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LAB Challenge


By: Cindy, Cynthia | March 1 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers


NIH K-12 LAB Challenge Winners BadgeNIH announces the first set of LAB Challenge winners; expect more to come!

Today we are excited to announce the first group of winners of the NIH K–12 Lessons About Bioscience (LAB) Challenge. Yes, you read that right. This is the first batch of winners, so don't panic if you don't see your name yet. We received so many great, prize-winning entries that we’re announcing the winners in phases. You could be a winner in the next batch, to be announced April 1st.

You may wonder if the first batch of winners is somehow better than the next one. The answer is no, not at all. It’s just that these were the first ones we processed and identified as winners.

These 28 winning entries are from 60 individual participants. Our youngest participant was 6 years old, and we had a submission from a team that included a Vanderbilt University student, a faculty member, and an emeritus professor. Of the winning procedures, 12 targeted elementary grades and 16 were for middle and high school. It was a nice surprise to see that at least 12 of the winners were original creations, and another 12 were modified from existing sources. Winners come from across the United States, including California, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Puerto Rico.

All of the winners (no matter from which batch) and their experiment procedures will be compiled into a publication that will be free to everyone. This publication will also be published in phases, as each procedure is processed and edited for style and format. We will keep you posted on when they become available, and you can check our Web site for this and other updates any time.

Congratulations to our winners (so far)! Please stay tuned for news of more winners.

About the Challenge

The challenge—developed by the trans-NIH Science Education Resources Group (SERG) and published on the Challenge.gov Web site—was a national call-to-action asking individuals, groups, organizations, and scientists to submit procedures for engaging, hands-on health and life science experiments for grades K–12. Submission guidelines required that the activities should: (1) be geared toward grades K–12; (2) use safe, easily available, and inexpensive materials; (3) take 90 minutes (or less) of in-class time; (4) have at least one clear learning objective; and (5) be related to the NIH mission. Submissions were accepted from June 1 to December 15, 2011, and a panel of educators and NIH scientists are selecting the top entries. The winners receive an electronic NIH K-12 LAB Challenge Winner’s badge and will be listed with their experimental procedures in a final free publication.
By: Cynthia | January 26 2012 | Category: NIH Resources, Science Lite, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers


NIH LAB Challenge LogoThe Office of Science Education begins to review submissions to the NIH LAB Challenge

When we issued the NIH Lessons About Bioscience Challenge, we had no idea how many submissions we’d get. After all, it was our first online challenge and the first of its kind at the new Challenge.gov site. We wondered whether it was too broad, or too narrow. Were our instructions clear? Would submitters understand that we wanted an experimental procedure rather than a write-up of a completed research project? It looks like we did a pretty good job, because most entries were right on target.

We received more than 100 submissions from 20 states and Puerto Rico by the December 15 deadline. People heard about the challenge mainly through word of mouth and email listservs, and some cited Twitter and Challenge.gov as their source. The experiments cover a wide range of topics, from osmosis in chicken eggs to dragon genetics, and they target all grade levels.

Right now, we’re using a rubric to check that each submission meets our basic requirements. The ones that do will move on to the next phase. Some will be tested, and others will be reviewed by teachers and scientists before we announce the winners in March.

We want to send a hearty thank you to our several hundred submitters (most entries were by more than one person). We appreciate your efforts to help us bring the best science experiments to classrooms across the country. Stay tuned for updates!

The Numbers

Number of submissions: 108

How submitters heard about the challenge: Challenge.gov, 10; Twitter, 5; word of mouth, 33; other, 60
 
Geographic origin: Texas ,39; Maryland, 26; California, 6; Maine, 4; Colorado, 3; Iowa, 3; North Dakota, 3; Massachusetts, 2; Missouri, 2; Ohio, 2; Pennsylvania, 2; Tennessee, 2; Virginia, 2; and Puerto Rico, 2; and 1 each from Arizona, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington (105 entries identified their state)
 
Targeted grade level of experiment: elementary grades K to 5, 42 (45%), middle school grades 5 to 8, 26 (28%), middle and high school grades 7 to 12, 13 (14%), and high school grades 9 to 12, 13 (14%)
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