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Pittsfield Public Schools Among Few in Nation Selected for Science Competition

City of Pittsfield

Pittsfield has been selected as one of only a handful of cities across the country to participate in a national science competition designed to encourage strong teaching in science. 

The “Make My LabWoRx” competition from Science WoRx, an online resource network for science educators sponsored by pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma US, Inc. is offering the opportunity for science teachers to win lab equipment for their schools through a competition with a goal of driving innovation in the classroom.

Melissa Quackenbush of Astellas Pharma said that locations were chosen based on geographic area, but also on the regional economy.

Pittsfield has been chosen to represent the sizable biotech industry in Massachusetts.

Other areas selected to participate in the qualifying round of competition include schools in Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, North Carolina, and Ohio.

State Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield helped Astellas Pharma choose the public schools in his hometown. Downing said that the competition will highlight and drive creative instruction in Berkshire County.

Downing also said that the Science WoRx fits in with the larger push for increasing and expanding science, technical, engineering, and mathematical – or STEM - education in Western Massachusetts. Downing mentioned Pittsfield’s campaign to bring in outside life sciences companies, the ongoing construction of the Center for Science and Innovation at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and the work of the community partnership known as the Berkshire Compact for Education.

The selected winner within Pittsfield Public Schools will receive a microscope and a $1,000 gift certificate towards the purchase of needed lab equipment.

Pittsfield will then advance to the final round of the contest, where it will face off against schools the national level for a $5,000 prize also to be used for the school’s lab.

Deputy Superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools Dr. Tracy Crowe said that the science classrooms in her district have begun developing their lessons, to represent the region on the national stage.

Downing also mentioned the need for continued work at the state government to properly fund education and recognize the important role of teachers.

Teachers and classrooms must submit videos of their lessons for judging in the district-wide Science WoRx competition by March 29th.

For more information: http://www.scienceworx.org/

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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