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Donors make science affordable at Greencastle-Antrim Primary School

September 25, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Greencastle-Antrim Primary School first-grader Safiyah Dahbi peers through a magnifying glass Tuesday as she and fellow students use new science center materials at the school.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Molly Murray’s first-grade class at Greencastle-Antrim Primary School is learning about magnets and magnification thanks to a website, the kindness of a New Jersey resident and United Parcel Service.

When Murray wanted to provide hands-on science materials for her class, she turned to an online charity — DonorsChoose.org.

“We had a weekly science center going on, but I didn’t feel I had enough materials to maintain it,” Murray said.

Jeff Koons with Horace Mann, an insurance agency serving the educational community, told Murray about the online website that links classrooms in need with donors.

In November, Murray posted the “Simply Sensational Scientists” project on the website and by February she had nearly $500 to fund the project for her students.

The donations came from an anonymous donor in New Jersey and were matched by UPS, Murray said.

“I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s awesome,” Murray said. “I’m so glad that I did it. I think if word got out to more teachers about how easy it is they would do it, too.”

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While Murray said there is no formal science curriculum for the primary grades, the students love learning about scientific concepts.

Before getting the project funded, Murray said she was making materials by hand.

“This project is providing them with a deeper understanding of the scientific process,” she said.

As a clothespin dangled from a magnet, Ali Sollenberger, 6, gleefully announced her findings to Murray.

“Look, the metal part of the clothespin is sticking, but the wood isn’t,” Ali said.

In another group, Safiyah Dahbi studied a pine cone using a magnifying glass.

“Wow, that’s close,” she said.

“The students’ favorite center has always been science. These were perfect for what we needed,” Murray said about the new materials.

Murray said the new science materials would not have been possible without DonorsChoose.org.

“There wouldn’t be room in the budget to do this,” she said.

Murray said the typical elementary school teacher spends about $1,000 of their own money on classroom supplies.

With the success of her science project, Murray has posted a math manipulative project on the DonorsChoose.org site.

Murray is among 37 public school teachers from Franklin County, Washington County, Berkeley County, W.Va., and Frederick County, Md., who have received donations totaling $14,600 to fund 42 classroom projects through DonorsChoose.org in the past 12 months, according to a news release from Horace Mann insurance.

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