Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Mrs. G is seeking supplies for a microbiology lab. I, as a microbiologist, recognize the value (and the intense fascination!) of teaching students about the natural world, particularly microbes!

I teach 7th grade Science in a school where the majority of the students are classified as Title 1, meaning that they need remedial help with their basic skills. Even without that classification, students this age are hard to motivate, especially in the content area of Science, but they are always more engaged and lively when they are in discovery mode. Even the worst readers love experiments and labs!

Although we perform at least 20 labs a year, the room is not quite equipped for it. One of the most challenging units to teach due to the lack of resources is the one on Microbiology.

The microscopes we inherited from years ago have cracked lenses, and the ones that aren’t are limited to 40x magnification. Most of the microbes we need to look at must be magnified at least 100x. In spite of our limitations, the students always seem to get excited about what they can see under our weak microscopes, because it’s all new to them.

What would really make the labs more vivid and worthwhile would be high-powered microscopes that actually work, and more of them so that students aren’t sitting around getting into trouble waiting for their turn. Ideally, I would have them work in pairs or groups of three, to maximize the time.

With new, higher-powered microscopes, these students would have a richer, more accurate learning experience. They would be able to observe and analyze the structure and behavior of live specimens with better results. With any luck, we’ll stimulate the mind of a young Jonas Salk who might later rid the world of rampant diseases caused by deadly pathogens, like malaria and HIV, and it would have been thanks to you.

My students need 20 introductory microscope sets. The cost of this proposal is $680, which includes shipping for any materials requested and fulfillment. [specific budget details PDF]

Read more about my DonorsChoose Challenge.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    October 1, 2008

    Come on, folks, Green Gabbro is ahead of us. We can’t allow ourselves to be beaten by a geologist, can we?

  2. #2 "GrrlScientist"
    October 1, 2008

    OH NOES!

    well, my birding pals are all outdoors right now, looking at birds, so hopefully, they will get down to the business of sharing their love of birds with a bunch of eager kids after they put their binoculars down.

  3. #3 JPS
    October 1, 2008

    When I read the headline I thought, oh no donorschoose is opposing (challenging) the classroom proposal. Then I thought too bad and why would they oppose it anyway?

    I remembered its not ‘challenge’ in the legal usage. I spent too long in that field.

  4. #4 carrie
    October 1, 2008

    I can’t believe that you have two projects funded already! Well, actually I can because Sb readers are awesome.

    Over at my book blog, I am sponsoring two science classes in Philly. See my entry here:

    Sorry to spam, but this is important!

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