We're into the second week of the DrugMonkey Blog Reader Challenge for the ScienceBlogs'ters participation ($8,806 raised so far!) in the DonorsChoose.org Bloggers Challenge. Thanks for stepping up Readers!
Janet has an overview of our progress, stats and a little throwdown for the mommyblogs posted.
I want to thank Isis and Komrade PhysioProf for coughing up some serious beans for the kids.
One reader was kind enough to seek a matching donation from the company for which s/he works! Even if you can't work out how to credit it to any particular challenge as long as it is going to DonorsChoose it is a VeryGoodThing!
I'm extraordinarily happy with your DearReaders for keeping us in the top rank of ScienceBlogs as far as numbers of donors participating. ScienceWomen (12 donors at present) and GreenGabbro (10) readers have been pacing us (11 donors, w00t!), so my hat is off to their readers. Thanks for keeping us in the hunt! (and really, we can't have Uncertain Chad's readers (11) beating us, can we? I know he's got the baby picture inducements and teh offer to nekkid blog on a topic of your choice or whatever. but c'mon! it's the bloody fizzycysts!!! Skip 3 lattes this month and throw down a Hammie for the kids? C'mon, do it for ScreechyMonkey Pride!) Ahem.
Finally, a reminder to hold onto your donation confirmation email, I'll be randomly selecting some donors for prizes from the DrugMonkey Blog SchwagShop. Check out Janet's prizes too, you may want to go with her challenge. Commissioned sprog art? "Something bigger"? oh my. ScienceWomen have a t-shirt raffle and a 10% matching challenge for their readers. Don't worry, I won't be hurt if you donate to other challenges (thanks for the promotion River Tam!). The focus is on the kids here.
I mentioned in my DonorsChoose kickoff post that I grew up in a science-friendly household. Maybe a little more on those benefits later but today I thought I'd talk about Science Fair. Since we have an international audience, I'll just note that Science Fair is generally a primary education extra, conducted approximately from late elementary through middle school (dunno, is there highschool science fair now?). The idea is that each kid does a science-y project culminating in a presentation, sort of like a poster session except generally the visual aids are 3D, during a judged contest. It can get sort of competitive and involved with city-wide bragging rights available but that part misses the physioproffian point. The point, in my view, is to expose kids to just how much fun self-initiated inquiry can be. [I have a story for another time about volunteering in a disadvantaged school to help kids brainstorm project. 1) kids are naturally scientists and 2) getting competition and administrators involved is a bad idea- I don't care if it has been done a million-jillion times, if that kid thought of it herself that should be encouraged!]
I have two memorable Science Fair projects. My first was "rocks". Simple. I learned up on sedimentary, igneous, metamorphic. Different subtypes. Some simple fieldcraft for identification. It stuck with me. Well, actually when you do a lot of hiking with the family as a kid, rocks tend to be a continuing education. My other most memorable project was on computer programming. Memorable for a number of reasons including the fact that it was my introduction to, well, programming. That was back in the olden days of yore when the available computer was a mainframe at a parent's worksite and the dialup modem had little rubber cups that you fit the phone receiver into. I had some program to take a text input and spit back an ASCII blowup of the word, if I recall. I got killed in the judging- the "computer did all the work" you see... I think there are still current discussions as to whether computer science is really "science" are there not?
Anyway, good times that Science Fair stuff. Wouldn't you like to help some teachers provide their kids with science opportunities?
And say, DearReader, why don't you tell us one of your Science Fair memories in the comments?