Monday, March 21, 2016

Furnishing the Learning Lab

After a winter of tinkering, we received funding from the Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation and the Hypertherm Hope Foundation to formally install a learning lab. I now knew how we could manage groups, mess, noise, and the general public all within our front lobby.  I was most interested in making a flexible space so we purchased workbenches with adjustable heights, shelves, and castors. We replaced the industrial castors with smaller wheels to lower the height for students. 

Here the tables are pushed together so we can all work as one group.
We can pull them apart when there is a large crowd.
Lab stools at 24" height have worked well not only for students, but for general visitors who have been known to carry them around the exhibit hall.

Young and old alike are using our lab stools.
We have space challenges at the museum. Our Learning Lab is right in our lobby and the general public passes right by throughout the summer. I installed this shelving so visitors could see the projects we work on throughout the year.

This shelf is used to display prototypes and projects
Car prototypes: balloon cars and mousetrap cars
I want the students to feel comfortable in the space and to begin to feel like it is their space. These photos, clipped on to wire, show pictures of students and their projects. The kids like to look at them.

Of course we have photo release forms for all the kids.

We continue to develop the space. We need storage and a half-wall to help define the space a bit more in the summer. Rather than purchase storage units, I asked the local tech teacher if his students would like to design and build for us. Here's their first stab at design using SketchUp. It is turning in to a great design and community service project for them.

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