SAN BENITO — All students have the ability to observe and analyze the world around them.
And with opportunity and a strong work ethic, anything is possible.
That’s the teaching philosophy Christopher Brotzman-Gonzales’ lives by with his students.
He recently put his own words of wisdom to the test and won a $3,000 science lab prize package for his classroom.
Brotzman-Gonzales, a science teacher at IDEA San Benito College Prep, recently was selected as the district winner of the 2019 Shell Science Lab Challenge, a global competition sponsored by the Shell Oil Company and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
Middle and high school teachers, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, were encouraged to share their approaches and enter the competition for an opportunity to win a $20,000 school science lab makeover support package.
Brotzman-Gonzales is one of 18 district winners named, from which five national finalists will be chosen.
From the five national finalists, a grand prize winner will be selected to receive the $20,000 school science lab makeover support package.
When Brotzman-Gonzales learned he was selected as a district finalist, he was “in disbelief” at first.
“It was difficult for me to believe in the beginning and then after that moment of disbelief passed, I was very grateful,” Brotzman-Gonzales said. “It’s nice to see that kind of recognition with the work that I do for my kids because they’re the reason why I try my best.”
According to a press release by NSTA officials, Brotzman-Gonzales creates opportunities for one-on-one instruction and tutorials.
However, at the same time, his classroom has limited lab supplies and storage, which hinders scientific investigations required in the Principals of Biomedical Science curriculum.
NSTA officials believe students will have the opportunity to be better trained and knowledgeable in the health care and biomedical field with a properly equipped lab room with medical equipment.
“These district winners and trailblazing teachers are taking action to create innovative ways to provide high-quality lab experiences for their students,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. David Evans. “Their unique ideas and creative approaches to teaching science produce new awareness and ways for us all to bring about positive change in education.”
As a district winner, Brotzman-Gonzales and IDEA San Benito will receive a $3,000 science lab prize package that includes:
• $1,000 Shell grant to purchase lab equipment and other science education resources.
• $1,000 in donated science lab equipment donated by Carolina Biological Supply.
• $300 gift certificate to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Science Store.
• One year NSTA membership for two teachers.
• NSTA Learning Center subscription for two teachers.
• Paid registration for two teachers to attend a 2019 NSTA Area Conference on Science Education.
What is the Shell Science Lab Challenge?
• The competition is sponsored by the Shell Oil Company and is administered by the National Science Teachers Association.
• The competition encourages middle and high school teachers who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a $20,000 school science lab makeover support package.