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STAT Member Named Regional Winner in NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge

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HOUSTON, Texas — April 21, 2011 — Bhavna Rawal, a science teacher at Northbrook High School in Houston, Texas, has been named a regional winner in NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge, a new competition for middle and high school science teachers. The Challenge 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. Rawal is one of 17 regional winners named, from which five national winners will be chosen, and from the national winners a grand prize winner will be selected.


Rawal’s principal praises her success in gaining funds for her school by writing grants, which have helped provide needed supplies for the chemistry labs. She has won several awards that provided her with experience she could bring back to her classroom. She also encourages her students to enter science competitions and supports them as they compete—and win. Her colleagues have appreciated her help and support in implementing inquiry-based lab activities in their classrooms.


“It’s truly inspiring to see teachers with such little resources coming up with innovative ways to provide high-quality lab experiences for their students,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director, NSTA. “We are tremendously proud of all of the regional winners. Their unique ideas and creative approaches to teaching science produce new awareness and ways for us all to bring about positive change in education.”


“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Shell Oil Company Manager, Social Investment. “Through the Shell Lab Challenge our aim is to support the inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science by doing. Exemplary science teaching is more effective when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”


To enter NSTA’s 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, Rawal and her school will receive donated science lab equipment or gift certificates, a grant to purchase additional science lab tools and resources, and a $300 gift certificate to the NSTA Bookstore. The school will also receive memberships to the NSTA and the NSTA Learning Center and paid registration for two teachers at the school to attend a NSTA conference.


NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge is part of a larger grant to the John Glenn Center for Science Education and the establishment of the Shell Leadership Institute. The Institute will work to further initiatives that promote diversity and research-based practices and will focus on national solutions to improve science education at the state, federal, and local levels. The Shell Leadership Institute will offer workshops, seminars (both face-to-face and online), and other highly visible initiatives.


For more information on NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge, go to


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 60,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.


About Shell

Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with 93,000 employees in more than 90 countries. In the U.S., we operate in 50 states and employ more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future. We are a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.