bioephemera

No, I’m not being rude, I promise! The Gates Foundation is matching DonorsChoose donations to high-need schools. They’ll fund 50% of any classroom project request that prepares students in rural and high-poverty schools for college, up to $4.1 million.

Just jump in and pick from a list of projects eligible for matching funds here. Here’s a project that caught my eye:

One of my former students had done water rockets at his school in another state. He introduced this to me and I have been hooked on it ever since then. Normally, I have teaching funds from our state. This year my funds have been cut to $100 for the entire year. . . I use Rocket Day as a recruiting tool to get students interested in science. Students have jobs during launches, just like a NASA launch. The students love this and it makes them want to learn, help each other, and they also realize that they are capable of doing something that will shine with success. . .

The duct tape is used to secure 2-liter soft drink bottles together. The poster board is used to make the bottles more aerodynamic and also helps to secure the rockets together. The card stock is utilized to make nose cones and for fin templates for the rockets. The rulers will be used to measure the fins and for placement of the fins on the rockets. The scissors will be used to cut tape, plastic bottles, and poster board neatly. The stopwatches will be used to calculate the times for the rockets during flight. The times are used in a formula to calculate altitude and also to show how good the aerodynamics of the rockets are in flight. The alti-track instrument is used to calculate altitude another way. We will then compare the calculated altitude with the alti-track altitude and see how close these numbers are to one another. . .

Many of my students have no plans past high school. They just want to graduate and go to work. I want to show them that they are capable of going to college, finding financial aid, choosing a decent career, and learning to work with others to accomplish a goal.

That’s right – this teacher is going to make rockets with his students – IF he can get “10 rolls of duct tape, 1 package of poster board, 1 package of card stock, 12 rulers, 6 pairs of scissors, 1 altitude finder, and 2 digital stopwatches.” Duct tape, soda bottles and scissors?!? The total cost of the entire project is $242 – just $141 after the Gates matching funds. It’s almost ludicrous to me how cheap it really is to give kids an amazing educational experience.

I just gave to the duct tape rocket project, which means Bill and Melinda Gates have too. Wanna join us? 🙂

Still not convinced? Maybe DonorsChoose board member Stephen Colbert can explain it better – while making some very important people look really awkward on tiny child-sized desks, as he is wont to do.

See? Stephen Colbert says “help BioE give away the Gates Foundation’s money to make duct tape water rockets!” At least, that’s what I heard!