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2022 Winners

Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge



“Science teachers who exhibit exemplary instructional methods and enthusiastically engage students in inquiry based practices improve student interest, achievement and pursuit of technical disciplines,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Director, Shell Workforce Development & Diversity Outreach “They promote core innovation skills - critical thinking, exploration and discovery – all needed for 21st century careers.”

Grand Prize Winners




Elementary Level

Gwenevere Jones
Jennifer Murphy-Feagin

Craighead Elementary School
Mobile, AL Mobile Asset

Gwenevere Jones’s teaching philosophy is that science is best taught through multisensory learning lessons. She believes that hands-on learning is one of the most effective ways to teach science. A teacher’s role should be as a guide, a facilitator, and to some degree a mentor. She uses a number of strategies to teach science including hands-on learning through experiments and having students design their own learning. Students design their own questions and then use these questions to design their experiment. Jones strives to increase students' critical-thinking skills through the process of questioning. A lab upgrade provided opportunities for students to experience science hands-on. Students need exposure to a lab that has the materials that allow them to conduct learning experiences, collect data, and extrapolate on the data conducted. This benefits them across the curriculum. The upgrade gives students a front row seat to experience STEM careers that will benefit them in the future.



Middle Level

Samantha Mendenhall

Port Allen Middle School
Port Allen, LA
Port Allen Asset

Samantha Mendenhall’s science teaching philosophy is that students learn science better when there are connections to the real world. In her classroom she infuses as many real-world examples and current events to support her students’ learning. Some of her classroom strategies include cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning, technology in the classroom, and more. Instruction always revolves around her students. She plans with all of them in mind to be sure all students learn, including using differentiation strategies. The update to her science lab has changed her science classroom. She’s added many materials and equipment, increasing the quantity of certain materials so that there’s enough for multiple use across campus. Mendenhall will use the grand prize award to share with others how STEM is key. She will bring awareness to how her classroom uses real-world situations to learn and understand content, making connections with students’ lives to explain important concepts. Sharing the meaningful learning going on in her classroom would promote the awareness of STEM and the important connections that can be made.



High School Level

Jessica Thomas

Pecos High School
Pecos, TX
Kermit Asset

Jessica Thomas feels strongly that most students learn best through a variety of activities, including a hands-on approach. As the facilitator of class projects, she expects students to explore and learn from their own experiences while she makes suggestions and provides feedback. Throughout these projects, students use different academic skills such as communicating, questioning, and evaluating their progress. Thomas’s school has been exploring the possibility of shifting its Principles of Applied Engineering classes down to the eighth-grade students. This change allows the school to offer even more advanced courses at the high school level. When this change is fully implemented, many project materials will be given to the middle school students. Those materials will need to be replaced at the high school level using grant funds. The award has helped Thomas completely transform her classroom. The updated workstations better allow students to work in large groups as well as store their project materials for the science lab. In addition, the National Science Teaching Association membership and website have improved her science teaching skills and helped her communicate with teachers in her subject area. Through her NSTA membership, she has connected with STEM teachers from all over the US to discuss ideas and issues.


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