Sunday, March 1, 2015

STEM to Kids - an excellent opportunity for authors

You might be wondering what’s up with that little gofundme widget in the upper right corner of this Novelspaces page.  Let me fill you in.  
My co-author, Lynelle Martin and I are raising funds for a project based on our children's novel "Zapped! Danger in the Cell" at Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore that would expose children to Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
How did this come about?
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.
Why Port Discovery?
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.
What is the workshop about?
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. 
Why gofundme?
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, 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.
What can you do?
-    You can help us achieve our goal by clicking on this widget and donating.  It needs not be much as every little helps.
-    You can re-post or share it to your Facebook page, Twitter or other social media sites asking others to support our cause.
The STEM in Spring program runs from first week of April to April 12th.  We will be conducting the workshop on March 31st, April 2nd, April 7th and April 9th.
If you have questions, ideas or suggestions, you may use the comments or you may email me directly.  Thanks for your support in this venture.


Liane Spicer said...

Best of luck with this worthwhile initiative, Jewel. I've shared it on my online places.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thank you Liane. We have started construction. I've been putting my rusty sewing skills to use making some of the organelles. But its fun doing the creative end. I hope the kids have as much fun with the workshop as we are having creating it.