It’s October, one the busiest months of the year. It’s the month with Earth Science Week, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Domestic Violence Awareness Month…but one of the happiest features of October is the annual DonorsChoose Social Media Challenge, when we bloggers and tweeters get to exhort our readers to support public school students throughout the US, Alice and I are both going to be busy off-line over the coming weeks, but we’re never too busy to give a bit of time and money to help the next generation of scientists and engineers.
This year we are focusing on efforts of bringing science books to high-poverty classrooms. Hands-on activities and field trips are fabulous, but books have their merits too. Until we make space travel accessible to elementary students, books about our solar system are a pretty darn good way to learn about the planets. Books are a great way to provide extra content and context to enrich those incredible hands-on activities, like creating a school arboretum on a Native American Reservation in New Mexico. Books also allow students to explore a wider range of topics than might be taught within the formal curriculum of a single school year - everything from friction, gravity, and geology to the life cycles of a whole host of plants and animals. Reading science books improves overall literacy. Classroom books can survive years of student use, and they are often more affordable than some of the science inquiry kits that teachers seek.
Please take a moment to look through the projects on our challenge page and see if the topics strike your fancy or the stories from the teachers melt your heart. If none of those projects make you want to donate, look through the thousands of other projects available on DonorsChoose and tell us what we should add to our challenge.
And if the thought of bringing books and science to the next generation of scientists, engineers, and citizens is not enough to get you to part with that precious cash, how about if we throw in a few prizes? When you donate any amount and email your receipt to me (science (dot) woman (at sign) gmail (dot) com), I’ll enter you in a drawing to win at least one t-shirt from our friends at Yellow Ibis. Maybe you’ll even want to get one of our extra-special custom t-shirts? If you are the donor that funds a project to completion, let me know too, because getting those books to kids earns you the right to make a request for SciWo’s Storytime. What books (science or not) would you like Minnow and I to read and videotape?