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I'm designing 'new' science labs and would love some input!

Discussion in 'Science' started by billygoat, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. HI i am lucky that my lab is on the large side and i do have desks on one side of the room with an interactive white board for theory. On the other i have the practical side with long benches fitted with gas taps etc, with another interactive white board. Is the best lab set up i have had and works well.
     
  2. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Benches round the side and tables in the middle. Avoid those octagonal island type benches at all costs otherwise you will have sudents sitting with their backs to you.

    Make sure you have plenty of cupboards although the benches with the plastic trays that slot in are very good as you can just pull out the equipment you need for a particular lesson then slide it all away again afterwards. The trays themselves can also be used as equipment in some instances.

    Our labs are very long. When they redesigned mine 17 years back I have the whiteboard (actually a blackboard in those days) placed in the middle of one of the long sides and the tables facing it. The kids then are closer to you and the ones at the back are not straining to see the board.
     
  3. <font face="Times New Roman" size="3">



    Here is a free publication
    from CLEAPSS; http://www.cleapss.org.uk/attachments/article/0/G14.pdf?Free
    Publications/</font>


    This organisation would also
    talk to you about problems.</font>


    I have never found it a good
    idea for pupils to carry out practical workwith their backs to you. Also you may end
    up with Bunsen burners underneath wooden wall cupboards and near notice boards with combustible paper on them.</font>


    </font>
     
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Make sure that gas taps and water taps are adjacent, otherwise distillation / reflux can never happen.
    Ensure you have proper fume cupboards, the wheeled toys cost more than proper ones and rapidly cease to be more than a big safety screen.
    Make sure that there is a ventilator you can control, the new lab block in my school has strange CO2 sensors, and is impossible to switch on.
    Ensure they buy a brand of projector that has bulb life >10minutes.
    Enjoy, best wishes,
    P
     
  5. lunarita

    lunarita Established commenter

    Practical benches around the walls means they're working with their backs to you and you can't see easily what they're doing. It's impossible to see them all at the same time.
    While I've used this happily with A-level and even GCSE Physics, I wouldn't fancy it for KS3 Chemistry.
     
  6. My old lab had benches around the outside and moveable tables in the rest of the room. Absolute hell having the kids using Bunsens with their backs to you!
     
  7. Goat2

    Goat2 New commenter

    Make sure the tables are exactly the same height as the side bench then you can move the tables to create working areas butted onto the side. Means they will not be working with backs to you.
    Include a normal white beard as well as IWB
    Check the water to the sinks comes from a good sized feed so that no drop in pressure as you use all of them
    Have really good quality blackout that sits inside the frame. And then make sure the P+++ of an architect doesn't fit 24hr security lights you cannot switch off.
    Ensure you have the circuit breakers easliy available. In the lab above they were in a separate switch room and needed two keys ony held by the electrician on site!
    Read the DFES book on lab design or get more info from CLEAPSS.
     
  8. blazer

    blazer Star commenter


    Trouble is that getting services like gas, water, electricity and drainage to centre benches is difficult and expensive. Putting this stuff round the walls is easier and cheaper. Plus the kids can sit at tables for the lessons and move to the sides leaving all their clutter in the middle. I have never found it a problem having the kids working round the sides. Plus with some pracs you can leave the prac running and the kids can return to their seats away from the apparatus.
     
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    If I could afford it I would replace the stools in my lab with tall chairs. We seem to have an increasing number of kids with 'epilepsy' type illnesses and also more with back problems and so we have to find them chairs anyway.
     
  10. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Oh and something learned from experience. Make sure that if you are on a ground floor or any floor with a floor above you that they fit heat sensors into the ceiling and not smoke detectors! When they fitted mine I asked the fitter and he insisted it was a heat sensor. After we had the whole school out on the field a couple of times they checked and found it was a smoke detector!
     
  11. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    We had a couple of rooms refurbished a while ago. They are both quite large rooms, long and narrow.
    There are tables and stools at the front of the room in rows and then at the back of the room the two side benches and then two long thin islands parallel to the walls and at right angles to the rows of tables at the front of the room (if that makes sense!).
    It works well, having two separate areas and you can face/see all the practical going on at the end of the room. The kids aer side on to you much of the time, but you can see easily. One of the labs doesn't have sinks in the island benches though which is a real pain.
     
  12. line the room with tin foil to block those Blackberry addicts..
     
  13. I use benches round the edge, and agree that it's not a problem doing prac if you "prowl" lots. So much cheaper on the services, too. try to get idiot fitters to realise that putting the electics behind where you're putting the sinks isn't such a good idea (sigh). If, like me, expense is a problem, I used ordinary bench tops and I have "burn boards" made from hardboard that I lay on top and replace once a year. They last nicely and can be easily cut to fit. I have lots more "on the cheap" suggestions.... Of course you may be lucky and have lots of money...
     
  14. akslocombe

    akslocombe New commenter

    Hi guys,
    I don't know if it's of interest but we had four science labs refurbished this year and found a company via the CLEAPSS newsletter which purchased and stripped the old timber lab/desk tops. They paid &pound;1500 to the school and it saved a lot in waste fee's as was going to be skipped anyway.
    I still have there contact details if anyone would like them.
     

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