Awards and Recognition Program
Recognizing Excellence in Science Teaching and Learning
NSTA Awards recognize exceptional individuals for their accomplishments and outstanding work in the science education field.
Thanks to our generous sponsors, more than $72,000 in cash and prizes is available yearly.
Submission Deadline: December 21
Honors a female student in grades 5–8 with a strong connection to science
This award honors one female student in grades 5–8, who is involved in or has a strong connection to science. The award has been established in honor of Gerry Wheeler, Executive Director Emeritus, and his outstanding dedication to NSTA and lifelong commitment to science education.
Eligibility: Any female student in grades 5–8 who is a resident of the United States, US Territories, or Canada, and is enrolled in full time public, private, or home school. NSTA employees, NSTA Board and Council members, award judges, and their immediate families are NOT eligible to apply.
Award: $500 cash award. The awardee will be honored at a private ceremony arranged in conjunction with the student's school and faculty.
Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers
Provides teachers in their first five years of teaching with funds to attend the annual National Conference on Science Education
This award honors NSTA members who are teachers that have made extraordinary contributions to the field of science teaching.
Eligibility:To be eligible, a teacher must have taught less than five years full-time at the time of application and be an NSTA member in good standing. To the extent possible, recipients must have been a student member of NSTA as a preservice teacher.
Award:The award consists of up to $1,000 to be used to attend the annual National Conference. Recipients will be invited to attend a variety of workshops and presentations that are of particular interest to new teachers at the annual National Conference.
Robert E. Yager Exemplary Teaching Award
Recognizes teachers who successfully use innovation and excellence in their classroom
The Robert E. Yager Exemplary Teaching Award will recognize six (6) full-time K–12 teachers of science who successfully use innovation and excellence in their classroom.
Eligibility: K–12 science teachers residing in NSTA's districts.
Award: $1,000 towards expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education, and $1,000 for the awardee. Six awardees will be selected annually. They will present at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education. The awardees will be invited to attend and present at their grade band share-a-thon at the National Conference, attend the district director meet-and-greet, attend and participate in their NSTA District Director Leadership retreat. The awardee will be presented the award at the Teacher Awards Event at the National Conference.
This award recognizes one outstanding classroom science teacher (K–12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and community through exemplary classroom science teaching.
Eligibility: K–12 classroom science teachers
Award: $10,000 and an all-expense paid trip to attend NSTA’s National Conference; two finalists will also receive all-expense-paid trips to the conference
Teachers can register for the free web seminar for the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge here:
Teachers can register for the free webseminar for the Shell Awards here:
See also: Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge »
Archived web seminar: Developing a Competitive Application for the Shell Science Teaching Award (2016.12.07)
Archived web seminar: Developing a Competitive Application for the Shell Science Teaching Award (2014.10.15)
Archived web seminar: Developing a Competitive Application for the Shell Science Teaching Award (2012.09.26)
Joel Truesdell writes:
My life since winning the 2017 Shell National Teachers Association Teacher of the Year Award has been even more exciting than usual. Winning the award has taken my dream of customizing the curriculum to the culture and world of each student to more of a reality. Our administration has offered me a position that would allow me to stay in the classroom while presenting and mentoring the science teachers on our three campuses, our pre-schools and Native Hawaiian School network of charter schools. In addition to this opportunity, I will continue to train public school teachers during weekends, fall and spring breaks and summers. I pretty much have Hawai`i covered!
But the impact goes far beyond Hawai`i. After the award was announced, I sent several of Page Keeley's books on formative assessment along with Laura Trout's book on Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) for High School Biology to the science teachers at Tuba City High School in Tuba City Arizona. The campus boarders the Navajo and Hopi reservation. After I presented on their campus last October, the teachers had mixed feelings about culture based instruction. After the news spread that I had won the award, the science teachers have embraced the method!
I plan to use some the $10,000 to return to Tuba City and put on a workshop that will include interested teachers from other Northern Arizona schools. The outreach extended beyond the United States when we used some of the money from to the award to travel to Eldoret, Kenya, to train teachers in a school for homeless street kids. We helped them adapt the very traditional lecture lessons into the culture of the students. It was incredibly rewarding to help this school transition into a dynamic educational institution. It will be an ongoing mission for a number of years. The most recent impact was during a presentation at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Toronto, where I presented my methods to 100+ people from all over the world. When we got to the slide indicating that I had won the award, there was a thunderous ovation. Then Dr. Walter Kahumoku, who interviewed with the Shell Visiting Committee, got up to speak about the award and the impact that I am having on changing the teaching of the Hawaiian Youth, the result was another thundering ovation.
The Shell gift to indigenous science education is really just beginning since it has only been 4 months!
This award provides support to seven diverse educators in pursuit of professional development, and serves to increase the science educator talent pool of minority educators to meet the education work force challenge of the future.
Eligibility: K–12 classroom science teachers in an urban setting. Classroom science teachers at the elementary, middle or high school level who are part of underrepresented ethnic groups are eligible
Award: $1,800 to be used to attend the annual NSTA National Conference on Science Education. Recipients will be invited to attend a variety of workshops and presentations that are of particular interest to urban teachers at the annual National Conference.
Sylvia Shugrue Award for Elementary School Teachers
Honors an elementary school teacher who has established an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based lesson plan
This award honors one elementary school teacher who has established (or is establishing) an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based lesson plan. The lesson plan will fully reference sources of information and any relevant National Science Education Standards and benchmarks found in the Atlas of Science Literacy.
Eligibility: Elementary school teachers (grades K–6); applicants must be a full-time teacher with a minimum of five years of experience
Award: The award consists of $1,000 and up to $500 to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education; the recipient of the award will be honored during the Awards Event at the NSTA Conference.