Beaver County teachers win Shell’s science lab challenge – The Times

Beaver County educators will receive grant funding from Shell to upgrade their classroom science labs.

Three Beaver County educators will receive grant funding to upgrade their schools’ science labs. 

Karen Medved, of Riverside Elementary School; Craig Whipkey, of Central Valley High School; and Michael Benedum, of Rochester High School, are regional winners of the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge.

High school teachers winning the challenge are awarded $15,000, while elementary school teachers win $10,000 for science lab makeovers.

Sponsored by Shell and administered by the National Science Teaching Association, K-12 science teachers located in school districts near company properties were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why laboratory upgrade support is needed and describe their approach to teaching science. 

“During an unbelievably challenging and unprecedented year, these amazing educators went above and beyond to teach and engage their students in science. I am inspired by their resilience and resourcefulness,” said Elizabeth Allan, NSTA retiring president. 

Medved said the funding would improve content knowledge across her school’s fourth-grade curriculum and is instrumental in Whipkey’s new “kinesthetic, concrete-sequential learner” teaching style.  Whipkey wants students to experience science relative to their lives, he said.  

Benedum uses hands-on, interactive experiences to engage students in scientific thinking and problem solving, he said, working to create a class of thinkers, problem solvers, inventors and creators. 

“It is exciting to support modernizing school science labs for our future generations,” said Bill Watson, general manager of Shell Polymers’ petrochemical facility in Potter Township. “…Equipping students with better analytical skills, more enrichment opportunities and experiential lab activities will benefit them in their education and personal lives. 

The teachers now advance to the national phase of the competition for a chance to win an additional $5,000 of support to attend a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education.

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