How to set up a school laboratory?
An International Standard Laboratory for School is giving young people a safe environment to explore the sciences which is the key to educating future doctors, techs, analysts, researchers, and scientists.
When designing and building a school lab, there are several important considerations to make to determine exactly what your school’s needs are. At AdvanceLab we offer below our experiences in dealing with this kind of projects.
How Many Labs Does Your School Require?
Whether you are renovating your building, or are building an entirely new school for students of any age group, you will need to determine just how many labs your institution will need to build. The number of labs your educational institution will need will depend on several factors, including the number of students attending, the size of respective rooms, and the availability of certain utilities like HVAC/air, gas, and water. Once having the number of Labs, then you will need to calculate how much space you will need, which refer to local standards & requirements.
Designing a Layout
Unlike professional labs, most educational laboratories are used for a variety of purposes and need to be flexible enough to accommodate classes covering biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and more. Working with a professional designer for a layout is not only help you have everything prepared before construction but also stay within your budget, and they may even be able to save you money by showing you better or more efficient design options along the way.
Balancing Practical and Theoretical Study
When designing an academic lab, it is important to ensure that the space can be used both for practical and theoretical study. Practical experiments and hands-on learning are some of the most important aspects of science education since it is through these experiential lessons that most students develop the desire to pursue science at a higher level. All good science classes should include an ample amount of hands-on practical study, and the lab should therefore afford ample space for students to watch demonstrations, work in teams, and perform solo experimentation.
In addition to experimentation and hands-on learning, all academic labs should be usable for theoretical study, including note-taking during lectures and demonstrations, using textbooks and academic resources, test-taking, and so on. Academic labs should easily be able to transition from theoretical to practical teaching within a single period, and both should be considered equally during the design process.
Because academic labs are typically used for more than one subject, for more than one group of students, and multiple purposes within a single period, flexibility is perhaps the most important quality of an academic lab. Workstations should be relatively easy to move to accommodate different configurations, class sizes, or group activities, and storage should be made as flexible as possible to hold changing materials throughout the school year. Modular shelving, non-fixed furniture, and lightweight seating are all great ways to increase the flexibility of the classroom.
Dos & Don’ts of Building a School Lab
While there may be varying requirements for different institutions depending on their regional laws and regulations, there are some general dos and don’ts of building an academic lab. Here
Don’t Block the View
No, we aren’t referring to the views out your classroom’s windows, we’re referring to the view students will have from different spots in the lab. No matter where students are seated or standing, they should have clear sightlines to the teacher and any demonstration being given. While in professional labs, it may be appropriate to include overhead storage or suspended technology on workstations, it is better to keep furniture lower to the ground to ensure every student can see.
Don’t Crowd the Space
Choosing a space that is too small is far worse than choosing a space that is too large since overcrowding can create safety concerns and reduce the efficiency and focus of the classroom. As important as it is to choose an area within the school that offers adequate space for the lab, it is equally important not to overfill the lab with students, furniture, or equipment. Clear pathways and ample space for movement will reduce the incidence of accidents and injury and will help to keep students and their work in order.
Don’t Underestimate Storage Needs
An unorganized, cluttered lab makes both learning and teaching more difficult. To keep your labs tidy and ready for use at a moment’s notice, be sure to include ample storage space for all equipment, tools, supplies, textbooks, and miscellaneous student items and projects that may require storage throughout the year. When working with your architect or designer, be sure to emphasize the importance of storage, and consider overestimating and opting for additional cabinetry or shelving. Remember: a place for everything and everything in its place.
Do Build Your Lab In a Well-Lit Area
Like comfortable temperature and air quality, the amount and quality of light present in a classroom has been shown to impact learning. Students do better when they have access to natural light and outdoor spaces, and typically are more able to focus in well-lit, open classrooms. When choosing an area of your school in which to build a lab, choose one that has large windows and ample natural light. Access to windows can also help to improve lab safety, offering more ventilation than closed-off classrooms.
Do Invest In Extra Equipment
When purchasing tools and equipment for your academic lab, you should purchase enough supplies for every student to have their own equipment. Having enough equipment to allow every student to participate in experimentation and practical learning simultaneously aids in the teaching process and helps to enhance classroom organization and focus. In addition to purchasing enough equipment for every student, you should also consider investing in extra tools to replace broken, lost, or over-used equipment as needed.
Scientific classroom workstations are the most important piece of furniture to select when designing and building your academic lab since they will be used by every student in every class. Workstations should be adequately sized, easy to move to enhance flexibility, and durable enough to withstand ample experimentation and exposure to various chemicals and solvents.
Standard classroom workstations from AdvanceLab are designed to accommodate four students and can be customized to include a number of efficiency, organization, and safety features. Perfect for grade and high-school classrooms, we can easily add lighting, height adjustability, ergonomic features, additional storage, and more to support students at every level.
For higher education institutions with more specific or advanced requirements, we offer many other workstation layouts and designs that can all be customized to your precise needs. At AdvanceLab, every workstation we make is designed, crafted, and carefully assembled by our team of professionals, and never handed off to third-parties. AdvanceLab uses premium, high-end materials, carefully selected for durability and resistance to wear, and always choose the most appropriate materials for our clients’ specific needs.
Ventilation & Air Filtration
In addition to premium furniture and storage options, AdvanceLab also offers fume hoods and exhaust arms are used to draw toxic fumes (created during the process of experimentation) away from the classroom. These air filtration tools are used to reduce the negative impact of harsh chemicals on human health, and to create safe, contained environments in which to experiment without the risk of inhaling toxic chemicals.
Clutter and disorganization lead to unfocused students and stressful learning environments. Organization helps to promote focus, and can even help students to learn more quickly. Creating an organized classroom laboratory can also help to prepare students for professional research settings where they will be expected to keep their workstations carefully cleaned and clear from mess and unnecessary clutter.
AdvanceLab offer a wide range of storage options and casework to help keep your lab classroom organized. Our storage systems can be made using several materials, and with a number of special features to help create a more efficient classroom. Sink cabinets, for example, can turn a hand-wash station into a space for storage, or give you an area for washing test tubes and other pieces of equipment. Modular shelving options can be changed based on need, so you’ll be able to keep up with the fast-paced curriculum of the school year.