What the STEM Classroom Looks Like
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Focussing on STEM subjects is about ensuring Australia's young adults are equipped with the necessary skills for the economy of the future. STEM education increases science literacy, creates critical thinkers, and enables the next generation of innovators. Such innovation will lead to new products and processes, sustaining our economy.
As classrooms and schools shift their priorities to these new areas, how can classrooms be designed for optimal STEM usage?
The goal is to inspire students to inquire, think, investigate and innovate in teams. Regardless of what field they decide to pursue, the skills they will acquire in these educational programmes are essential to their success and our success as a society -
- Productive Teamwork
- Innovative Thinking
- Generating Multiple Ideas
STEM classrooms are exuberant and accepting. Students work closely together in teams to solve problems and encourage each other to acquire real-world critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Because STEM is generally an integrated project-based learning program, students need small-group areas to plan and discuss their projects.
Some STEM classrooms use a three-room approach - Room One is a classroom where students learn math and engineering concepts, Room Two is a lab where students focus on science and technology, and Room Three is a common room where students can congregate and collaborate. Ideally, a classroom used as both a classroom and lab will have a minimum of 5 square metres per student and no more than 24 students.
Student project spaces or collaborative spaces (room 3) should be located somewhere easily accessible from the other classrooms and somewhere with outdoor access. That access is essential for students to test creations and display them, without the limitations of walls and ceilings.
Technology should be ever-present in the STEM classroom. Students should have tablets or similar Wi-Fi connected devices that allow them to interact with each other, their teacher, and the world. Engineering classrooms should include printers (including 3D if the budget allows), CAD with screens, and plotters.
The STEM classroom is a unique place and it requires furniture that may not have been seen in a classroom before. Seating means providing spaces where students can stand, sit on stools, use rolling chairs, or lounge. Classroom seating in a STEM classroom should allow many different functions, movements, and positions for students. Desks should be able to move into pods or groups that seat 6-8 students. Storage space is also a must, as students are constantly working on projects that need safe storage. Adding white boards encourages teamwork.
The right classroom design complements the right curriculum and enhances the student experience. Talk to Empire Office Furniture to assist with designing and fitting out your teaching environment.