ARLINGTON, Va. — May 10, 2023—Shell USA Inc. and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) today announced the grand-prize winners in the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge. The competition encouraged K–12 teachers who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences using limited school and laboratory resources to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package.
“We are excited about the opportunity to provide science resources for this year’s lab challenge winners. Their efforts to encourage students to be lifelong learners are demonstrated through creative instructional methods and an unwavering commitment to give their very best to their students—and the community, as they lead them to pursue science disciplines,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, VP, Shell USA Company Foundation, Director, Workforce Development Diversity Outreach. “We are so pleased to partner with teachers to support quality science education in the classroom.”
To enter the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge, K–12 science teachers located in select school districts near Shell USA Inc. assets were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why laboratory upgrade support is needed, and detail their approach to science education instruction using their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed and selected the top entries.
"The Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge winners represent the incredible science teachers working with our kids across the country," said NSTA President Elizabeth Mulkerrin, Ed.D. "These teachers have used their dedication and passion to create engaging science opportunities and take them to a new level. Each one of them strives to make sure all students are given the opportunity to experience science. We are extremely proud of the teachers selected this year."
2023 Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Grand-Prize Winners
Elementary Level: Arianna Martinez Moody
Harvey Brown Elementary School
Moody believes students learn best through a hands-on, technology-inclusive approach. Through this type of learning, students become engaged, have learning experiences that employ their senses, and understand science skills. Her students comprehend that science is part of their everyday lives.
Moody describes the state of her current science lab facilities, equipment, and resources as non- functional, and she finds it hard to teach the Next Generation Science Standards using the current lab. A lab upgrade would positively impact teaching schoolwide, providing resources to effectively deliver a science lesson to both general education students and those in special populations. Some of these needed resources would include science literature, STEM activities, materials, tools, and models for general elementary science. Moody believes that if her disadvantaged students had access to such resources, they could continue to increase their learning and love for science, as they would be able to do hands-on activities that make learning concrete. Her school needs an effective program, reliable and engaging online resources, and adequate lab equipment, so students can do investigations, record data, apply skills, and learn through a hands-on approach that includes STEM.
Middle Level: Jeffrey Gale
Fairmont Junior High School
Gale believes that all students must have a stimulating science education environment. Students learn science best, he contends, when conducting real-world investigations that are similar to their own experiences, which helps them make connections between their daily activities and science concepts. Gale’s students use hands-on activities to develop problem scenarios and experiment with issues that require critical thinking to find a solution to the overall problem. Many of his students are English Language Learners, with home languages ranging from Spanish to Vietnamese. Regardless of their primary language, students can connect their current knowledge of the world to what they’re learning and apply what they’ve learned.
The lab equipment and resources at Fairmont Junior High School are past their normal life span, and the equipment is incompatible with current devices. The classroom science lab lacks sufficient equipment to allow students to explore in groups, so the teacher is limited to demonstrations. With a lab equipment upgrade, students will be able to design, build, and conduct laboratory experiments, making them better equipped to analyze data and enhance their critical-thinking skills.
High School Level: Cecelia Gillam
Hahnville High School
Gillam believes that through scientific inquiry, students should seek answers to questions that arise during observations that they make every day. She aims to empower students to become critical thinkers both inside and outside of the classroom, so she gives students the space and tools needed to conduct hands-on experiments to make meaningful connections based on scientific data. She wants students to understand that science must be supported by evidence gained from research-based methods, so she uses the claims, evidence, and reasoning model in her teaching.
Gillam’s current lab facility needs a major upgrade and overhaul because most of the equipment is outdated and does not match the demands of the current science standards. She often has to conduct demonstrations because the lab lacks sufficient equipment for students to experiment in groups. A lab upgrade would give her the tools needed to continue teaching with a project-based, hands-on approach. For students to compete in this new scientific age, she believes it is imperative that they have modern tools. If they did, they could increase their problem-solving skills and be ready for postsecondary work at a four-year or two-year university, or for a career in the technical education field.
In addition to the school science lab makeover support package—valued at $15,000 (for the elementary winner) and $20,000 (for the middle level and high school–level winners)—each grand-prize winning teacher will receive an additional $5,000 of support to attend a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education.
The grand-prize winners and their principals were formally recognized for their achievement during an evening celebration that took place during the NSTA National Conference in Atlanta in March.
For more information about the Challenge, visit the competition website.
About Shell USA Inc.
Shell USA Inc. is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the United States, Shell USA Inc. operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.
FOR INQUIRIES, CONTACT Shell USA Inc. Media Line: 832-33-SHELL.
The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is a vibrant community of 40,000 science educators and professionals committed to best practices in teaching science and its impact on student learning. NSTA offers high quality science resources and continuous learning so that science educators grow professionally and excel in their career. For new and experienced teachers alike, the NSTA community offers the opportunity to network with like-minded peers at the national level, connect with mentors and leading researchers, and learn from the best in the field. For more information, visit www.nsta.org, or following NSTA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
# # #
Kate Falk, NSTA
Web SeminarScience Update: The Science of Oil Spill Response and Cleanup, September 28, 2023
Join us on Thursday, September 28, 2023, from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET, for an edition of NSTA’s Science Update. Major oil spills are rare, but...