NSTA and Vernier Join Forces to Reward Innovation in Science Classrooms

Source: National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Vernier

Lewis and Clark. Black and Decker. Lennon and McCartney. Successful partnerships offer value from both sides. And grants made available through partnerships are no exception.

Partnerships for Science Teachers

Winners of the NSTA/Vernier Technology Awards reap the benefits of partnership by gaining national recognition from education experts and receiving resources to enhance classroom projects. Vernier, a manufacturer of probeware, partners with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to recognize the most innovative math and science teachers.

Grant funds come from Vernier’s corporate coffers, while a committee of educators selected by NSTA scores and selects the award winners. This type of public-private partnership offers a unique approach. While the corporate partner provides the funding and guidelines, the education organization administers the awards process and secures a cadre of education experts with classroom experience to select award recipients. After all, educators themselves know best what is likely to work in a classroom setting.

"Our successful collaboration has yielded a program that has empowered teachers and positively impacted the lives of countless students nationwide,” said Amanda Upton, Manager of Nominations and Teacher Award Programs for NSTA.

Winners Receive Cash Awards

The NSTA/Vernier Technology Awards recognize inquiry-based science activities which use data-collection technology (e.g. probes or sensors) to interface with a computer, graphing calculator, or handheld device in the classroom. Applications are reviewed by the NSTA Awards and Recognitions Committee, which is comprised of educators chosen based on their instructional expertise. The committee members use a scoring guide to judge applications, and select up to 7 winning educators during a full panel meeting.

Each winning teacher’s school receives $1,000 in Vernier equipment, and the teacher receives $1,000 cash award to spend at his/her discretion and up to $1,000 in travel expenses for NSTA’s 2011 National Convention. (Because the award package includes a cash award payable directly to teachers, teachers must agree to submit tax information to report $1,000 of the winnings as taxable income.)

Winning Strategies Involve Innovation

“The winners that have stood out for me are the ones that are incorporating the probeware into innovative activities that really show the power that the technology has to offer,” said Verle Walters, Strategic Partnership Manager & Educational Technology Specialist for Vernier.

Past recipients have used technology to encourage unique exploratory activities in the classroom. For example, one winning teacher built a model solar system which relied on light sensors. Those sensors allowed the class to simulate various astronomy-related phenomena, improving the students’ understanding of the solar system.

“It is because of Vernier’s continued commitment to the enhancement of science education and their unwavering support of science teachers that NSTA is one step closer to fulfilling its mission to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, Executive Director of NSTA.


Learn more about the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards

For information on other science grants, visit Grant Wrangler’s STEM resources

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