What Donors Should Choose

There is still no official word from Seed about matching funds and/or prize drawings for the Donors Choose Challenge. However, Janet has posted a list of individual ScienceBloggers’ incentives here. Donating to another Scibling’s challenge might not contribute to the glory of the geoblogosphere, but it will contribute to education.

If I weren’t trying to win bragging rights, I would claim that the contribution to education is what matters. But really, pretending that bragging rights aren’t important is just sour grapes from an ethicist whose readers do not share her commitment to charity. Bragging rights matter! And we are going to win some – all of us. All of us who donate, anyway – if you don’t give, you don’t get any bragging rights or warm fuzzies. And since northern hemisphere winter is coming on, most of you will need all the warm fuzzies you can get; please consider donating.

Below the fold, I’ve listed the three projects from my challenge slate where I think your donation will make the most impact.

“Impact” is still a subjective measure, so I’ve sorted out the projects by the possible heuristics you might be using to guide your donation.

  • The Most Heartbreaking Proposal: Students Can’t Learn Science Without Paper.

    One of the many hard parts about being a teacher in a high-poverty school is that not only do you have a severely constrained budget for classroom supplies, you must also be very careful about what you ask your students to provide.

    Mr. D, who teaches physical science, biology, and earth science in St. Louis, is struggling on both fronts. He can’t afford copy paper to supply his classroom; his students can’t afford to bring in that most basic and essentials of scientific tools, a lab notebook. All of us who’ve gone through science classes, or further into a scientific career, know how vital good lab books are. But student lab notebooks don’t just model good scientific practice – they’re an important way for a teacher to give feedback about students’ thought processes, and to show science as an ongoing process, rather than a series of unrelated worksheets, assignments, and cookbook experiments.

    I’m in danger of waxing into overwrought purple prose here, but I really do think that a simple bound notebook is one of the best educational values you can find anywhere. Mr. D. needs an additional $288 to give lab notebooks to the students who can’t afford them, and to keep his copy machine stocked so he can make handouts.

  • Available Matching Funds: Understanding the Water Cycle – Ms. T. in Indianapolis wants to make sure that her students have a solid understanding of the water cycle, and she’s had particular trouble with the ground water portion of it. She’s found an aquarium kit that will help her make the water cycle more visible and concrete for her students, but she needs $148.

    Your donation to this project will be matched by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation.

  • Ending the Soonest: Let’s Crack Open Some Rocks! – Mrs. K’s second graders in Nevada are enthusiastic about their classroom rocks, and she wants to let them do some destructive tests on their very own geodes. This won’t be useful for future classrooms, but it’ll give these kids something to remind them of the fun of geology for years to come. And if the project isn’t funded by Halloween, it won’t happen.

    Several generous donors made quick work of that classroom in Oklahoma – can we do it again?


  1. Susie wrote:

    Well, I’m from St. Louis, so I gave to that one. But I just realized I wuz doin it wrong! I used the link on this post, not the one to the left, so maybe you didn’t get credit. :( I’m sorry. I mentioned your name, though!

  2. Thomas M. wrote:

    I went back on my earlier statement and donated money to two of them ($20). Does this mean I get a rock named after me?

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