Newport teacher wins $8500 for school science lab makeover | News
ARLINGTON, VA (FOX19) - The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all, in partnership with Shell Oil Company, announced today the four national finalists and grand prize winner in the first-ever NSTA 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.
Grand Prize Winner: Andrew Goodin, Soldan International Studies High School, St. Louis, Mo.
Goodin continually pursues outside resources to enhance his students’ educational experiences. In addition to paying for materials out of his own pocket, he has written and received grants and formed partnerships with a university and other scientific organizations. When possible, Goodin uses simulations and microchemistry to conserve available chemicals and household products to substitute for them. Student performance in his chemistry course has improved drastically with the incorporation of project-based learning that emphasizes work in the laboratory. He has developed a curriculum focusing on the real-world aspects of chemistry that includes crime-scene investigation and manufacturing and testing soap—activities that students enjoy doing and that encourage them to study chemistry in college.
National Finalist: Michael Barker, Newport High School, Newport, Ky.
Barker and his colleagues carefully plan lab activities to make the most of the limited materials available. Barker has developed The $ Store Lab, which uses “dollar-store” and free materials and cobbled-together odds and ends to create meaningful experiments focused on physics concepts and principles. As part of their journey to becoming independent problem solvers, he challenges students to create their own low-cost experiments.
National Finalist: Jason Crean, Lyons Township High School, Western Springs, Ill.
Crean has designed a curriculum that uses segments of actual research projects from the Conservation Science Department at the Chicago Zoological Society. Each activity was written to apply real data to a question and illustrate commonly used analysis techniques without the need for expensive equipment. This program introduces students to the scientists from around the world who engage in this conservation research via different forms of media. Crean incorporates actual data from science labs outside the school and uses it in his classes. He arranges for some students to volunteer in a conservation genetics lab and aid in the actual research themselves.
National Finalist: Corey Dornack, Lincoln K-8 Choice School, Rochester, Minn.
Dornack has trained nearly 100 elementary and middle school teachers and has worked with scientific researchers to create an engaging science program despite limited supplies, materials, and lab equipment. He and his colleagues have written and obtained several grants to increase the supply of materials, and by having his students work in teams, he is able to decrease the amount of equipment and supplies needed. He also borrows equipment whenever possible and takes his students to places like the Mayo Clinic so they can get more research experience. The results have been positive, as Lincoln students have excelled on state standard tests and student participation in science fairs and registration for honors biology in high school has more than tripled.
National Finalist: John Munro, Highroad Academy in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada
Munro and his colleagues use a mobile lab cart in their classrooms because only smaller classes can be accommodated in a 20-seat science lab. They rework middle school labs to avoid the need for gas outlets or sinks, perform labs in shifts, and make their own equipment from inexpensive materials. Other strategies include shopping at garage sales and approaching other schools for excess inventory. To ensure science happens at their school, they network, share ideas, are flexible with lab access, and supply materials to the elementary grades that do not have even basic science equipment. The workshops they hold help inform teachers at other schools about their strategies.
“These science teachers have implemented truly remarkable science programs, providing quality lab experiences for their students with very little resources,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director, NSTA. “We commend the winners of the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge for their creativity, resourcefulness and commitment to their students.”
“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 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.”
As the grand prize winner, Goodin will receive a science lab makeover support package for their 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—and $3,000 in sponsored trips to the NSTA National Conference on Science Education.
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—and $1,500 in sponsored trips to the NSTA National Conference on Science Education.
To enter the NSTA 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 then reviewed the entries and selected 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 NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada.
The NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge is part of a larger grant to the John Glenn Center for Science Education and the establishment of the Shell Leadership Institute. The Institute will work to further initiatives that promote diversity and research-based practices and will focus on national solutions to improve science education at the state, federal, and local levels. The Shell Leadership Institute will offer workshops, seminars (both face-to-face and online), and other highly visible initiatives.
For more information on the NSTA Shell Science Lab Challenge, go to http://www.nsta.org/shellsciencelab/.
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