Before you give the go-ahead for work to start on the creation of a new science lab in your school, you’ll no doubt want to have total confidence in the design. After all, labs represent a big investment and their quality can have a major impact on how effectively students learn. Highlighting this point, research conducted by the University of Salford suggested that differences in the physical characteristics of classrooms, including light, colour, flexibility and air quality, can increase the learning progress of school pupils by as much as 16 per cent in just one year.
If you’re searching for lab design inspiration to help ensure your students benefit from the most effective learning environments, it’s worth bearing the following suggestions in mind.
Take a close look at relevant case studies
Case studies detailing how other schools have approached science lab design can be a great source of ideas. These examples illustrate the creative ways in which education providers have overcome the problems and limitations often associated with traditional labs to develop inspirational and practical learning environments that deliver teaching and learning excellence.
For example, take a look at the wide selection of examples of lab refurbishments by Innova Design Solutions. The interior education specialist’s website showcases a number of videos featuring cutting edge school science lab projects that can help inspire and guide you on your project. One case study featured Shireland Collegiate Academy in Birmingham. The academy was looking to transform its existing labs into contemporary, functional spaces that enhanced students’ learning experiences. Responding to Shireland’s brief, Innova provided a full turnkey solution from design to installation. The labs have been finished in a contemporary monochrome colour scheme and contain a number of features including dual purpose workbenches that accommodate both practical and theory work, a teacher’s demo bench that is clearly visible to all students and a teacher’s wall complete with interactive whiteboard and multiple storage options, which de-clutters the classroom and, overall, helps to improve concentration.
Examining case studies like this could draw your attention to lab design elements and ideas that you’d never even considered before.
Consult your teachers – make it personal
They may not have any design experience, but your teachers could have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to what works and doesn’t work in a lab environment. They have direct experience of the classroom features that can help or hinder them when they’re delivering lessons and should be well placed to offer useful suggestions.
For example, they might highlight the importance of having plenty of storage, focus on the need for better work surfaces required for practical work or even help draw attention to the significance of appropriate lighting in the classroom. Whatever the members of your science team advise, it’s important to be receptive to their ideas.
Visit other schools – get a better perspective
Sometimes there’s no substitute for seeing high-quality labs in person. By arranging site visits to local schools that have recently installed new science labs, you can capture first hand how these environments work in action. If the teachers are at hand then speak to them as you will gain valuable insights into how their new laboratory layouts work for them and how they found the process from start to finish.
By seeking inspiration in these ways, you should be able to develop a clear idea of the sorts of things you want from your learning space. It’s also useful to choose a lab designer, manufacturer and installer that will work closely with you to help you develop your ideas and create an environment you’re completely happy with.