Release Date: October 03, 2014
NETL Aids Schools and Students with STEM Outreach Opportunities
Early engagement with science is what propels students into careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). STEM education increases scientific literacy, creates critical thinkers, and provides the tools for the next generation of innovators to take their place in the world.
At the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), Science Lab Days are an important facet of NETL’s educational outreach efforts. Staffed by NETL volunteers and held at regional schools, Science Lab Days deliver hands-on science to students between kindergarten and 8th grade. With simple experiments that teach complex concepts—from the power of ultraviolet light to understanding diffusion through scent—Science Lab Days make science accessible.
At the request of regional schools, NETL’s outreach program conducts 7–10 Science Lab Days per year, with easy classroom experiments designed to augment classroom curriculums. During the 2013–2014 school year, NETL assisted with seven Science Lab Days at regional elementary and middle schools. NETL also assisted with a STEM summer camp offered in July 2014 by Clairton City School District. The summer camp was designed to offer a grounding in STEM concepts to students who required supplementary education over the summer.
Every activity NETL offers is designed to meet the National Research Council’s National Science Education Standards. Hands-on activities, such as the creation of a do-it-yourself volcano, allow students to explore basic chemical reactions, while group activities like the rock identification lab encourage collaborative thought and deductive reasoning.
Schools can easily request to work with the NETL outreach program by visiting NETL’s K–12 STEM activities webpage. There, a STEM Education Activity Request Form is available to contact the NETL outreach program and involve laboratory employees in STEM education, all year round.
Each month, NETL and many other of the Energy Department’s national labs showcase their work in various areas that benefit the nation. This story is part of a series on the various ways in which the national labs are helping to prepare the next generation of energy scientists. For more information, please visit the Energy Department’s national lab webpage.