Idaho Science Teacher Named Regional Winner in the Shell Science Lab Challenge
18 Regional Winners Competing For Up To $93,000 in Prizes, Including a $20,000 School Science Lab Makeover
CRAIGMONT, Idaho — February 28, 2013 — Merrie Rampy, a science teacher at Highland High School in Craigmont, Idaho, has been named a regional winner in the Shell Science Lab Challenge, a competition for middle and high school science teachers. Sponsored by the Shell Oil Company and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the competition encouraged teachers (grades 6-12), 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 valued at $20,000. Rampy is one of 18 regional winners named, from which five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.
Highland’s principal says she has seen Rampy “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.
“We are truly amazed by the regional winners’ ingenuity,” said Dr. David Evans, Executive Director, NSTA. “These science educators—with limited resources and funding—have come up with some incredible ideas and creative approaches to providing high-quality lab experiences for their students.”
“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.”
To enter the Shell Science Lab Challenge, science teachers of grades 6-12 in the United States 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.
As a regional winner, each teacher and their school will receive science lab equipment, Shell cash grants, membership to the NSTA, and support to attend an NSTA conference. VWR is also supporting the Shell Science Lab Challenge by providing equipment to the winners.
For more information about the Challenge, visit http://www.nsta.org/shellsciencelab/.