Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge

Update 6/7: Funding to support this match offer has been fully used up on eligible projects. We loved seeing all the innovative ways teachers are helping their students in and outside of the classroom. Project submissions for the Innovation Challenge will be reviewed over the summer, and winners of the $5K prizes will be notified by September 5, 2017.

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Thanks to generous funding from Overdeck Family Foundation and Simons Foundation, teachers are invited to participate in an Innovation Challenge for hands-on, engaging math and science materials to be used outside of class time. Qualifying projects will receive matching donations from Overdeck Family Foundation and Simons Foundation, and a panel of judges will consider projects that score best on the rubric below for one of five $5,000 classroom funding prizes.

75% of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences say their interest in science was sparked by an experience outside of school. Teachers like you know best that learning does not stop when the bell rings, and educators are uniquely poised to develop amazing ideas for hands-on, engaging math and science experiences students can have at home, in an after-school program, on the weekend, or anywhere that young people find themselves when not in class. Together, let’s spark the natural curiosity in all students and help develop their critical thinking skills. In that way, they will see for themselves that math and sciences can be both fun and incredibly valuable in all aspects of life.

Here's how to participate:

(1) Create a DonorsChoose.org standard project. Only materials projects qualify for this funding opportunity, and only 1 project per teacher will be considered for the innovation challenge.

(2) In the Welcome screen of your project, select “Got a campaign code?”:

(3) Enter the code “SCIENCE” in the campaign code box:

(4) Walk through the process of creating your project. To qualify for the Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge, you will need to: 

Answer the specific questions posed such that your project clearly explains your idea for how students will engage with hands-on math and science materials outside of class time. For example:

For the best chance of winning the Innovation Challenge, make sure your project scores highly according to the rubric at the bottom of this page.

Keep your total cost under $2,000 (that’s about $1600 in materials), like so:

(5) Select a subject under Math & Science as your subject category.

(6) When you submit your project, it will be reviewed within 5 days. Our reviewers will let you know via email if any changes are needed. Once your project is posted to our site, if it meets the above criteria it will qualify for matching donations from the Overdeck Family Foundation and Simons Foundation.

(7) Once your project is live, fundraise! Every donation made to your Innovation Challenge project will be matched as long as funds last. We’ll update this page if funds are ever running low, but rest assured that if you see the Overdeck Family Foundation and Simons Foundation logos on your project page, there are still funds available.

(8) If your project is funded before April 10, you will be contacted via email within 2 days of your project reaching its funding goal by a researcher from the University of Virginia studying attitudes toward STEM-outside-school learning. Rob Tai, the researcher, will send you pre- and post-program surveys for you and a fellow teacher at your school to complete. You and your colleague will each receive a $50 DonorsChoose.org gift code as a thank-you for completing both surveys.

(9) To be reviewed for the Innovation Challenge, make sure your project is fully funded by 4/10/17, and that you send back the pre and post-program surveys. Project submissions will be reviewed over the summer, and winners of the $5K prizes will be notified by September 5, 2017.

Here’s how winners will be selected:



Additional teacher resources:

Check out these examples of other teachers’ STEM-outside-school projects:

Astronomy Equipment Lending Library
Weekend Weather Kits
Takehome Engineering Materials for a High Needs School
Making Mathematicians Matter
Green Chemistry Project 2 - Reusing Plastics for Hydroponics
Solar Winds
Math Game Kits for Home
Balloons & Cups * Straws (& String & Ping-Pong Balls), Oh My

Want to create an after-school Makerspace? Check out our blog post, Maker Ed’s Youth Makerspace playbook, and suggested tools and materials.

Check out more hands-on science activities from Science Bob.