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By: Gina | January 8 2010 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers


National Lab Day logo

What is National Lab Day?

National Lab Day (NLD) is more than just a day. It’s a nationwide movement to bring more high-quality, hands-on, discovery-based lab experiences to students in U.S. middle and high schools. To accomplish this, NLD fosters collaborations of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals with educators and students both in and out of school. Activities go on throughout the year, culminating in a May NLD celebration to recognize the projects and their achievements.

Who is National Lab Day?

National Lab Day is a partnership among federal agencies, foundations, professional societies, and other STEM-related organizations. Involved federal agencies include the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. Supporting foundations include the Gates Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. Over 200 professional organizations—with a combined membership of 6.2 million—are working to make National Lab Day a success. The National Science Teachers Association and the American Chemical Society are coordinating the professional organization efforts.

How does National Lab Day work?

Step 1 for requestors. Teachers, museums, and after-school programs post their needs on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy.
Educators set the agenda for NLD. They know their students and their needs. Requests might be for lab equipment, one-on-one mentoring from a scientist, a visit to a working lab, tech support, help with a lesson plan, up-to-date career information, help with a science fair project, chaperones for a field trip, or just an extra set of hands for a class project.

Step 1 for volunteers. Volunteers register and list their skills, expertise, and access to resources on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy .
While all kinds of volunteers are needed, scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematics undergraduate and graduate students and professionals are particularly encouraged to participate.  They can convey the challenges, rewards, and promise of their careers, and inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators.

Step 2. Requestors and volunteers receive a list of potential partners and connect with them.
After posting a request for volunteers or resources on the NLD websiteExternal Web Site Policy , the requestor will be emailed a list of local volunteers. Requestors can contact the volunteers on the list or browse for others and begin to form a local community of support —university students, scientists, engineers, professionals, and others—who will work with them to achieve their objectives.
Volunteers will also be emailed a list of local opportunities and will be able to browse requests and respond with offers to help according to the needs of the re questors.

Step 3. Have fun together helping students learn.
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