STEM Classroom Setup Ideas for Teachers

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

STEM education is extremely important today, and teachers in the STEM fields play an important role in preparing students for the future. This lesson looks at some of the crucial aspects of setting up a classroom for STEM learning.

Why Classroom Setup Matters

Ms. Folks has been teaching high school chemistry for over a decade, and over the years, she has come to understand the deep importance of how a classroom is arranged. Teachers of all age groups, Ms. Folks knows, must attend to both the aesthetic and the utilitarian aspects of their classroom design if they are going to keep students engaged and successful as learners. To pay attention to the aesthetic, Ms. Folks explains, means to think about what makes a classroom attractive, neat, visually stimulating, as well as safe and appealing, for students. Focusing on the utilitarian means thinking about how a classroom can be designed so that students can learn and move in practical, useful and meaningful ways. In STEM classrooms in particular, Ms. Folks thinks that setup plays a crucial role in ensuring that all students participate, learn actively, and feel comfortable experimenting and asking questions. Here, Ms. Folks shares some of the principles she considers most important in setting up a STEM classroom.

Collaborative Groups

Ms. Folks thinks that learning in the STEM education fields happens best when students work collaboratively with one another as well as with the teacher. Therefore, she always designs her classroom to allow for collaborative groups. Rather than individual desks, Ms. Folks focuses on large tables or clusters of chairs where students can work together and have involved conversations. She leaves open space in the front of the room where groups can convene for meetings without making enough noise to bother other learners.

Collaborative work happens best when students can sit in clusters and move around as needed.
tables

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