Designing the Perfect School Science Lab

School science labs always seem to be designed by accountants. They are generally poorly laid out and not well equipped to serve their purpose. I have taught in many of these disasters and have designed other laboratories that are fun to teach. It would be nice if price wasn’t a constraining factor in all school building designs, but it is. The best way to approach your lab design is from the point of view of what you need, then reduce it if the total cost is over budget.

A school laboratory is usually larger than the average classroom. This is because there may be 35 students moving around, the flames from the Bunsen burner, the sink, electrical appliances and glassware all at once, as well as stationery, computers, and boards. The whole setup sounds impossible.

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Ideally you need to separate the student writing area from the student experiment area. The easiest way to do this is to have sinks, electrical outlets, and work desks around all three sides of the room. Cabinets for glassware and electrical appliances will be placed under this workbench. There needs to be a clear path around the room in front of this desk, so students can move around safely. The fourth side of the room will house the teacher’s board and bench.

You will need a fume hood, or fume hood, with extraction facilities to the outside. School fume hoods are not used very often, because the chemicals used in school laboratories are not very dangerous. Fume hoods are best placed against a wall with boards and a teacher’s area. Using fume hoods with classes was largely impractical because of the logistical problems involved with 35 students wanting to use one or two small spaces at the same time.

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These areas will be used infrequently and only briefly.You will also need a desk or bench for students to sit on to write and for non-practical lessons. This workbench is best located about five feet from the perimeter workbench. The exact arrangement of this workspace will depend on the dimensions of your laboratory.

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The fan arrangement worked well, with the table ending where the taecher was standing. Other possibilities include joining table groups and tee-ed tables from the teacher’s desk. Table groups create more chat among your students.

If you are installing an LCD projector, consider mounting it from the ceiling projecting onto the board at the front.

It gives you the perfect school laboratory. You will almost certainly be over-budgeted at this point. How can you reduce costs?

* Cutting the number of sinks – A huge, but catastrophic cost savings in terms of increasing student movement during experimental work. Consider a long sink behind the workbench.

* Cut the number of electrical outlets – Small savings

* Reduce the number of cabinets – Big savings maybe, but increase student movement around the lab, and where do you put all the equipment?

* Only has one fume hood – Big savings, and you’ll be using it less often.

Well, that’s the Tips in Designing a Science Lab at a great school, cost and of course with complete equipment.