At littleBits, our mission is to inspire the next generation of inventors by providing a 21st-century learning tool at the intersection of STEM/STEAM and the Maker Movement, and get it into the hands of as many educators as possible. And what better way to get it into your hands than by giving away a $2000 Workshop Set for your classroom?
The best part is that those of you who don’t walk away mega-winners are still likely to receive donations to put toward littleBits in your classroom. But how?! It’s because we’re running the contest through DonorsChoose.org, one of the greatest fundraising tools at an educator’s disposal. Projects with a goal of $200 on the crowdsourcing platform have an 85% chance of getting funded.
Ready to enter? Here’s how to start getting the big bucks for littleBits:
- Come up with an awesome, amazing, inspirational classroom project or lesson plan that creatively incorporates littleBits and gets kids problem-solving, iterating, and building creatively.
- Submit the project on DonorsChoose.org between September 17th and October 22nd. If you’re new to the platform, we have some helpful tips for you toward the end of this post.
- Watch the donations start to roll in from benevolent citizens of the world as you await the judge’s decision on a winner.
- The judges will review all submissions and choose the most compelling project. Check out their bios below!
- We will contact you by November 1st to let you know if you’re the BIG WINNER of a littleBits Workshop Set for your classroom or makerspace.
Note: At this time DonorsChoose.org is solely focused on assisting U.S. public school teachers. This may change in the future but there are no immediate plans for additional expansion.
New to DonorsChoose.org? No problem! Here are our top tips for launching your own crowdfunded littleBits campaign for your classroom.
- Create a catchy and informative title.
- Keep your project cost low – projects that cost less than $400 in materials are more likely to get funded.
- Promote your project to friends, family, colleagues, and community members (such as local businesses) using the share tools on your project page (you’ll see email, Facebook, and other options) or through your public profile.
- Speak from the heart, and help the reader picture the student experience that will take place.
- Check over your project essay for spelling and grammar errors.
Here are some great projects to get you inspired to create your own:
1) Carroll County Public School District Media Center
2) Tulsa Independent School District
3) La Joya Independent School District
Meet the Judges
Dr. Mike Feinberg is Co-Founder of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation (along with Dave Levin) and Executive Vice Chair of KIPP Houston, which includes 24 public charter schools: 9 primary schools, 11 middle schools, and 4 high schools serving over 12,500 children. To date, 90% of the KIPPsters who have left the KIPP Houston middle schools have gone on to college, and 51% of those former middle school KIPPsters have graduated from college (compared with a national college graduation rate for low income children of 8%).
In 2008, Mike and Dave were named to the list of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report and received the Presidential Citizens Medal in the Oval Office of the White House. KIPP has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS 60 Minutes, ABC World News Tonight, and in The New York Times, Houston Chronicle, Washington Post, and more.’
Leah Gilliam works at Mozilla as the Director of Hive NYC Learning Network, part of a growing constellation of communities across the globe championing digital skills and web literacy through connected learning. A graduate of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, Ms. Gilliam is the former Director of Informal Learning at New York’s Institute of Play where she worked with students, educators and designers to integrate systems thinking and games into learning. Before she left to pursue her love of design, technology and innovation, Gilliam was an Associate Professor of Electronic Arts and Chair of the Arts Division at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
He is currently the Supervisor of Educational Technology and Curriculum at The Westmoreland Intermediate Unit in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The Westmoreland Intermediate Unit is a state educational service agency serving all of Westmoreland county, which consists of 17 school districts, 3 career and technical centers and approximately 50,000 students. His role is to develop and provide professional development opportunities and programs that serve the needs of his districts and their students. He strives to provide leadership and direction to the districts by presenting emerging technologies and instructional “best practices.”
Still not sold on the idea? Here’s what littleBits superstar educator, Jamie Ewing, has to say about the platform:
“I could not do all the work I’ve been able to do with LittleBits without DonorChoose! The process is so simple and easy. The most rewarding part for me, and my students, is to see how many people really want to get involved with the great work we are all doing in our classrooms. My students’ experiences have exploded with the help of people from around the country who really want to see great STEM work being done in our classroom! EVERYONE should be out their creating an amazing project with LittleBits and DonorChoose, I can’t think of a single reason you won’t!”