Science students need practical experiments to complement the theories they learn in class. Science laboratories are a must-have in any institution that cares about its STEM students. A well-designed laboratory furnished with educational equipment will not improve the students’ performance but also make science lessons fun and engaging. Here are 5 tips to consider when planning for a science laboratory;
A science lab should be flexible enough for both theoretical and practical learning to enable a more rounded understanding of scientific concepts. Building dedicated labs for each discipline of science may be costly so you should consider building a general lab that will be able to accommodate all the disciplines efficiently and effortlessly.
Consider using lightweight and movable furniture in the lab to enable flexibility and movement around the lab. This also makes the lab easier to clean.
Environmental factors play an important role in the learning process. The lab should be located in a place that has natural light. The natural light helps in experiments that require sunlight or where students are expected to make conclusions based on changes in color.
It should also be in a place where the students won’t easily get distracted by surrounding noises and smell. Ensure proper ventilation is installed and that there is a natural circulation of air.
- Student Positioning
While the traditional row-seating arrangement may work for theoretical classes, it may not be appropriate for practical classes. Practical science lessons need the engagement of every student and collaboration with each other to be a success. The lab should be designed in such a manner that the tutor has easy access to all the students and can effectively facilitate individual and group work among the students. The students should have easy access to water, electricity, gas, and drainage from their stations.
- Use of Space
The lab should be well spaced to allow for freedom of movement. The more accessible it is, the safer it is for both the students and the technicians. It should also have a well-planned storage unit for the laboratory equipment. Good storage ensures that the lab equipment last for long and the lab can be easily set up whenever necessary.
There should also be enough space to allow for future expansion as your institution can anytime experience an increase in the number of science students.
- Installation of Durable Materials
A science lab should be able to last through generations of students with the only maintenance being done periodically. It is therefore important to use quality material and equipment when setting up your lab. Thus, shop for laboratory equipment only from a reputable scientific instruments supplier. An institution should also engage the services of qualified personnel to oversee the running of the lab.
Bonus Tip: The colors and decor used in the lab also play an important role. The right decor will make the lab exciting and usable for the students. Bright colors are preferred to dull colors. You can also use science imagery on the walls or have wall projections to keep the students engaged.