Mother, writer, performer, radio personality and former Valley resident Sandra Tsing Loh launched a science contest on KPCC this month that gives schools a chance to win $1,000, and learn some weird science facts, too.
Her KPCC science module The Loh Down on Science is mid-way through a May “Win $1,000 for your public school” contest. May is the kick-off contest, but Loh said she hopes to run the science contest quarterly starting next fall.
But in case you are just finding out about the contest RIGHT NOW (May is already half over) Loh said that technically if a school signed up this week and got about 150 people to sign up, they could still win.
This is how it works: A school signs up. Every player who signs up earns 10 points for the school. Every day a player logs onto the website Monday through Friday and answers a “Question of the Day” that player earns one point for their school. Answers to questions are mailed out the next day—and the school with the most participation wins.
To be clear: you win by participating, NOT by getting the answer right.
Past questions have included:
Which of the following ice-creams (as far as we know) does NOT exist?
Is there a connection between concentration and creativity?
Or today’s question:
Question of the Day:
(no Wikipedia—just think!)
A quark is an elementary particle that comes in six "flavors" -- up, down, strange, charm, bottom, top. Murray Gell-Mann got the name "quark" from:
a) A line in Finnegan's Wake by Irish writer James Joyce
b) A holey German cheese (quarkbutterkase) it is said to resemble
c) Five physical "principles": Quality, Unity, Angle, Rotation, Knowledge
You may ask, why is Loh doing this?
Loh’s show Loh Down on Science has been running since 2005. She has two daughters in public school—both of whom will be attending Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks next fall. And yes, she does care about science. Loh said many of us have a picture of science as being a scary, remote, confusing thing done by “elderly Cryptkeeper-type men in white lab coats who smell like chemicals.” She wanted to begin a cultural shift where science education was not competitive and hierarchical, but social, playful and open ended in stimulating our capacity to wonder and be curious.
“In short, science and scientists come in all packages,” she said. “I’m excited to think our next Nobel Prize winners are right now students in our great LAUSD schools.
But it's not just that. Loh said that as an LAUSD mom who has spent almost a decade fundraising for schools, she said she wishes she could get more dollars into classrooms without making her kids into miniature salespeople.
"As a shout out to my fellow long-suffering parents out there, I wanted to design a fundraiser where a great school wins $1,000 and our only carbon "footprint" left behind is that kids and families have learned some fun science," she said.
Loh said so far 34 schools (from boutique schools like Marengo and Ivanhoe to Green Dot Schools like Locke Tech High) have signed up, 500 players are playing (from Denver to Australia), and a couple of LA schools have actually gone insane over it.
So far the only Board District 3 that is participating is Valley Alternative Magnet.
Loh’s challenge to Valley schools: “It’s science, it’s fun, it’s family, it’s schools, it’s LA (mostly)! But I wonder, where’s the Valley? Are we going to let Highland Park, Glendale, Pico Rivera, South Pasadena, and even Denver kick our you-know-what’s?
To participate, please visit: