i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgWe got off to a strong start in the Sciencewomen Reader Challenge 2008. In the first 48 hours, we attracted 9 donors who gave a total of almost $400 to our DonorsChoose projects that fund impoverished public school science classrooms. And then we plateaued and our ticker hasn’t budged a milimeter in the last few days.

Maybe you gave to other DonorsChoose challenges or maybe you thought you’d do it later. But we’d love to see you give a little bit of money to help out our handpicked projects, too. So in order to provide a little extra incentive, Alice, I and the good folks at Yellow Ibis have teamed up to provide some prizes for donors to our challenge. At the end of the month, we’ll be giving away five free t-shirts. You could choose from a variety of shirts featuring molecules, one-liners, and other cool designs, or you can be among the first to own the brand new Sciencewomen t-shirt that YellowIbis is designing for us. (I know, how cool! Photos coming soon.)

In order to be eligible for the give-away, all you need to do is forward your DonorsChoose email receipt to Alice (alicepawley at google’s mail service) by October 31st. Any donation amount is appreciated and the website takes donations as small as $5; we know that some of you are starving students yourselves.

(And I’m going to throw in my own little bonus incentive. I’ll match 10 cents on every dollar that is donated to our challenge, on top of what I’ve already given. Alice is coming up with an incentive as well.)

To read about a couple of the fantastic projects that you can support with your donation, go below the fold. For the complete listing, click the widget on top of the left sidebar.

How about helping give high-poverty fourth graders a weather station? That proposal needs only $121 to become a reality and your contribution is 1:1 matched by the The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. This is what their teacher’s proposal said:

My students and I have been looking out our windows daily and wondering why things work the way they do. …There have been many students who have been affected by the strong storms in our area so they are motivated to learn all they can so they will be more prepared to help. We need a weather station to help us gather data and connect our observations to measurable data and make informed predictions of current weather conditions and cause and effect relationships relating to our environment and region.

Or how about helping high-poverty kindergartners in Alabama have access to pattern blocks, tangram sets, and geometry manipulatives that their teacher learned about in a summer workshop. The proposal needs $427, and here’s how the teacher described the project:

This summer, I and fellow co-workers are attending AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative) training for 2 weeks…In order to help my students learn the basic principles of geometry, I need to build a child-friendly math station. I need pattern blocks in several sizes, tangram sets and geometric manipulatives to supplement the new curriculum that I’ve learned about. I am so excited about teaching my kindergartners about the difference between pyramids and prisms, rectangles and squares, vertices and edges, etc.

Engineers, computer-aided design, landscapers, construction workers and designers all work with 2-D and 3-D objects daily. In the AMSTI curriculum, even kindergartners explore, predict, form hypotheses and test ideas with geometry! Can you believe it! Please consider funding my proposal so the world can have a few more brilliant engineers and architects!