STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs are at the forefront of today’s Educational trends, and many K-12 schools are putting a significant emphasis on expanding their STEM efforts. This raises the obvious question, how are STEM programs affecting classroom and school design? And how can furniture and interior design providers better accommodate the needs of STEM curricula within budgetary constraints?
STEM Classroom Design Goals
When it comes to designing STEM classrooms, it’s important to understand the goals of the space rather than trying to create a perfect environment or focal point. A STEM Classroom environment needs to inspire students to:
- Problem solve
- Think innovatively
- Communicate effectively
- Work together as a team
- Generate ideas
- Make tough decisions
Technology is a touchstone of STEM classrooms, and students should be properly equipped with the necessary tools and devices wherever they may be. With the advent of Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, teachers have access to solid guidelines for STEM curricular. More than ever, it’s important to create spaces that serve their goals and needs.
Understanding Your Space
The best STEM classrooms are adaptable, flexible, mobile and ergonomic. You most likely won’t be able to cram everything into a single hodpodge. Instead, break your space down into a “three room” design. Section off space for students to focus on different tasks. You’ll have a primary space for work, a lab space, and a space for lounging and working together.
STEM Friendly Furnishings
Investing in STEM friendly furnishings means furniture that is modular, sturdy, and above all–functional. Traditional, single-function classrooms are out. Modern STEM classrooms have students standing, rolling on chairs, sitting on stools, and casually collaborating. The emphasis is on a range of movement, positions, and functions. For desks and tables, project-based learning requires compact pod arrangements of six to eight students. And as always, flexibility and the ability to rearrange desks for multiple use cases is essential. Desks that taper back to front and allow for a tight circle, for example, are ideal. Furthermore, because STEM environment’s often have students working on projects over multiple class periods, adequate storage space is paramount.
Educational Furniture & Planning from Edwards & Hill
Need help choosing the right furniture for your classrooms? Edwards & Hill can help you plan and install. Edwards and Hill is a leading office, medical, and hospitality furniture supply and installation firm. We provide quality design and installation services that can fit any style and scale. If you’re interested in talking to a professional about any of our services contact us at 301-317-4250. 1