Arlington, Va., - Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association today announced the grand prize winner and four national finalists in the second 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.
National Finalist: Denise Ponte and Joseph Mastroeni, Roy W. Brown Middle School, Bergenfield, N.J.
Ponte and Mastroeni share room 237 at Roy W. Brown Middle School, teaching 300 seventh and eighth graders Earth science, physics, and life science. The classroom was last updated in the late 1960s, when new lab tables were installed. Despite the outdated facility, Ponte and Mastroeni work to connect science lessons to their students’ lives using project-based lessons, creating opportunities for students to explore their world and participate in investigations, collecting data and developing critical-thinking skills. They hope that by updating the lab it will allow them to conduct more self-directed investigations and provide more collaborative learning opportunities for their students while including students with disabilities and English language learners.
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 an expense-paid trip for one teacher to attend the 2012 NSTA National Conference on Science Education.