May 12, 2010

It’s National Lab day — How Are You Celebrating?

by Heather Falconer

National Lab Day was introduced by a large coalition of educators and STEM organizations in November 2010. It’s aim? To give an adrenaline shot of excitement about innovation in STEM disciplines to American youth. Today is the official National Lab Day, and we want to hear about what you’re doing to celebrate.

The plan for NLD was that, over the course of the last few months, educators interested in conducting STEM projects (and professionals in the STEM disciplines interested in volunteering) would pair up through the NLD website. It appears that while the initiative hasn’t been too heavily advertised, they’ve nevertheless managed to get a good start to the national event. The interactive Projects Map on the website shows what projects are already underway, and some of these are quite exciting!

  • Students in Georgia are working on a Human Biology Project to explore how humans fit into the main branches of biology (e.g. ecology, classficiation).
  • In Minnesota, first graders are exploring how variables such as air and water effect the distance a rocket (powered by water or air) can go.
  • California students are researching how solar panels work, and how they can get a grant for installing them on their school to reduce energy costs.

All in all, it looks as though there are 1,381 projects around the country registered with the NLD site. With some luck, many of the students involved in these projects will feel the excitement that can be had from a career in the STEM disciplines, and will continue on to become America’s next generation of innovators.

Are you participating in National Lab Day? Tell us about your project and experiences!

Heather Falconer

Written by

Heather Falconer holds undergraduate degrees in Graphic Arts and Environmental Science, as well as an MFA in Writing and an MLitt in Literature. She is currently completing her PhD in Rhetoric and Composition, with an emphasis on rhetoric in/and/of science. Heather has worked internationally in academic publishing as both an author and editor, and has taught a wide range of topics – from research writing to marine biology – in the public and private educational sectors.