ARLINGTON, Va., August 7, 2012—The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all, is now accepting entries for the third annual Shell Science Lab Challenge. The competition encourages teachers (grades 6–12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. The deadline for entries is November 12, 2012.
“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Shell Oil Company Manager, Social Investment. “Through the Shell Science Lab Challenge our aim is to support the inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science by doing. Exemplary science teaching is more effective when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”
“By the time students enter middle school, they have already reached a critical age to embrace the world of science through inquiry-based learning opportunities. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, several schools are not able to equip their science classrooms with up-to-date equipment and materials, leaving the laboratory experiences for students less than adequate,” said Dr. Gerry Wheeler, interim executive director, NSTA. “The Shell Science Lab Challenge not only provides teachers with the tools and resources necessary to strengthen their existing lab capabilities, but will also provide the professional development opportunities needed to support high-quality science teaching and learning.”
Entries will be judged on the basis of several criteria, including demonstrated science inquiry and innovation in the middle or high school classroom with limited laboratory equipment, materials, and resources; demonstrated impact and engagement with students and the school community; and demonstrated need for support to improve science laboratory experiences. Fifty-four regional finalists will be selected and asked to create a 3–5 minute video that displays the school’s current science laboratory facilities and provides further explanation of how winning equipment and resources would make a difference in their science teaching and in the learning experience for students. The judging panel will then review the regional finalist submissions and select 18 regional winners. Of the 18 winners, five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.
All winners will receive science lab equipment, Shell cash grants, membership to the NSTA, and support to attend NSTA Conferences on Science Education. VWR is also supporting the Shell Science Lab Challenge by providing equipment to the winners.
The grand prize winner and four national finalists will be honored at a special banquet and ceremony at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education in San Antonio in April 2013.
For more information about the Challenge or to download an application, visit http://www.nsta.org/shellsciencelab/.
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes approximately 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
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Shell’s commitment to community and social responsibility has been in place for more than 50 years. During this time, we have contributed more than a billion dollars to support community, health and welfare, environmental, arts and cultural activities, various educational initiatives, including minority education, and diversity and inclusiveness programs in Houston and the U.S.
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Kate Falk, NSTA