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Teacher Resources

What type of classroom/laboratory design do you recommend?

The type of layout you ultimately select depends on many factors. No one design works well for all sciences. Here are a few thoughts we have on lab layout.

The lab layout you select will be used for the next 25-30 years. Think about how much science has changed from the 1960's to today. You need to think about what science will look like in the year 2020. What influences will technology and computers have on the way we teach science. How will integrated science affect the lab space you're designing? Will team teaching be a common method of teaching? The demands to have more hands-on science will continue to grow. How will this growth affect the lab that you're designing?

The questions can go on and on. All we ask is that you think about what science will look like in 20-25 years. Now that we've started you thinking about the future, let's give you a few recommendations that we feel strongly about.

  • Design a lab space that can be used for all sciences. Flexibility in design is absolutely critical
  • Computers and the use of technology will continue to grow. Make sure you have space and easy access to run additional cabling in future years
  • Design a lab where the teacher can see all the students at work simply by standing in one place and turning around. Easy access to all students is critical.
  • Try to keep the lab and classroom separated. Do not design a lab which uses perimeter lab stations with desks stuck in the middle. While this is the most common lab design, it is also the least creative and causes all kinds of problems for both teachers and students
  • Be creative in your design. Visit lots of schools and see what unique designs they have developed. Take your camera to remember the ideas. Remember creative does not have to mean expensive.
  • Lastly, select an architect who has designed and helped to build school science labs. Experience in building and designing science labs will save you both time and money
  • Be active in the design process. Know your priorities and communicate them to all involved
  • Be prepared. If you are planning on designing a science lab two years from now, you should start your planning now. Having time to plan and think about the many decisions you will be making is the single most important ingredient to successful designing of a science lab.

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