Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Updating Learning Environments: The Science/Math Lab

Over the years, I have tried to create a more hands-on science/math-friendly learning environment. Although the efforts have been successful in part, I continue to face challenges in this arena. Some challenges I face include the following:

  • Purchasing low cost containers that eventually fall apart
  • The evolving curriculum which continually requires different kinds of cabinets and containers
  • The need to constantly reconfigure the desks to support the kinds of learning that is happening in the classroom
  • The impact of heavy use on all items in the classroom--furniture, chairs, and more wear out, especially items that are inviting, cozy, and welcoming. (Stiff school chairs last forever, but don't invite comfort or ease of reconfiguration).
What's a teacher to do?

First, rather than investing in more low cost containers, I've reached out to administrators to see what kind of money and spaces might be available to develop a math/science lab. 

Next, I want to identify better furniture and see how I might acquire that furniture. For example, I'd rather have tables than desks, and I'd like to have some really sturdy student-friendly rolling carts for all the materials we use.

Ideally I'd like a sink since the study study would be easier with that, yet I don't want to lose the fact that my classroom sits right next to the playground or outdoor classroom which is ideal.

If I had my dream learning space, it would have the following:
  • Storage for all the creativity, science, math, and administrative supplies.
  • Ample space for students to move around, work together, and create. 
  • Easy flow of indoor-to-outdoor (we have that!)
  • Rolling tables, a variety of chairs/stools, a rug area, and book shelves.
New curriculum in the science area which includes lots of hands-on materials has fostered this think and need to renovate the room once again. I'll be thinking about this in the days ahead.