The economic impact of the March Madness basketball tournament is immense. The much-quoted Challenger, Gray and Christmas analysis estimated a few billion dollars in lost productivity alone, due to workers slacking off to watch games and obsess over their brackets. Cities that host games might draw in the neighborhood of $4-6 million, according to the above linked article. Regardless of whether March Madness basketball games are a net gain for cities (or Universities) the main point is that money is expended. Huge sums.
At the personal level, how many individual citizens kick down some money to throw a watch party for their alma mater's game? How many overpay for a hamburger, fries and a few pints of crappy beer at the local sports bar?
Well, I have a proposition for you, Dear Reader. Actually, the bluebird of Twitter happiness known as My T Chondria and Scientopia's own Gerty-Z of Balanced Instability have a proposition for you.
The proposition is that you head on over the ESPN to fill out a bracket challenge.
The group is DarwinsBalls, the password is Darwin
Then, after you have done so (or even if you see this too late), head over to Donor's Choose and donate $5 (or more, hey, just order one fewer beers or skip the fries, eh?) to a project supporting science education in under privileged schools.
Gerty-Z and MyTChondria suggested a few, they are now on challenge number 5
UPDATE v. 5: DAMN! It's hard to keep up with you all!! Here is the next project, since Mrs. Brown's class is now set up. Let's bring home the Bacon (Francis Bacon) for Mr. Kovach's class in Chicago!
We didn't do the October bloggers drive for Donor's Choose this year. So perhaps you, as I have been, keep hearing a nagging voice in the back of your head. For those of you who are new, Mr Kovach's appeal will give you a flavor of the type.
I teach in an inner city public elementary school. Our students are always eager to learn; we are an extremely dedicated community that is proud to serve one of the highest populations of students currently living in homeless shelters out of hundreds of schools in our city. We strive to practice highly engaging, meaningful, challenging, cooperative, and most of all FUN learning experiences that will inevitably inspire all of our students to not only graduate high school, but to pursue college as a part of their long-term goals. Many of our students continue on to be the first members of their families to graduate with a college degree, and many are now pursing degrees in various areas of Science.
They sound very worthy. So what is the project?
This proposal seeks fetal pig specimens and dissecting kits so that our 7th grade students can continue to work in small cooperative groups in order to explore anatomy and physiology in the most realistic manner possible. It has been exciting for our 7th graders to show the younger students and their teachers of our school the process of conducting fetal pig autopsies, and to see little eyes peeping into our classroom door each day of the project.
Ah yes, the old fetal pig dissection model. C'mon, be honest.....isn't this one of the 3-5 things you can actually remember from your biology education in primary or secondary school? Isn't this something that would be tops on your list if you were designing Biology curricula? ....and aren't you slightly gobsmacked to realize this is something that doesn't fit into the Biology teacher's budget anymore?
Well, it doesn't for poorer (and not so poorer) schools.
So, I ask you. Find it in your hear to kick down a few bucks for childhood science education.
(and by all means, if this project or classroom doesn't work for your, there are a ton more at Donor's Choose. Search by academic domain, by poverty level, by geographical region. There will be something to tug your heartstrings.)