Being a college professor has definitely made me realize how many students are “terrified” (their words) about math and science. Many have gotten the idea that you need to be special somehow to understand scientific principles – but really, I think all it takes is getting exposed to science throughout their school career before college. This doesn’t mean a cursory science class from a poorly-written textbook, but rather getting hands on with science in the classroom or field. Now, in the political and economic climate that permeates the country, schools are having to do much more cutting than spending, so the idea that we need to spend more to help get students comfortable with science is a little hard to imagine. However, that is what needs to be done – and that is why you can help in a small but meaningful way.
Teachers submit project descriptions and materials costs to DonorsChoose, a non-profit that promotes the projects on the web. Donors read the descriptions, give any amount of money (even $5 helps a lot!) to the project of their choice, and when the project is fully funded the supplies get delivered to the classroom and the project becomes a reality. In return, donors get to see photos of the project in action, and if they give $100 or more to a project or are the final donor, they get a packet of hand-written thank you notes from the students.
So, every little piece helps a classroom get closer to bringing science to the students – and hopefully prevent more students from getting to college thinking that science is a mysterious process that only a few can do. You might not want to be a scientist, but you should be able to think critically about the science in your life and realize the process behind it. That is part of being an informed citizen – the key to any democratic society – and any small action that can help that along is great appreciated.
You can visit the Donors Choose page set up by Anne with plenty of great Geoprojects that were submitted for this year’s drive. Thank you for any help you can provide!