Rene Corrales, a science teacher at STAR Academic Center in Tucson, has been named a district 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.
Corrales is one of 18 district winners named, from which five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.
Dr. René Corrales is a graduate of Sunnyside High School in Tucson, AZ. He earned his scientiae baccalaureus (SB) degree in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and both his masters of science (MS) in chemistry and his doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in chemical physics from the University of California, San Diego. He was also a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.Currently, he is on track to earn his masters of education (MEd) degree from the University of Arizona South.
After having had a distinguished career at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a chief research scientist and as a faculty member in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Arizona, he has chosen to tackle the immediate problem of improving STEM instruction in K-12 education.
“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.”
“I am amazed by the resourcefulness and creativity of these teachers, who with little funding and resources have developed innovative educational techniques, while continuing to deliver inspiring, high-quality lab experiences to their students,” said Dr. David Evans, Executive Director, NSTA. “We congratulate the district winners on their accomplishments and wish them luck in the next phase of the competition.”
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 district winner, each teacher and their school will receive a $3,000 science lab prize package that includes:
- $1,000 Shell grant to purchase lab equipment and other science education resources;
- $1,000 in donated science lab equipment from Ward’s Science;
- $300 gift certificate to the NSTA Science Store;
- One year NSTA membership for two teachers;
- NSTA Learning Center subscription for two teachers; and
- Paid registration for two teachers to attend a 2016 NSTA Area Conference on Science Education.
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 NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge to bring much needed lab materials and resources to school districts nationwide and in Canada. Announcement of the national finalists and grand prize winners will be on Monday, March 21, 2016.
To view the list of 2016 Shell Science Lab Challenge District Winners and for more information about the Challenge, visit the competition web site.
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 approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.
About Shell Oil Company
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