This is a press release from Shell & NSTA
March 21, 2016 — ARLINGTON, Va. (BUSINESS WIRE) | Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association today announced the grand prize winner and four national finalists in the sixth annual Shell Science Lab Challenge. The competition encouraged 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 valued at $20,000.
“Students with access to a safe lab environment to ask questions, explore, construct, test and interpret observations are more likely to cultivate skills that could motivate them to pursue science disciplines,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, VP Shell Oil Company Foundation and Manager of Social Investment. “The Shell Lab Challenge seeks to better equip high schools labs for quality outcomes, especially for science teachers who create innovative experiences for students despite limited lab environments.”
“We’re honored to be able to reward dynamic and captivating teachers who, by their example, inform and inspire others,” said Carolyn Hayes, NSTA President. “We applaud the grand prize winner and national finalists of the Shell Science Lab Challenge for their hard work, creative ideas, and dedication to their students’ education.”
To enter the Shell Science Lab Challenge, science teachers of grades 6–12 in the U.S. and Canada were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why the school’s laboratory facilities might be classified as “limited” resources, and describe their approach to science education instruction utilizing their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators reviewed and selected the top entries.
Grand Prize Winner
Alicia Conerly, science teacher, South Pike High School, Magnolia, MS
(Team members include: Deandra Johnson, Chander Jenkins, and Tony Richardson)
Alicia Conerly believes that science educators are individuals who can successfully bridge the gap between curriculum disciplines, incorporating all subject areas into one science question. Science courses with adequate hands-on resources and equipment is a necessity. An upgrade to the current lab at South Pike will enable students to perform science experiments to adequately test hypothesis, observe how science concepts are put into practice, and interact more directly with the natural world.
As the grand prize winner, Conerly will receive a science lab makeover support package for her school valued at $20,000. The prize package includes an $8,000 Shell cash grant, $8,000 in donated lab equipment, $1,000 in NSTA prizes—to include an NSTA bookstore gift certificate and NSTA conference registrations, NSTA memberships and NSTA Learning Center subscriptions for two teachers. Conerly also receives an expense-paid trip to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education to be held in Nashville March 31 through April 3.
Dr. Rene Corrales, science teacher, STAR Academic Center, Tucson, AZ
Rene Corrales motivates students by first exposing them to hands-on experiences that lead to inquiry questions. His students maintain an interactive notebook of mini-lessons and problem-solving strategies, along with experimental objectives, methods, results, analysis, and interpretation. To develop competitive science programs, he needs improved laboratory resources that can lead to advanced science learning and help students achieve their competitive science learning goals.
Catherine Krygeris, science teacher, Mardela Middle/High School, Mardela Springs, MD
In Catherine Krygeris’s class, students enthusiastically participate in labs, request to do them daily, and show increased content understanding. A lab upgrade will allow Krygeris to extend scientific explorations and give students more freedom to choose variables and understand scientific systems. An update will also provide students with more opportunities to use technology to analyze data and share results online. Rather than relying on class demonstrations, her goal is to put materials into students’ hands to support inquiry-based science learning.
Petra McCullough, science teacher, Sunset School, Oak View, CA
Petra McCullough is a facilitator for her students, allowing their imagination and creativity to lead their learning and discovery. To overcome the shortage of lab materials, she takes students on walking field trips around campus to explore weather and climate. Without a science lab on campus, few experiments are possible in classrooms. A laboratory upgrade will enable students to develop and use models, plan and carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, and construct explanations and design solutions in an authentic lab setting using the appropriate laboratory tools.
Roy “Jay” Renfro, science teacher, Knowledge Academies, Antioch, TN
Teachers at Knowledge Academies use engineering challenges and inquiry-based investigations to teach science. Students in the engineering class build wind turbines, and other students practice comparative anatomy through animal dissection. Currently, the school lacks a functioning science lab and specialized, curriculum-based materials. Even with limited materials, teachers continue to engage students in high-level science learning. More equipment and resources would help teachers work towards new standards that emphasize the use of labs and investigations to prepare students for future STEM careers.
The four national finalists will each receive a science lab makeover support package for their school valued at $8,500. The prize package includes a $3,000 Shell cash grant, $3,000 in donated lab equipment, $1,000 in NSTA prizes—to include an NSTA bookstore gift certificate and NSTA conference registrations, NSTA memberships and NSTA Learning Center subscriptions for two teachers. The national finalists also receive an expense-paid trip to attend the NSTA National Conference.
Ward’s Science is also supporting the Shell Science Lab Challenge by providing equipment to the winners.
Recognizing that the laboratory experience is integral to science education and that many schools, especially schools in urban and rural areas, do not have the resources to invest in quality lab equipment, NSTA and Shell partnered on the Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada. For more information about the Challenge, visit the competition web site.
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 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
About Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with 93,000 employees in more than 90 countries. In the U.S., Shell operates in 50 states and employs nearly 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future. Shell Oil Company is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology, and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers, and petrochemical manufacturers.