When Lynelle and I published our children’s novel last year, I sent it to a colleague of mine for review. That colleague just happens to be a Senior Advisor at the Brain Science Institute and Science of Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University and the Creator of Curiosityville. She is also a children’s book author. Not only did she give a glowing review, she introduced us to the people at Port Discovery Children’s Museum. They saw the value of the book as an excellent learning and teaching tool and invited us to participate in the “STEM in Spring 2015. During Maryland schools spring break, the STEM in Spring exposes thousands of children to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics by workshops, activities, and exhibits in a hands-on interactive manner.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum is ranked among the top five children's museums in the country and is one of the leading non-traditional educational resources of the Mid-Atlantic region serving hundreds of thousands of children per year with educational and fun activities. They focus on child development and learning through interactive play. We were delighted for this opportunity to partner with Port Discovery, because the museum normally partners with large institutions who sponsor programs, workshops and exhibits as well as community outreach programs.
Since “Zapped” is about children who are shrunk and zapped into a biological cell for an exciting adventure, we proposed a workshop where we recreate the journey of the main characters of the books through the cell. The purpose of this is to familiarize children with the biological cell and the structure and functions of the parts of the cell while they are having fun. We decided to convert an 18’x34’ space into a cell – a really exciting and fun project that requires lots of child-safe materials. The only set back is we have to fund the project ourselves. No problem if you’re a large institution with access to a lot of funds. Daunting if you’re two struggling authors.
We started looking at ways to fund this project. We first reached out to the college where I worked, but of course with all the bureaucracy that will take more time than we have. So we turned to gofundme.com, a secure crowd funding website that allows us to raise funds online. Gofundme is really nice in that it automatically posts to your websites, emails, Facebook etc. There is no administrative cost to donors, and unlike some other crowd funding websites, we get to keep the donations even if we don’t reach our goal. We calculated that if each of my 800 Facebook friends could give as little as $5, we would be well on our way to making that workshop a reality. While we’ve had some wonderful donations, we are quite far from our goal of bringing STEM to the kids at Port Discovery Children’s museum.
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