8th grade. We inclusion these students into the regular education classroom, giving them support with a special education teacher.

My students live in low income housing.

They see crime being committed almost every day in their neighborhoods. They are needy, looking for attention in every way. They appreciate anything you do for them. Some students do not get full meals at home, so the students get free breakfast and lunch at school.

A table, my friends.

I have students in and out of my classroom on a daily basis. We have group many times during the week. I have a very small table to work with these students. Their papers and projects overlap each other. This makes it very difficult for special education students to focus on their work. I am asking for a longer and wider table for the student to work on. With this table, they will be able to work in an organized fashion.

In an America that is great, teachers would not have to solicit funds for a basic piece of furniture. But here we are. Can you help, just a little, to move this project to completion? There is a Best Buy donation match on this project so your donation counts twice.


April 28, 2015

A few weeks ago, the Baltimore police severed the spine of a citizen who had apparently committed the crime of running away from a police officer. Mr. Gray died.

In the past few days, Baltimore has experienced a lot of protest and unrest.

I am saddened and I am frustrated. As small a thing as it is, I feel better when I go over to DonorsChoose, select a few science-related project in Baltimore schools and donate some money. I invite you to join me. Perhaps projects such as the following might catch your eye.

Ms. Robinson’s Books project at Yorkwood Elementary School:

As I continue building a safe learning environment now I’ve learned that emotions play a HUGE part in a students’ ability to learn. I want to help students express themselves emotionally by identifying how they feel, the cause that feeling and teaching them strategies to manage and regulate them.

Two resource books – Zones of Regulation and Social Thinking for Tweens and Teens. Zones of Regulation will provide the research behind it and teach me how to implement this strategy and share with our parent community and fellow colleagues. Social Thinking for Tween and Teens will help our mentors connect with our students participating in our Girls Social Group.

Finally, one yellow hokki stool and one red bean bag is needed to identify the color-coded zones. (I already have the other colors). These two additional seating choices will allow me to create two Zones of Regulation.

As we interact with the world and others, we respond emotionally leaving us with a good or bad experiences. Those experiences shape how we view ourselves, others and our place in the world. In this day and age, we live in a volatile world in which our students are apart, so it’s imperative that I help them to deal with their emotions and discover ways to cope or manage it for optimal learning and a lifelong skill.

Mrs. Edmonds’s Supplies project at Gardenville Elementary School addresses all six grade levels:

The materials in this project will be used throughout the 6 grade levels. Kindergarten and first grade focuses on plants and animals and living things, in which the different insects and plants will be used. First grade also learns about life cycles and the frog life cycle will be amazing for them to actually see these stages. The third grade life science focus is on insects and they will also be using the live insects. The fifth graders will learn about food chains and webs and will participate in dissecting the owl pellets.

I don’t usually gravitate toward the high school projects but Mrs. Reigel’s Books project at Carver Vocational Tech Senior High School seeks to use The Hot Zone to educate on biology.

My students love to read interesting things and have discussions. It is my goal to challenge them with reading materials, and engage them in discussions that relate to their everyday lives and the world at large. Reading “The Hot Zone” will cover many Biology topics as well as current events. Students will read, analyze, connect, discuss and debate the books this year.

Folks, you know how I love the Donor’s Choose.

[Almost as much as I don’t like March Madness, in a curious balance of the Force. ]

Anyway, GertyZ and her co-conspirator Namaste-ish have cooked up another Basket Baller Bracket Bragger thingy.

Join IN. The rules are simple.

So here’s the deal. If you wanna play, you gotta pay. Go to Donor’s Choose and put down your entry fee ($10, students and postdocs can enter for $5). Then go to http://dballs4science.mayhem.cbssports.com/e?ttag=BPM15_em_cbsinv and fill out a bracket. The group name is Darwin’s Balls, the password is MarieCurie. Then let the trash-talking begin!! Also, @Namaste_Ish has arranged for some excellent prizes for the winners. Fun trash talking AND prizes!!

GertyZ also had some projects to recommend that you support so check out her selections.

UPDATE: All six project fully funded as of Nov 25. Thanks everyone!

I am not surprised but I am disappointed. The grand jury convened to consider the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by Darrin Wilson has decided there are no grounds for a trial.

There is one tiny, but undeniably tangible, thing that I can do to register my feelings from afar.

Searching by Zip Code 63135 at Donors Choose I found quite a few hits on project proposals from the teachers of Ferguson.

I invite you to join me in donating to help the school children of Ferguson further their education.

Mrs. Hicks’ third grade classroom at Ferguson Central Elementary needs a rug for children to sit on for circle time. A rug.

Mr. Eye has to teach children at Ferguson Middle school in two classrooms at once.

Now my students in my second room have to cram around the doorway or in the other room and watch my instruction and then go back and try to remember how it was done unlike the students who can see the board form their seats and can follow along with instruction as I go through group activities. I utilize this method of instruction 50% of the time as the other 50% is project based. My students who are in a separate room because of space problems are at a disadvantage and have less time to work as they have to ask questions multiple times because they can not follow along as I give instruction, tips, and address concerns.

Mr Eye is asking for a little technological upgrading to help the poor unfortunate kids trying to learn in these circumstances. It’s the US in 2014 people.

Ms. Milliano’s Books project at Walnut Grove Elementary School is one that will knock you down with its topicality.

The students in our school come from low socioeconomic households, usually headed by single mothers. Many of our students are not exposed to matter and events on a national or global level. Most of the students in our building have little contact with kids their age beyond those in our school district.

We would use these news magazines to increase awareness of global and national current events, and promote discussion on how such events impact them. We will use the math series to demonstrate the importance and use of math in everyday life. Most importantly we will use the magazines to show the lives and accomplishments of people of their own age.

Update: ONWARD!

Mrs. Randoll’s students at Walnut Grove Elementary School need help learning math.

I am so excited about these number and shape manipulatives because they are items my students can, and will, use each day. My students will use these during Math Work Stations to build math skills such as: number identification, rote counting, number fluency, and sorting.

Mrs. Linder’s Technology project at Airport Elementary School in Berkeley, MO is devoted to children with significant challenges in addition to underfunded school systems and general socio-economic disparity.

I work with students with Individualized Eduction Plans with a variety of diagnoses including Autism, Intellectual Disability, ADHD, and many others. We work on skills to be successful in the school setting such as handwriting, cutting, feeding, and self care skills. These students are multi-sensory learners who benefit from repetition and learning in a variety of ways.

…and just like the circle time rug, I’m tearing up again. Help if you can.

The cello has the most beautiful sound of all the strings. Mrs. Burke’s music program at Berkeley Middle School could use a rack to secure the instruments. And dare she ask? A new upright bass?

Our school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District serves mostly students who are below the poverty line. They rarely have their own instruments. Young musicians use district instruments, some of which have been in the district since the 80’s. They rent them for $25.00/year. Some continue to rent instruments for the 10 years that they are in the orchestra program. This is difficult for many of our parents.


Three Donors Choose projects I posted yesterday were completely funded in less than 15 hours. I am delighted so many of you found this opportunity to help the communities around Ferguson Missouri attractive. If you missed out on contributing, never fear, there are new opportunities to help. Please also pass this suggestion along to your friends, family and social media contacts.

At least three school districts appear to have been greatly affected by the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Jennings, Ferguson-Florissant and Riverview Gardens districts canceled classes Monday following another night of unrest in which at least three people were shot and more businesses were vandalized.
“Those districts in particular have very limited funds,” Osborn said, adding that Reinvest North County’s priority is to get kids into class.

That page lists several funds that are open to public donation, if that strikes your fancy.

I like the ability to fund small scale projects requested directly by teachers, made possible by DonorsChoose. I find that other people seem to like the immediacy of this support as well. So I have a few more projects for your consideration.

Ms. Catalino is requesting support for language and mathematics education in Kindergarten at Fairview Primary School in Jennings. The Children Are Our Future project indicates:

My students come from low income families and are very needy. They want to learn and enjoy learning when given the opportunity. A lot of the children become easily angered and can be hard to handle. I keep my children in my classroom actively engaged in learning, so I do not have many anger outbursts. I provide a safe, warm, and exciting environment in my classroom. They love to come into my classroom and are eager to learn. My children develop high self esteem due to the success they have in my classroom.

The project seeks funds for language and math teaching materials for Common Core as well as a classroom magazine.

The Math Common Core item I put in my project will enrich all the students by building a foundation for Math. It will provide centers and hands-on activities for each child. The activities will keep their interest and the children will want to do the activities over and over.

The Phonological Common Core item will prepare the children with a solid foundation for reading. The children will enjoy all the activities in the kit. The activities will be used in centers to provide enrichment and remedial help in a fun way for the students. The activities will keep the children engaged throughout our center time.

Would you care to help some kindergartners?

Next I see Mrs. Belger, also at Fairview Primary in Jennings, needs presentation equipment for teaching her first graders. In 1,2,3 Eyes on Me! she indicates:

We need a multi-purpose and portable teaching easel to use for general instruction. Picture if you will, 26 little eager eyes looking up at you, waiting to be engaged and learn something new. Whole group instruction takes place often during our school day. Students are gathered together in the meeting area, learning together. The teacher and her/his easel are the focus point of the lesson. There I can model how to write letters of the alphabet, show a big book, teach math strategies, how to write a sentence, and so much more.

Mrs. Belger has a second request, Making Leaps and Bounds Toward Success! as well.

Would you care to make Mrs. Belger’s classroom a little more effective this year?

Finally, for today, I draw your attention to Mrs. Schumer’s first graders at Halls Ferry Elementary School in Florissant, MO. In Rain and Cold Won’t Ruin Our Day! she notes:

The school I teach at serves families with very low incomes. Many of my families are living with extended family and are struggling to provide for their child’s basic needs. As a result, the children in my class do not have a lot of opportunity to use learning toys like those I am requesting. These “toys” would be an educational way for my students to spend indoor recess time this winter.

While my students are excited to come to school to learn each day, they also have a lot of fun getting exercise and playing with friends during recess. When winter rolls around (or rain falls) and they are unable to go out for recess, we have very few activities in our room for the children to use. I would love to have something fun for them to do that helps them gain valuable social skills, fine motor skills, and critical thinking skills. The building sets and doll play sets would make my children love indoor recess just as much as outdoor recess!

Would you like to make the rain days just a little bit more fun for the children?

I realize there are many demands on your donation dollars these days, folks. So if you are tapped, no biggie. Just consider passing the idea of helping the children affected by the Ferguson unrest along to your friends and families. I know many of them will be happy to know of the opportunity.

Many hands makes light work!

As you know, Dear Reader, I am a big fan of Donors Choose and the opportunity to help out classrooms in need around these here tax-phobic United States of America. A mention on Twitter triggered me to realize we could help out, slightly, with the current dismal situation in Ferguson Missouri by looking for some school projects to support.

Searching by Zip Code 63135 at Donors Choose I found a few hits.

First up, History is Our Story pt.3 in Ferguson Middle School.

I ask my students this on the first day and throughout the year.The U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, voting and our legal system are a big part of the 8th grade curriculum so we spend a lot of time talking about citizens’ rights and responsibilities

Well isn’t this one just smack-dab on task?

My students are 8th graders in a diverse community. Unfortunately, families in this area are still recovering from the economic downturn. There are still a lot of underemployed or parents working several part time jobs to make ends meet. Over 90% of students receive free or reduced priced lunches. In the last 2 years, we have had to rebuild twice because of tornado damage and now we are facing a crisis of civil unrest.

Ok, I’m sold. Anyone else want to donate to Mrs. Simmonds’s Technology project?

Next up… Better Equipped to Better Perform!

My students come into my classroom every day fired up to make music together. We are working towards becoming a competitive high school band program by participating in musical competitions, but it’s hard for my students to compete on sub-par instruments and when we are unable to afford travel.

My students are an incredible mix and variety of characters and backgrounds. I have students in all grades 9-12, at various levels of musical competency. Many of them come from lower-income backgrounds, and therefore do not have access to many of the opportunities other band students their age have, such as private lessons, owning their own instruments, and so on. They are a tight-knit group, and we often refer to ourselves as the band family. Almost all of my students live in Ferguson, Missouri and have been affected by the events there of the past couple of weeks.

You know what, people? My parents provided the kids in my household with private music lessons for many years. My spouse and I are able to provide our kids with music lessons as well. It is a thing that is a default educational experience in my best of all possible worlds. Mr. Naylor at McCluer High School in Florissant, MO wants to upgrade their musical equipment by purchasing two euphoniums. Would you care to help them out?

Finally, for today, a Science project at Jennings Junior High School. Jennings school district appears to be affected by the situation in Ferguson.

The unrest in this St. Louis-area town straddles two school districts — Ferguson and Jennings. Jennings had already started school last week, but since some of the district’s schools border parts of a hub for nightly street clashes, officials called off classes early Tuesday morning and notified parents with phone calls and text messages.

Mrs. Brown has posted Science Portfolios for Science Masters.

Help to organize minds! Sixth and Seventh grade students are typically all over the place. With this in mind it is very important to teach them organization skills while they are in school. A folder with papers flying everywhere and missing homework is an everyday occurrence.

The students I teach are in an urban school where supplies often few and far between. The students come with very few supplies, not because they don’t want or need them, but simply they do not have the money to obtain the supplies necessary for school.

Binders and paper, folks. That is a need that they have because the schools are underfunded and people live in economic distress. Are your middle class sensibilities outraged yet? This is where we are as a country.

I thank you for your consideration.

p.s. As always, if you don’t feel the pull of these projects go on over to DonorsChoose and search around for yourself. I recommend starting with the Zip Code search 63135 but really, find something that attracts you, even if it isn’t in Missouri. Plenty of deserving projects all over the country in all sorts of schools.

Mad about school funding

March 20, 2014

The economic impact of the March Madness basketball tournament is immense. The much-quoted Challenger, Gray and Christmas analysis estimated a few billion dollars in lost productivity alone, due to workers slacking off to watch games and obsess over their brackets. Cities that host games might draw in the neighborhood of $4-6 million, according to the above linked article. Regardless of whether March Madness basketball games are a net gain for cities (or Universities) the main point is that money is expended. Huge sums.

bluebirdhappinessAt the personal level, how many individual citizens kick down some money to throw a watch party for their alma mater’s game? How many overpay for a hamburger, fries and a few pints of crappy beer at the local sports bar?
Well, I have a proposition for you, Dear Reader. Actually, the bluebird of Twitter happiness known as My T Chondria and Scientopia’s own Gerty-Z of Balanced Instability have a proposition for you.

The proposition is that you head on over the ESPN to fill out a bracket challenge.

The group is DarwinsBalls, the password is Darwin

Then, after you have done so (or even if you see this too late), head over to Donor’s Choose and donate $5 (or more, hey, just order one fewer beers or skip the fries, eh?) to a project supporting science education in under privileged schools.

Gerty-Z and MyTChondria suggested a few, they are now on challenge number 5

UPDATE v. 5: DAMN! It’s hard to keep up with you all!! Here is the next project, since Mrs. Brown’s class is now set up. Let’s bring home the Bacon (Francis Bacon) for Mr. Kovach’s class in Chicago!

We didn’t do the October bloggers drive for Donor’s Choose this year. So perhaps you, as I have been, keep hearing a nagging voice in the back of your head. For those of you who are new, Mr Kovach’s appeal will give you a flavor of the type.

I teach in an inner city public elementary school. Our students are always eager to learn; we are an extremely dedicated community that is proud to serve one of the highest populations of students currently living in homeless shelters out of hundreds of schools in our city. We strive to practice highly engaging, meaningful, challenging, cooperative, and most of all FUN learning experiences that will inevitably inspire all of our students to not only graduate high school, but to pursue college as a part of their long-term goals. Many of our students continue on to be the first members of their families to graduate with a college degree, and many are now pursing degrees in various areas of Science.

They sound very worthy. So what is the project?

This proposal seeks fetal pig specimens and dissecting kits so that our 7th grade students can continue to work in small cooperative groups in order to explore anatomy and physiology in the most realistic manner possible. It has been exciting for our 7th graders to show the younger students and their teachers of our school the process of conducting fetal pig autopsies, and to see little eyes peeping into our classroom door each day of the project.

Ah yes, the old fetal pig dissection model. C’mon, be honest…..isn’t this one of the 3-5 things you can actually remember from your biology education in primary or secondary school? Isn’t this something that would be tops on your list if you were designing Biology curricula? ….and aren’t you slightly gobsmacked to realize this is something that doesn’t fit into the Biology teacher’s budget anymore?

Well, it doesn’t for poorer (and not so poorer) schools.

So, I ask you. Find it in your hear to kick down a few bucks for childhood science education.

(and by all means, if this project or classroom doesn’t work for your, there are a ton more at Donor’s Choose. Search by academic domain, by poverty level, by geographical region. There will be something to tug your heartstrings.)

A big thanks to all of you who have donated to DonorsChoose in recent days. As a reminder, DonorsChoose has come up with a $25,000 matching fund to double the donations of all of you who read the Scientopia blogs!

This promotion will expires at midnight Hawaii time Friday, June 7 (6am eastern June 8) and is good for up to $100 per donor for a total of $25,000 in matching funds. This is a great time to pat a teacher on the back after a long school year and let them know that people out there value their work and value their students as much as they do. Not to mention get them all set to hit the ground running in the Fall.

So click on over to the Scientopia blogs’ DonorsChoose Giving page and see if there is any project that catches your eye. If not, just use the project browser on the sidebar to find a classroom or project that gains your sympathy. There is no need to stick to the giving page suggestions. Maybe you have a certain topic that is dear to your heart? Perhaps there is a geographical location that you want to support in some way? Browse around, there are many very needy projects.

Then, when you are in the payment checkout page, enter SCIENTOPIA in the “match or gift code” field. See here for screenshot.

I urge you, even if you can’t donate at the moment, to post a link on your Tweeterers, Facebooks and what not. I find my friends and family who have never heard of DonorsChoose before to be grateful to be made aware of this place for their charitable giving.

Many of you responded enthusiastically to the DonorsChoose science bloggers drives that we’ve been running in the fall, just after the start of the school year. For those who donated, my thanks and respect.

Now DonorsChoose has come up with a $25,000 matching fund for you, Dear Readers, all of you who read the Scientopia blogs!

So click on over to the end of the year Scientopia blogs’ DonorsChoose Giving page and see if there is any project that catches your eye.

If not, just use the project browser on the sidebar to find a classroom or project that gains your sympathy. There is no need to stick to the giving page suggestions. Maybe you have a certain topic that is dear to your heart? Perhaps there is a geographical location that you want to support in some way? Browse around, there are many very needy projects.

Then, when you are in the payment checkout page, enter SCIENTOPIA in the “match or gift code” field. See here for screenshot. This promotion will be valid now through June 7 (it expires at midnight Hawaii time Friday, June 7; 6am eastern June 8) and is good for up to $100 per donor for a total of $25,000 in matching funds.

Hoppity Hop Hop!

November 9, 2012

Only one day (today) left to donate through my challenge page in the Science bloggers for students drive to a classroom project at DonorsChoose Folks.

How about a nice frog project?

Do you remember the first time you participated in a dissection in your science class? Well, my students have not had that experience yet but I would like to change that for them.
I have great students! Our school is a Title 1 school and most of our students come from a high poverty area in South Carolina. They absolutely love the idea of having the opportunity to dissect a frog and learn more about animal anatomy. They are VERY bright students and are eager to learn.

Maybe a little gene wrangling?

I have conducted this laboratory activity in the last two years of AP Biology, and most students cite it as THE reason they choose to study science or continue education and training in biotechnology. This lab turns students into scientists–it allows them to take samples of their own DNA, use a technique called PCR to make billions of copies of identical DNA, and then analyze their own genes to determine their genotype for a specific trait.

Every little bit counts. And if you enter the matching code SCIENCE, your donation up to $100 will be doubled.

Thanks again to all who have donated to the Scientopia and other blog challenges.

First, my thanks to those of you who have found the time, generosity and money to donate to classrooms that are in need. Not just for my challenge

…but all of you donating through Scientopia blog challenges or other Science Bloggers for Students efforts.

There is some news as we near the end of the challenge period, originally planned to end 11/6. From DonorsChoose honchos:

Due to the massive power outages on the eastern seaboard this week, we are going to extend the Science Bloggers for Students campaign through next Friday, November 9. The SCIENCE match code will also be extended.

Oh yeah. So you have another week to throw down a little scratch. Also, remember to enter SCIENCE in the “Match or gift code” box when you are checking out with your payment information for your donation. There is a match in effect up to a $100 donation so you get to leverage your contribution. Pretty cool.

Teacher Ms. S. has requested support for her science class to learn basic vertebrate biology with the time honored dissection lab.

This grant will provide our science classroom with the equipment necessary to complete two laboratory dissections with 100 students. After an in depth study of the circulatory system and the chambers and structures of the heart, we will dissect a sheep heart. I selected a sheep heart since they are almost identical in size and structure as a human heart. We will continue with our anatomical studies of the other human organ systems, including the respiratory, digestive, excretory, reproductive, muscular, and skeletal systems. As a final culminating project, we will dissect a large bullfrog to develop a much deeper understanding of how the organs work together in the human body.

The REALM Charter school in Oakland California has an admirable goal

The mission of Realm Charter School is to cultivate resiliency, develop critical thinking skills, advance knowledge through rigorous studies, and equip students to serve our communities and the world in the 21st century. Realm Charter School will serve diverse urban students in grades 6-12 using a student-centered model that features project-based learning, an emphasis on technology, research and action on concerns in the community and activities that develop emotional resiliency.

and is described further by Ms. S.:

The REALM Charter School student body consists of 80% students of color living in Richmond, Berkeley, and Oakland. Approximately 60% of our students are Latino, and the remaining 40% are African American, Asian and White. We are a project based design school. We teach students to tackle problems and seek solutions through creative ingenuity.

As my longer term readers know, I’ve had my eye out for the dissection projects for a few years now because I think they are some of the most memorable primary and secondary school experiences when it comes to scientific education. This has been recently reinforced because one of my children was afforded the ability to do several dissections in a summer program that my spouse and I could happen to afford. Not every child in America is so lucky, as you well know, and this is a High Poverty school.

This is not a cheap project, the remaining balance sits at $1,089 as of this writing. This makes it a steep hill to climb, but I think we have a shot at making it a reality. So please, if you can, donate. Even just a little bit, $5 or $10, chips away at the total and creates momentum.

If you cannot, please consider forwarding the link on your Twitter, on your Facebook and even by email to your friends and families.

I am already humbled by the generosity of the Readers of the DM blog and of the Scientopia Collective. Thanks to everyone who has already pitched in.

Donor's Choose Time!!!

October 22, 2012

Yes, folks, it is that time of year. You get to open up your wallets, even $5 helps people, to help little kids’ school classrooms. It is no secret that public education has been enduring a long downward slide in the ranks of things that are important to voters/taxpayers in the US. But you probably didn’t know just how bad it has gotten. Peruse these projects, see the things that you remember as having been the expected value (like dissection in 10th grade Biology) and wonder that this is no longer the case.

Then give. The kids will benefit.