Jeffrey Gale, a science teacher at Fairmont Junior High School in Pasadena, TX has been named a regional winner in the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge. Sponsored by Shell USA, Inc. and administered by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), the competition encouraged K-12 science teachers 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. Gale is one of 27 regional winners named, from which three grand prize winners will be selected.

Jeffrey Gale believes that all students must have a stimulating science education environment and that students learn science best when conducting real-world investigations. A large population of his students includes English Language Learners with home languages from Spanish to Vietnamese. To facilitate learning in the science classroom and academic language, science experiments are designed to be hands-on for the students to explore the problems they will encounter every day. Hands-on activities are used for students to develop problems and experiment with issues that require critical thinking to develop a solution to the overall problem. Regardless of the student’s primary language, students can tie their current knowledge of the world and apply it. The current lab equipment and resources at Fairmont Junior High have been used past their usable life span. Hands-on manipulatives are needed for students to build their knowledge and critical-thinking skills. Students are in need of updated laboratory equipment that can be used to explore and build their knowledge of science and engineering. With a lab equipment upgrade, students will be able to design, build, and conduct laboratory experiments. With these experiments, they will be better equipped to analyze data and build their critical-thinking skills.

“We are extremely proud of this year’s regional lab challenge winners. Their innovative approaches, creative ideas, and unwavering commitment to give their very best to their students—and to the community, as they engage and motivate the STEM leaders of tomorrow—is commendable and inspiring,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Director, Workforce Development and Diversity Outreach. “We are so pleased to have the opportunity to partner with teachers to help in furthering quality science education in the classroom.”

To enter the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge, K-12 science teachers located in select school districts near Shell assets were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why laboratory upgrade support is needed, 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. The regional winners each received a school science lab makeover support package valued at $10,000 (for the elementary and middle levels) and $15,000 (for the high school level).

“It is clear that these incredible educators’ tireless commitment to education and their focus on powerful science teaching has made a tremendous impact on the quality of learning and student engagement during an extremely challenging year,” said Erika Shugart, Ph.D., executive director, NSTA. “We applaud all of the regional winners for their resilience, ingenuity, and dedication to their students.”

Gale now advances to the national phase of the competition, where he will have a chance to win an additional $5,000 of support to attend a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education, where they will be honored during a special evening celebration.

For more information about the Challenge, visit the competition website at

About Shell USA, Inc.

Shell USA, Inc. is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with operations in more than 70 countries. In the U.S., Shell USA Inc. operates in 50 states and employs more than 20,000 people working to help tackle the challenges of the new energy future.

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About NSTA

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is a vibrant community of 40,000 science educators and professionals committed to best practices in teaching science and its impact on student learning. NSTA offers high quality science resources and continuous learning so that science educators grow professionally and excel in their career. For new and experienced teachers alike, the NSTA community offers the opportunity to network with like-minded peers at the national level, connect with mentors and leading researchers, and learn from the best in the field.