Donor’s Choose

Helping Science Classrooms and Supporting Educators Throughout the U.S.

Donor’s Choose is a truly remarkable website that IS making a difference in the education of K-12 students all over the US. The site’s basic premise is that they provide a framework for teachers to request and receive funding for projects that their school districts don’t have the budgets to cover.

If you are like me, your teachers have had an unmeasurable impact on the person you’ve grown to be. You also know that many school districts have a hard time just making ends meet, let alone providing the kind of education that their students truly deserve. This is where Donor’s Choose … and you … and I come in.

Their site is loaded with wonderful projects. Its a one-stop-shopping site for all your charitable donations! Find a project that speaks to you (based on location, theme, or need), and help a teacher out. The project descriptions (along with the sheer number of projects) show how dedicated our teachers are to their students. They want more for them. They want to give them more than just a basic education.

Where does ScienceGeist fit into this picture?

Currently, Donor’s Choose is hosting a Science Blogger Challenge in order to raise awareness to their site and raise funds for our educators. Basically, there are a bunch of us science bloggers each trying to raise money for projects that we find really cool. (Disclaimer: I think that there are prizes for bloggers who bring in the most new number of donors or funding. But, I don’t expect to win anything, and it’s certainly not why I signed on to help.) I am doing this because it is very easy, and natural, for me to stand with my colleagues who are trying to empower our nations students and educators. (Big shout-out to Janet Stemwedel for bringing this to my attention.)

So, I urge you to check out the site and look through the projects. I have started a giving page of my own. (I will describe the project I am plugging at the end of this post.) For every person who donates through my giving page, I will email that donor one of my favorite recipes with a description of the chemistry behind each recipe. Its not much, but I hope that it will entice you to give to the causes I have picked.

Of course, what’s important here is that you do give somewhere. So, if you don’t like “my” project, go and find one that you do! (The other science blogger’s giving pages are aggregated here.)

So, who am I giving to?

I have chosen to give my support to a project that, as many of you know, is near and dear to me. Mrs. Carder of Fruitvale Senior High School in Texas is looking to start up a Kitchen Chemistry approach for her high school class. She is trying to raise money to get some new appliances and equipment for her classroom. Here is her description of the project from the Donor’s Choose website:

My Students: Teaching and learning Chemistry are both difficult tasks! There are so many chemicals and facts that students cannot relate to in their everyday life. That is why I want to add “Kitchen Chemistry” to my class! For this, I need your help!

My students are from a small, rural community in the middle of nowhere. At our school, over 60% of our students are on free and reduced lunches due to very low incomes. Few of my students ever leave our area and rarely experience life outside of our state. Because of this, I want to offer them as many opportunities as possible. I also want to teach them in an easy to understand manner that relates to their everyday life.

My Project: “Kitchen Chemistry” is an amazing approach to teaching chemistry in which we combine topics such as chemical and physical changes with cooking. Instead of using chemicals the students have never heard of and mixing them to produce a color change, we would bake a cake to show a chemical change and make sweet tea to show a physical change. These are things the students will understand and remember! I am requesting a small microwave to use throughout this course for several small cooking experiments. I am also requesting pots and pans to use in cooking. We will use my current hot plates but I need new and never used for chemicals, pots and pans. I have already found a several labs including, making brownies while studying conversions, making popcorn for percent composition, s’mores for stoichiometry, and many more!

Teaching “Kitchen Chemistry” will have a huge impact on my students! I am confident that they will learn so much more from using real life examples and through fun, hands-on cooking experiments. With your help and the help of “FEED USA” I am sure this project will come to life!

My students need assorted cooking equipment so that we can start a “Kitchen Chemistry” approach during my chemistry classes.

And, last night Mrs. Carder sent me a personal note of thanks to all who are going to help with her project!

Thanks for your help! I work in a really poor, rural area where most students don’t go to college. I’ve found that the more real world chemistry examples that I use, the more the students understand. Also, putting food or drinks in the lessons really helps:). Right now I only do a few kitchen chem labs; no bake cookies conversions, popcorn water percentage, ice cream freezing rate, s’mores stoichiometry, and dissolving rate with sweet tea (we’re in Texas:)

I hope that you’ll consider visiting my giving page to help out Mrs. Carder and her students.

Many thanks!

-mrh

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