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Amazon mystery boxes
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What are Amazon mystery boxes? Are they worth the money?

Imagine working without the tools you need to get the job done. Unfortunately, this is a common problem that teachers have to deal with. Some post wish lists full of classroom supplies to Twitter or Facebook with the tag #ClearTheList, hoping a generous netizen will lend a helping hand.

Relying on the kindness of strangers only goes so far, though. Many teachers dip into their bank accounts to buy classroom supplies. A 2021 study shows teachers spend about $511 of their own money each year.

This isn’t sustainable, so inventive teachers always look for new ways to serve their students better. Tap or click here for five great tools for teachers. One such teacher reached out to Kim Komando, asking about an Amazon deal that seemed too good to be true.

Luckily, she was skeptical

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sharon is a first-grade teacher who spends a lot of time looking for ways to help her STEM students. While browsing on Facebook Marketplace, she found an advertisement for an Amazon Surprise Box.

“I was trying to figure out, Is this a scam? Or is this going to waste my money?” she said. “They range anywhere from $29 to $99, and they guarantee that you’ll either get an iPad or a phone or something in there that’s worth the amount.”

Despite her concerns, she couldn’t help but think it looked like a great deal. An iPad would be a massive help for her afterschool STEM program. She teaches kids about coding computers and controlling robots.

Her kids love the work, but they keep dropping the Fire tablets they use. That’s why she wanted to upgrade to an iPad. Unfortunately, her school is underfunded and can’t pay for new gadgets. A new iPad is too expensive to pay out of pocket, so the Amazon Surprise Box seemed like a good idea.

RELATED: Get iPads, iPhones, Macbooks and more Apple gear for cheap

Kim says you should be cautious when considering Amazon mystery boxes

Kim said that when you start looking at surprise boxes, you never really know what you’ll get in them. Sure, the element of surprise can be exciting, but that rush you feel is quickly trumped by disappointment. The possibility of junk gadgets is too high to take the risk.

Kim advised Sharon to save her money and check out Donors Choose, an excellent resource for teachers who need books, cleaning supplies and more for their classrooms. Sharon already uses this resource but wouldn’t be able to use it to get the iPads she needed. That’s when Kim reminded her that she does a random act of kindness every now and then.

It was Sharon’s lucky day. Kim offered to buy two iPad Minis for the class so the kids could keep up their STEM lessons. She even sent a picture of the kids enjoying their new tech!

Instead of getting Amazon mystery boxes, Sharon's students got to enjoy a donation from Kim. Here they are using the gadgets in the classroom.
Let’s hope these gadgets inspire them to code more than ever before.

Hopefully, these gadgets will inspire them to continue coding into adulthood. As Kim said, “Who knows where they’ll be in 10 years?” Maybe they’ll create some of the most popular apps of the future!

Read more

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