Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Announces 2022 Grand-Prize Winners

ARLINGTON, Va., May 10, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Shell USA Inc. and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) today announced the grand-prize winners in the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge. The competition encouraged K–12 teachers 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 support package.

“We are extremely proud of this year’s grand prize winners. Their innovative approaches, creative ideas, and unwavering commitment to give their very best to their students—and to the community, as they engage and motivate the STEM leaders of tomorrow—is commendable and inspiring,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Director, Shell Workforce Development & Diversity Outreach. “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to partner with teachers to help in furthering quality science education in the classroom.”

To enter the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge, K–12 science teachers located in select school districts near Shell USA Inc. assets were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why laboratory upgrade support is needed, 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.

“The Shell Science Regional Challenge grand-prize winners have displayed ingenuity, expertise, and professionalism well beyond ordinary expectations,” said NSTA President Eric Pyle. “NSTA honors their dedication to their students, colleagues, and the communities in which they serve.”

2022 Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Grand Prize Winners

Elementary School Level: Gwenevere Jones and Jennifer Murphy-Feagin
Craighead Elementary School
Mobile, Alabama

Jones’s teaching philosophy is that science is best taught through multisensory learning lessons. She believes hands-on learning is one of the most effective ways to teach science, and the teacher’s role should be that of 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 develop their own questions, then use these questions to design their experiment. Jones strives to increase students’ critical-thinking skills through the process of questioning. She notes that a lab upgrade gave students opportunities to experience science hands-on, and contends that 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. Jones adds that the upgrade gives students a front-row seat to experience STEM careers that will benefit them in the future.

Middle School Level: Samantha Mendenhall
Port Allen Middle School
Port Allen, Louisiana

Mendenhall believes students learn science better when lessons offer connections to the real world. In her classroom, she infuses many real-world examples and current events to support her students’ learning. Some of her classroom strategies include cooperative learning, inquiry-based learning, and technology in the classroom. Instruction always revolves around her students. She plans lessons with all of them in mind to ensure all students learn, and uses differentiation strategies to accomplish that. The update to her science lab has changed her science classroom, allowing her to add many materials and equipment, and increasing the quantity of certain materials so there are sufficient amounts for multiple use across campus. Mendenhall will use the grand-prize award to share with others the importance of STEM. She will inform other educators about 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 happening in her classroom can promote an awareness of STEM and the important connections that can be made.

High School Level: Jessica Thomas
Pecos High School
Pecos, Texas

Thomas maintains 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 varied 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 to eighth-grade students, a change that would enable 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 NSTA membership and website have enhanced 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 United States to discuss ideas and issues.

In addition to the school science lab makeover support package—valued at $10,000 (for the elementary and middle level winners) and $15,000 (for the high school level winner)—each grand-prize winning teacher will receive an additional $5,000 of support to attend a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education.

The grand-prize winners and their principals were formally recognized for their achievement during an award ceremony that took place during the NSTA National Conference in Houston, held earlier this month.

For more information about the Challenge, visit the competition website.

About Shell USA Inc.
Shell USA Inc. is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the US, Shell USA Inc. operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.

FOR INQUIRY CONTACT: Shell USA Inc. Media Line 832-33-SHELL

About NSTA
The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is a vibrant community of 40,000 science educators and professionals committed to best practices in teaching science and its impact on student learning. NSTA offers high-quality science resources and continuous learning so that science educators grow professionally and excel in their career. For new and experienced teachers alike, the NSTA community offers the opportunity to network with like-minded peers at the national level, connect with mentors and leading researchers, and learn from the best in the field.

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Kate Falk, NSTA
(703) 312-9211
[email protected]

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