Shell Science Lab Challenge Announces 2013 Grand Prize Winner and National Finalists

  Shell Science Lab Challenge Announces 2013 Grand Prize Winner and National

    National Competition Honors Science Teachers for Developing Innovative
   Approaches to Providing Quality Lab Experiences to Students with Limited
                               School Resources

NSTA 2013

Business Wire

ARLINGTON, Va. -- March 20, 2013

Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association today
announced the grand prize winner and four national finalists in the third
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.

“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for
encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Vice
President, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Manager, Social Investment. “The
Shell Science Lab Challenge strives to support inquiry-based instructional
practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and
possibilities of science through active learning that emphasizes questioning,
data analysis, and critical thinking. Exemplary science teaching is more
relevant when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts
can be explored by students.”

“These science teachers have implemented some remarkable science programs,
providing quality lab experiences for their students with few resources,” said
Dr. David Evans, Executive Director, NSTA. “We commend the winner and national
finalists of the Shell Science Lab Challenge for their creativity,
resourcefulness and commitment to their students.”

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 then reviewed and selected the top entries.

Grand Prize Winner: Merrie Rampy, Highland High School, Craigmont, Idaho

  *Rampy’s principal says she has seen her “take our basic middle and high
    school science program and change it to a rigorous and exciting place for
    students to learn about all of the possibilities science has to
    offer…Other teachers have observed her excitement about her subject area
    and the improvements she wanted to bring to her program, and in turn,
    improve their own programs. Our high school has moved from ‘let's get
    these students to graduate' to ‘let’s ensure all of our students can reach
    their educational and life goals, including attending a four-year
    college…’ Our students believe it is cool to be a science nerd."

The only thing holding Rampy back from having an exceptional program is the
antiquated science lab in her rural school. The lack of funding for quality
equipment and materials has prevented students from experiencing the
sophisticated labs that would prepare them for scientific careers. Despite the
limitations, Rampy continues to provide high-quality learning experiences for
her students.

National Finalist: Joyce Corriere and Elizabeth Ciancio, Hampton High School,
Hampton, Va.

  *As the oldest of four high schools in the area, Hampton High School’s
    science classrooms have  not been renovated for several years and lack
    many essentials. The classrooms have no working safety shower or eyewash
    station for the chemistry classes, for example, and lack sufficient
    chemicals. With a budget of only $300 per teacher per year that must pay
    for equipment for three science classes, Corriere and Ciancio must seek
    creative ways to meet their students’ needs. So their students use a
    virtual online lab bench to test their experiments.

Corriere and Ciancio would like to have the chemistry classrooms fully
renovated to support not only lab safety, but also more effective teaching for
all, focused on inquiry, collaboration, and project-based learning. Their
vision is to integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
(STEM) and to have students work in teams on challenging experiments.

National Finalist: Sally Austin Hundley, Bethel Middle School, Waynesville,

  *It is beyond the measure and scope of the budget of Hundley’s small, rural
    school to overhaul the science lab’s facilities, and the surrounding rural
    area does not provide students with cultural opportunities for enrichment.
    Despite this, Hundley has persevered in bringing grant funding to her
    school and has created courses at each grade level that magnify student
    interest in, understanding of, and selection of STEM courses in the
    future. She uses best practices and strategies such as teaming and
    student-centered learning, which have enabled her students to succeed at
    projects—such as creating and programming robots—that would typically
    require many more resources. Allowing students to bring their own devices
    to class lets them create the methodology for their lab, and results in
    better understanding of the data created.

National Finalist: Cathleen Tinder, Sebastian Charter Junior High, Sebastian,

  *Tinder, who also is a Lockheed Martin-NSTA Fellow in the NSTA New Science
    Teacher Academy this year, conducts an activities-based program without a
    science lab. She functions with minimal classroom space on regular student
    desks to do experiments with limited and outdated resources, and sometimes
    has had to move her classes to the school cafeteria to have access to a
    working sink and sufficient room to do lab stations. Due to staff and
    student expansion, even that opportunity will no longer be an option.

Despite this, Tinder continually seeks integration of inquiry, STEM, and
real-world applications of science in the classroom through professional
development and collaboration with colleagues. Tinder also takes advantage of
online resources whenever possible. As a result of her efforts, her students
have continued to thrive and some have even gone on to win regional and state
awards at science fairs.

National Finalist: Rachel Willcutts, IDEA Frontier College Prep, Brownsville,

  *At Willcutts’ school, middle level science teachers teach in portables and
    have no lab facilities. They push desks together to form tables when
    conducting experiments. They have no running water, no place to store
    equipment, and no equipment of their own. Materials and equipment are
    scarce, and they barely have enough glassware for one class. Advanced
    placement science classes are especially difficult to teach under these

Because Willcutts and her colleagues believe access to high-quality science
educational experiences help prepare students for 21st-century scientific
careers—which in turn helps the entire Rio Grande Valley, a community
desperately in need of more STEM professionals—teachers make do with what they
have and incorporate inquiry-based, student-directed labs into their

As the grand prize winner, Rampy 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—and
an expense-paid trip for two teachers to attend the 2013 NSTA National
Conference on Science Education in San Antonio next month.

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 2013 NSTA National
Conference on Science Education in San Antonio.

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.

About NSTA

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 more than 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors,
administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others
involved in science education.

About Shell Oil Company

Shell’s commitment to community and social responsibility has been in place
for more than 50 years. During this time, we have contributed more than a
billion dollars to support community, health and welfare, environmental, arts
and cultural activities, various educational initiatives, including minority
education, and diversity and inclusiveness programs in Houston and the U.S.

FOR INQUIRIES CONTACT: Shell Oil Company Media Line +1 (713) 241- 4544

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Kate Falk, 703-312-9211
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