Hutchens Elementary’s Julie Neidhardt has been named the elementary level grand prize winner of the 2019 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.
Neidhardt has established the NEST (Nurturing Engineering, Science, and Technology) science lab, where students come to experience hands-on, inquiry-based lessons. The NEST is unique because it is also a coaching model where teachers attend the science lab with their students to participate in job-embedded coaching to learn Next Generation Science Standards and practice science instruction.
Neidhardt is a National Board Certified Teacher and won the
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2016. She will be awarded a science lab makeover support package worth $10,000, as well as an additional $5,000 of support to attend the National Science Teachers Association’s national conference in April.
UPDATE: Two other MCPSS teachers have also been awarded NSTA grants through the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge. Aleta Stone of Burns Middle School won a $10,000 grant and Pamela Baker of Alma Bryant High School was awarded $15,000.
Stone emphasizes hands-on and inquiry-based learning in her classroom. She plans to use the funds to invest in more technology, including a virtual reality station, physical science lab kits, and drones.
“My goal for my classroom is to make sure my students foster curiosity and a love for learning,” she said. “I want to enable students to take ownership of their own learning.”
Baker, the head instructor for Alma Bryant’s Coastal Environmental Science Signature Academy, has developed a centers-based approach to learning in her program, which includes marine science and environmental management. She plans to use the award to buy saltwater tank systems, environmental lab kits, and digital microscopes.
“I believe that student engagement is the most important factor in student learning,”” she said. “Every day, my students participate in direct instruction, literacy, media, practice and hands-on learning centers.
“I am really excited for what this grant is going to mean for both my students and the coastal environmental science program.”
MCPSS congratulations all these exemplary teachers.