I’ve created a modest challenge for friends and readers at Donor’s Choose. I recently donated $150 to a project that would allow a first grade teacher to create a Newt habitat for her classroom. I then read about the Blogger’s Challenge where Google, Yahoo and others have created awards for bloggers who raise the most money or reach the most students by the end of October. Prizes range from $500 for the project of your choice to lunch with Yahoo’s Jerry Yang. I don’t know how philanthropic my readers are, but I’ll take Yahoo’s idea one step farther.

I’m not as famous as Jerry, but I will happily lunch with those of you meet my Challenge and donate to one or more of these projects. (Lunch will have to take place in the SF Bay Area or wait till I visit a city near you.) Projects need funding ranging from $149 for the Newts to $2,989 for the media class LCD Projector and video cam. Even if you can only donate a small amount, please do. If you donate over $100, you’ll get a thank you note from the class!

Don’t think too hard, just do it! Consider forwarding this message to your friends! Here are my notes on why I selected these five projects:

* Seeing is believing every classroom should have a digital microscope
* Newts any first grade teacher willing to keep newts should have them
* LCD Projector and video cam I can’t imagine teaching media production without an LCD projector and I think a class where high school students create their own videos is very powerful
* Science In First Grade: Exploration When I taught science to my son’s first grade class, I found the english language learners increased their vocabulary dramatically. I think we should support this teacher who wants to expand the first grade science curriculum.
* Partnering with Parents This isn’t science or tech — it’s just a good idea. It would be great to help this teacher empower parents to be involved, when they have the motivation, but can’t take off work to participate in the classroom.

You can also see an overview of the Ultrasaurus Challenge Projects with thermometers showing how much funding they still need.

A must see event…

Invisible Computers: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers.
Thursday, November 8, 2007 6pm
Google Headquarters
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

This is a fundraiser for Kathy Kleiman to complete a full-length film telling this important story. I saw this short film at Grace Hopper many years ago. Last year, when I was doing research on ideas for our elementary school technology classes, I remembered the stories of these innovative early programmers, who received little or no recognition of their significant technical achievements at the time. I wanted kids today to realize what I didn’t know until I was all grown up and a programmer myself. I had no idea of the strong women innovators who came before me.

If you enjoyed reading about Mary Houbolt, one of the first generation of human “computers,” you must come to this event. Even if you can’t come, please, please blog about this one. This is a very important fundraiser. The full-length movie absolutely must get made, so that these stories can be told to a wider audience and future generations.

Please register for this event if you can come and forward the info to people you know who might be interested. If you can’t come, but still want to support the making of this documentary, you can also make a donation.