As safety goggles awaited on nearby tables, the Lawrence Hall of Science educator attempted to sound as serious as possible about the upcoming experiment.
“Today, you are going to be scientists,” CJ Mishima (pictured below) explained to the Verde Elementary kindergarteners Thursday. “You are going to make your very own slime.”
So the students promptly set off to become scientists, and in short time their classroom had the potential to become an especially gooey set on Nickelodeon.
Of course, the most important part about creating slime on Thursday was that the young Verde students had a ton of fun while beginning to learn basic scientific concepts, including the differences between solids, liquids and gases. That’s not always easy to accomplish at a struggling school that serves children from low-income families. Verde teachers often dig into their own pockets for basic supplies. The visit by a Berkeley Lab educator doubled as a call to teachers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties to take advantage of the Chevron Fuel Your School program, which aims to relieve some of the financial burden.
Through Fuel Your School, Chevron donates $1 every time a driver pumps at least 8 gallons of gas into their vehicle at Chevron and Texaco stations. Up to $1 million of those donations will to DonorsChoose.org to fund online requests by teachers for school supplies and materials.
The aim is to provide more educational tools for students, as well as relief for public school teachers across the nation who last year spent an average of $485 of their own money for supplies and materials.
Teachers in Contra Costa and Alameda counties are encouraged to submit classroom projects to DonorsChoose.org, making sure to detail the materials and supplies they will need.
On Thursday, Jean Kintscher, who teaches kindergarten through second grades at Verde Elementary, received more than $550 worth of supplies through Fuel Your School, including dot markers, a weekly Scholastic magazine subscription, educational games and sight word books.
“Because the children come from a poor background, they are in need of engaging experiences that foster learning and help set a foundation for their continuing education,” Kintscher said. “Adding varied activities to the classroom will help accomplish increased learning.”
Hundreds of other teachers are poised to benefit from the program. Last year, the program funded 661 eligible classroom projects for public schools in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. Students at Richmond College Prep Charter School were among the beneficiaries, as they received laboratory equipment including a microscope, slides, safety goggles, beakers and a scale.
Since the Fuel Your School program began in 2010, more than 23,000 classroom projects at more than 4,000 U.S. schools have benefited.
“We want to make sure you have all the classroom materials you need, like pencils and paper and all the other cool stuff that you can use to learn, so that you can maybe be a scientist, or you can be a doctor, or you can be a mathematician or an engineer even and work at the Chevron Richmond Refinery,” Chevron Richmond spokesperson Leah Casey explained to students Thursday.
And Chevron officials say they have a blast spending time with local kids. In the photo above, Patty Canessa, the Refinery’s Public Affairs Manager, marveled at the energy and potential as she created slime with Verde students.
Dale Walsh, president of Chevron Americas Products, said the company is “proud to support the educational development of students in the communities where we work and live.”