NIH Develops a Program to Encourage Science in Schools around the Country
The NIH K–12 LAB Challenge is a call to the nation to help the NIH bring engaging hands-on science into the classroom — so everyone can enjoy doing science! The NIH is asking people to send their best experiments for kindergarten through 12th-grade classrooms.
Akinso: The National Institutes of Health has developed a program geared to promote science in classrooms.
Easter: The official name is the NIH K-12 Lab Challenge.
Akinso: Dr. Carla Easter is a science education specialist at the NIH.
Easter: This is a program that we’ve been working on for the past couple of months to encourage the public to provide their best on hands on experiments that folks on K-12 education, so that we can collect these. And basically hand them out to anybody who’s interested in having them free of charge. So they’ll be available in written form and also on a website as well.
Akinso: Individuals submitting experiments must be at least 13 years old. The entry deadline is December 1, 2011, 11:59 p.m. CST. Dr. Easter explains the process and requirements of this program.
Easter: So the requirements are very simple. We are looking for individuals who are within the United States, who can provide us with these actual activities. And we have a website which basically has all of the information that one would need for the challenge. So they can find all of the relevant information on how to enter and the requirements along with a fun video that gives an overview of the challenge as well.
Akinso: A panel of classroom teachers, students, scientists, and NIH science education personnel will select the winners.
Easter: The way winners are selected is that we have a wonderful group of judges who run the gamut from educators to scientists around the country, who will take these written proposals that people will have sent to us. And we’ll actually go through them. And we have a rubric which you can also find at the website that gives you a sense of exactly what we’re looking for in the challenge. Once the activities have been judged and deemed the best ones, we will then provide the winners with an electronic badge—which they can put on their website or their facebook page.
Akinso: The winning procedures will be announced March 1, 2012. The winning submissions will be available for free in print, online, and on mobile devices from the NIH Office of Science Education Web site. If you are interested in submitting an experiment, just visit www.science.education.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the NIH, Bethesda, Maryland.