News Release

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NIH challenges public to help bring discovery into the classroom

Competition inspired by the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act and President Obama’s Educate to Innovate Campaign.

A new competition seeks to bring hands-on science into classrooms nationwide. The National Institutes of Health’s K-12 Lessons About Bioscience (LAB) Challenge asks teachers, students, parents, scientists, and science enthusiasts to submit their favorite experiments for elementary, middle, and high school students. The best experiments will become part of an official collection that NIH will distribute for free in print and electronically. Your experiment could become part of this collection and help students everywhere experience the discovery of science!

"I’ve seen teachers across the country doing engaging and inspired experiments to get across ideas about science," says Bruce Fuchs, Ph.D., director of the NIH Office of Science Education. "Unfortunately, I also know that some science teachers read textbooks aloud to their students for entire class periods. If those teachers had easy access to inexpensive, simple experiments, I bet our kids could be learning more, enjoying science more, and even choosing careers in science."

Experiments form the basis of scientific inquiry but aren’t used often enough in the K-12 science classroom because of expense, complexity, or time issues. The NIH K-12 LAB Challenge seeks to address these problems by identifying experiments that are engaging and inexpensive to do.

The NIH goal is to identify hands-on experiments that:

  • are geared toward grades K-12
  • use safe, easily available, inexpensive materials
  • take 90 minutes or less of in-class time
  • have at least one clear learning objective tied to science standards
  • are related to health and life science, the NIH mission

The challenge is open to any resident of the United States or a U.S. territory. The entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2012. Details are at

Help NIH bring engaging and inexpensive experiments into the classroom so everyone can enjoy doing science. Submit your favorite experiments today.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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