Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
H. Marie Lemon, a sixth and seventh grade science teacher at Greenville Early College (GEC), has been named a district winner and a National Finalist 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.
Marie Lemon takes an inquiry-based approach to build on the inquisitive nature of her middle school students. By using their curiosity and prior experiences to engage them, she is teaching them how to think through problems and solutions while helping them realize that they science does not have to be intimidating—in fact, they often “do” science at home.
To make the most of what she has in the classroom, Lemon cycles students through stations and supplements her supplies with items purchased from her own funds. She brings in variety of materials from home, including plants and science equipment to ensure her students have a variety of experiences to spark their interest in science. By making her classroom a safe environment for exploration, Lemon encourages her students to go beyond what they thought they could do.
“The Shell Grant will enable the purchase of lab equipment, project kits, and other resources needed to augment the current science curriculum and facilitate student participation in project-based activities,” said Mrs. Lemon.” GEC projects focus on allowing students to make connections between science and technology. The resources from the grant will provide more collaborative opportunities for hands-on activities to enhance science instruction and maintain students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.”
GEC is located at the University Center. While well equipped with classrooms, the school’s space lacks a science lab. The school’s science equipment is limited to two microscopes, a triple beam balance, and some supplies. “Mrs. Lemon works hard each day to bring science to life for her students,” said Greenville Early College Principal Tiffany Estes. “She utilizes different approaches to ensure that students have the opportunity to participate in science activities with limited resources and facilities.”
As a National Finalist, Ms. Lemon will receive a prize package valued at $8,500 for the school’s science lab, which consists of the following:
- A $3,000 gift certificate from Ward’s Science
- $300 NSTA Science Store gift certificate
- A complimentary 1-year NSTA membership
- A 1-year subscription to the NSTA Learning Center
- A Shell Science Lab Challenge cash grant in the amount of $3,000
- A Shell Science Lab Challenge National Finalist banner
- As a National Finalist, Ms. Lemon will receive an expense-paid trip to attend the 2015 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Chicago March 12-15, 2015
- Recognition at the Shell Reception and NSTA Teacher Awards Gala