Inaugural National Lab Day pairs scientists and students across America

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2010 –– In the month of May, during the first National Lab Day celebration, thousands of scientists will bring hands-on experiments and science-based activities to students across the nation to kindle an excitement for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

In Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, May 12, third graders worked with Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education to build solar cars.

In Vandalia, Ohio, last week, fourth and sixth graders from five schools experimented with CO2 and absorbent polymers with scientists at Eurand Inc., a pharmaceutical company.

In central Utah, on Saturday, May 15, Y-Chem, the local student chapter of the American Chemical Society will invite fifth through 12th graders to tour the Brigham Young University labs and conduct experiments.

National Lab Day began Wednesday, May 12, and events will continue throughout the month. Nationally, the grassroots movement will offer more than 1,700 projects matching 11,000 teachers and volunteers to bring real science to students from kindergarten to 12th grade. National Lab Day has projects in every state, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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"National Lab Day is truly breaking new ground in connecting scientists and engineers with educators and students across the country,” said Joseph S. Francisco, Ph.D., President of the American Chemical Society (ACS). “One project and community at a time, National Lab Day is helping our children learn about the wonders of science in ways that will help inspire them to pursue the technology careers that will keep our country strong and prosperous."

ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, is one of the primary sponsors for National Lab Day, and more than 450 ACS members will bring chemistry to life for students.

National Lab Day was launched in response to President Barack Obama’s call at the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 for all Americans to elevate STEM education as a national priority. To mark this historic event, members of the President’s Cabinet, senior White House officials, and celebrities will participate alongside teachers and volunteers in schools throughout the Washington D.C. Metro area.

To find out what National Lab Day events are scheduled for your local community:

On May 4, with broad, bipartisan support, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1213 recognizing the need to improve the participation and performance of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and math, and the ideals of National Lab Day by a vote of 378 to 2.

In addition to providing hands-on activities, National Lab Day has garnered the financial support of key foundations and partners such as the Hidary Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Gates Foundation, HP, and Motorola, which have committed funds to upgrade school laboratories, support project-based learning, and build communities of support for STEM teachers. As part of these events, the MacArthur Foundation, will announce the winners of its “21st Century Learning Lab Designers” competition, part of the $2 million DML Prize, a first-ever competition challenging entrepreneurs to design new, hands-on STEM learning.