Specifying Quality Wood Casework Options: Hardware Selection

What is a drawer slide and how do I choose the right one?

A good drawer slide means the difference of years of headaches versus years of convenience. But what goes into a good drawer slide and how do you figure the right one for your need? Here’s a brief guide to help you understand the basics of a drawer slide and how to choose the right one for your application.

 

THE BASICS

A simple drawer slide has two members: a drawer (inner) member that attaches to the side of a drawer box, and a cabinet (outer) member that attaches to the cabinet’s inner wall surface, within the drawer opening.  Only one of the slide members (drawer) moves when opening a drawer.

A more complex slide structure will include three members, with an intermediate member located between the cabinet and drawer members. Only the drawer and intermediate members move; while the cabinet member remains fixed to its location within the cabinet structure.

Additionally, slides can come in two arrangements: side mount (Picture A) and undermount (Picture B). An undermount slide, mounts in a position that allows a specially designed drawer to sit on top of the suspension, unlike a side mount slide. An undermount slide is often used where it’s desirable to conceal the drawer slide components from view.



 

Ball bearing drawer slides are also known as rails, runners, and sliders, but they are not the same as glides. A glide uses thin rails on both mounting surfaces, and include plastic wheels on the drawer side allowing movement. Glides are often found on discount furniture; while inexpensive, their movement is much less smooth and the rails are prone to misalignment.

 

LENGTHS AND EXTENSIONS 

Slides come in many lengths, from as little as 6 in. to as long as 60 in. Length refers to the total length of the slide assembly, when collapsed in the closed position.

How far a slide extends or moves, is called extension or travel. A simple slide that uses just two members, an inner and an outer, generally provides ¾ (or partial) travel. That means the moving drawer member travels at ¾, or 75%, of the slide’s length.  These types of slides are common in residential uses, such as in kitchen cabinetry, or in office furniture, where direct full access to the drawer’s contents is not desired.

Three-member slides have two moving components, the drawer and intermediate members.  In combination, these members tend to extend either the full (100%) length of the drawer slide assembly or even beyond that. Those that exceed the length are called “over-travel” slides because they travel over 100% of the length of the drawer slide assembly. Full-extension slides, are useful if you need easy access to contents.

Pictured above: Top drawer is an example of a full extension slide vs the bottom drawer showing a 3/4 extension drawer slide. 

 

LOAD CAPACITIES

Determine how much weight your application is likely to see when in use.  Slides’ load capacities fall into three ranges: light-, medium-, and heavy-duty. A light-duty slide, handles loads up to 75 lbs. Light-duty applications often include kitchen and office drawers. A medium-duty slide handles loads between 100 lbs and 150 lbs.  Heavy-duty drawer slides more typically have load ranges over 150 lbs and depending on the application can reach even over 1,000 lbs.

 




Pictured above: (left) light duty, (center) medium duty, (right) heavy duty 

 

LOCKS AND DETENTS

Do you want your drawer to be secured in position? In that case, you may want your slide to include a detent or a locking feature.  There are two types of drawer slide detents: detent-in and detent-out.

A detent-in slide has an engagement feature formed on the drawer member and a rubber-like molding secured at the rear of the cabinet member. These two features cooperate to frictionally hold a closed drawer in that position, preventing the drawer from drifting open. You can overcome the detent with a pull on the drawer when opening.

A detent-out slide includes cooperating components that holds the slide in the fully extended position, until you are ready to retract the drawer or a working platform, such as a keyboard tray.  Deactivating a detent-out slide requires a simple “bump” of the extended unit to release the engagement features before pushing it back inside the cabinet.

There are two types of drawer slide locking features: lock-in or lock-out.  Both features include a latching mechanism that secures a drawer open or closed. You can disengage, or unlock, the drawer by pressing a latch or lever (depends on the model).  Some slides are just lock-out equipped, while other slides have both features.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

Additionally, slides can come with features that make opening or closing a drawer more convenient. These include:

 

EASY-CLOSE VS SELF-CLOSE

An Easy-Close slide includes a closing device, equipped with a damping cylinder, and cooperating springs that engages with the drawer member and assists the final inches of the drawer closing action. Easy-Close (sometimes-called Soft-Close) slides provide assurance that the drawer will close quietly and smoothly every time.

 

A Self-Close slide, also includes a closing device, with springs, but does not include a damping cylinder.  The engagement of the drawer member is similar, and once engaged with the device, the drawer quickly closes at the last inches of closing distance. Self-close slides are noisier than Easy-Close slides, and sometimes are used as “stay-closed” devices for mobile cart applications.

 

CHOICE OF FINISH

The majority of slides come in three coated finishes placed over carbon steel slide members: zinc, black electroplate, or white electro-coat. Some slides utilize stainless steel or aluminum material as needed for specific applications.  Zinc is most common plating finish; it features an environmentally friendly base layer of zinc, with either a clear or a black chromate coating over the top.  A clear zinc coating resists moderate levels of corrosion, typically for slides used in non-corrosive environments, like office furniture.  Electro-white (a paint) or black chromate-coated slides offer greater corrosion resistance that is eight-times that of clear zinc. Stainless steel and aluminum material slides offer even greater corrosion-resistant but are available only on select models.

 




 

CONCLUSION

The most typical slide used for the laboratory setting has the following features: zinc plated, ball-bearing, side mounted, full extension, and medium duty load capacities. These features are often viewed as the minimum requirement for the laboratory setting. Some instances soft or easy close slides are required which add extra cost but can be an extra value for the client. Always consider what is being put into the drawers before specifying a slide. The specifying of the correct slide application is often the best way of preventing slide issues on your project. Slide specifications are often the most copied and paste portion of the specification from project to project. Please review these specifications with the architect to confirm what slides are required for the project.

 

Want to learn more? check out this video on drawer slides for 3D examples.

 

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Specifying Quality Wood Casework Options: Lab Grade Finish

What’s the difference between laboratory grade wood casework and premium grade commercial millwork?  The simple answer is the finish!

Esthetically both the laboratory grade wood casework and the premium grade commercial millwork will look and feel the same, but they do not perform the same.  A lab grade finish is formulated and tested to withstand the rigors and abuses of a laboratory environment.  Acid resistant, solvent resistant, chemical resistant, impact resistant and moisture resistant are all characteristics of a quality lab grade finish.

The two leading authorities in our industry Architectural Woodwork Institute AWI and Scientific Equipment & Furniture Association SEFA have very specific requirements of what a lab grade finish is and how it should perform.  AWI is the industry’s recognized authority on woodwork standards and processes, while SEFA is the industry’s authority on performance and testing protocols.

 

FINISHING STANDARDS

AWI’s technical woodworking document is the Architectural Woodwork Standards AWS manual, which clearly identifies Catalyzed Vinyl, Finishing System 7 as the only finish recommended for wood laboratory casework.  In fact Finishing System 7 (catalyzed vinyl) scores high marks on performance characteristics’, see the General Performance Characteristics chart below.  As with all finishes, the processes and the applications are crucial to achieve a high quality finish.  Some of the challenges inherent with Finishing System 7 (catalyzed vinyl) such as lack of clarity can easily be overcome with the right processes and application procedures.  The main challenge with Finishing System 7 (catalyzed vinyl) is the “Yellowing in time” characteristic, this can be minimized with the addition of UV blockers in the chemical formulation.

 

[1] Architectural Woodwork Standards, Edition 2, page 113.

 

With advances in UV cured finishes, there are now both solid based UV cured and water based UV cured finishes on the market which are also suitable for laboratory applications.  UV cured finishes are environmentally friendly and have very low VOCs.  However UV cured finishes that are suitable for laboratory applications are only available from a limited number of manufacturers and require extensive expertise in the application process.  Most UV cured finishes are high performance and offer a good quality finish, but you should consult with your finishing professional and request performance data and testing results to ensure the finish is suitable for laboratory purposes.

The finishing of a wood product brings out the beauty and natural characteristics of a wood species, but one of the primary functions of the finish is to protect it from the bump and grind of daily usage.  You hope to never test the limits of the finish in a real world situation.  So how can you be sure the type of finish provided is appropriate for you specific needs?  The answer is testing.

 

PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

SEFA sets out a set of performance standards for scientific equipment and furniture through its reference guide and offers an extensive range of performance testing for furniture.  SEFA’s Chemical Resistance Testing – 8W-2014 is widely recognized in our industry for the testing of a lab grade finish for wood laboratory casework.  SEFA sets out performance requirements and provides a testing methodology to ensure that the finish will meet the performance standards.  It is crucial that any type of finish intended to be used in a laboratory environment meet or exceed the SEFA Chemical Resistance Testing.  All specifications should include terminology requiring all wood laboratory casework manufacturers to provide independent SEFA Chemical Resistance Testing – 8W-2014 testing with project submittals, prior to delivery of the product to site.

An abbreviated sample of the SEFA Chemical Resistance Testing – 8W-2014 is shown below.  The actual performance test, tests for 49 different chemicals, acids and reagents, the sample above only shows the first 6 chemicals on the list.

 

[2] SEFA Desk Reference Fifth Edition, page 289

 

Some UV cured finishes will pass the SEFA Chemical Resistance Testing – 8W-2014, but there is a limited number of finishing manufacturers that have a UV cured product that passes the SEFA Chemical Resistance Test.  Therefore not all UV cured finishes are appropriate for use in laboratory applications and 3rd party independent testing is the only way to be sure that the finish is suitable for lab use.

 

CONCLUSION

When it comes to wood laboratory casework finish only trust qualified manufacturers, who can provide independent SEFA testing and adhere to AWS procedures.  Qualified manufacturers can be sourced from the AWI member directory and the SEFA member directory.

Remember Catalyzed Vinyl, Finishing System 7 is the only finish recommended by AWI for laboratory applications and always ask for independent SEFA-8W-2010 finish testing with project submittals.

 

See the rest of the specifying quality wood casework options blog series posts as they become available:

 

Specifying Quality Wood Casework Options: Veneer Selection and Criteria

Chief amongst the reasons that someone decides to select wood veneer casework for their project’s interiors is the aesthetic beauty that it offers to the workplace environment. Whether a traditional species such as oak or maple are preferred; or if pursuit of an alternative such as birch, walnut, cherry or steamed beach is desired, a finished hardwood veneer can “dress up” the office, school or laboratory.

 

Today let’s consider what goes into selecting a quality veneer.

 

VENEER GRADING

Traditionally veneer backs are graded in numbers 1-4 (with the lower the number the better the material).  Faces are graded in letters (AA-A-B) with the double AA being the cleanest material. The Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association (HPVA) publishes two charts to render their gradings:

 

For Red and White Oak:

 

For Ash, Birch, Maple and Poplar: 

 

The grading is tied to the natural characteristics to the types of wood and what nature delivers.  Things like Pin Knots and Mineral Streaks are allowed a bit more in the heavy grain woods like oak, as the inclusion of these items are associated with the species.  While you can see that color variation is more acceptable with the “clearer” grain species.  The size of the components or flitches that make up a full 4’x 8’ sheet of veneer is the same for each grade and species.

 

Please note: The grading is done based on sheet size (4’ x 8’), not component size (i.e. individual door or drawer front).  So, in each sheet of AA veneer for example, you will get components that will be A or B in nature.

 

VENEER SLICING METHODS

Veneer can be sliced in four primary fashions:  Rotary, Plain Sliced or Plain Sawn, Quartered or Rift.

  • Rotary:  Broad sheets, wild patterns, the most inexpensive commercial grade approach.  Rotary cut provides the largest yield and therefore is the most inexpensive slicing method to be used.


 

  • Plain Sliced:  A tighter cathedral pattern with the leaf width being determined by the log thickness.  This slicing method is almost considered an “industry default” choice. It’s cathedral grain pattern delivers on the natural beauty of wood.


 

  • Quarter Cut or Sliced:  This narrow cut pattern tightens the grain, producing a pinstripe tightness and uniformity.  As suggested by the name, the log is quartered into four equal sections and then sliced off to create the flitches.  When this method is used with the oak species, medullary rays result; almost a “flaking” appearance often referred to as “figuring”.


 

  • Rift Cut or Sliced:  Similar method to Quarter Cut with the blade or knife turned to a 15 degree angle, eliminating the effect of medullary rays and therefore frequently used for cutting the oak species.  The result is the same tight and uniform grain patterns.

 



 

The methods are listed above in ascending order of cost.  The greatest yield achieved with Rotary, followed by Plain Slice, much lower yield and much higher cost with Quarter and Rift cut.

 

VENEER MATCHING

Once the species, grade and slicing method have been chosen, the final step is deciding on the appropriate method of matching your veneer components.  There are two methods commonly referred to as Book matched and Slip matched.

 

  • Book Matched:  The individual components or flitches are stacked together and placed side by side in a manner like opening a book.  The top component is turned over and butted to the component directly below.  In this way, the grain patterns are lined up by using the back of one component and the face of the other.  This is an excellent choice for plain sliced red or white oak and maple, where symmetrical grain alignment is of the utmost importance to appearance.

  • Slip Matched:  The individual components or flitches are stacked together and placed side by side by sliding the top component off and laying it beside the component directly under it.  As the name suggests, by sliding or slipping the components together, the faces are used for both flitches, allowing for the most consistent approach to veneer color.  This method is the preferred approach for all species that are Quarter or Rift cut.

 

In addition to these considerations there are also a couple of other matching techniques as it relates to wood veneer leaves within a panel face.

Balanced match:  Each panel face is assembled from veneer leaves of uniform width.  Panels may contain an even or an odd number of leaves, and distribution might change from panel to panel within a sequenced set…either in Book or Slip match.

Center Balance match:  Each panel face is assembled from an even number of veneer leaves of uniform width, with a veneer joint in the center of the panel, producing horizontal symmetry. A small amount of figure is lost in this process.

Running match:  Each panel face is assembled from as many veneer leaves as necessary. This often results in an asymmetrical appearance, with some veneer leaves of unequal width. Often the most economical method a the expense of aesthetics, it is the standard for AWI Custom Grade and must be specified for other grades.

 

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Specifying Quality Wood Casework Options: Plywood Core and Substrate Selection

What goes into specifying quality wood casework for your school, college/university or laboratory project?

There are several elements that come into play and the majority of those are addressed in Architectural Woodwork Institute AWI, Hardwood Plywood Veneer Association HPVA, and Scientific Equipment Furniture Association SEFA.

Items such as plywood and substrate selection, veneer selection, casework finishing and hardware need to be considered. Within this article we will address plywood and substrate selection following with more posts containing content on veneer specification and guidelines, finishing methods and hardware approaches.

There are other options for cabinet, door and paneling construction that will save you time and money. Here is a breakdown of the four different types of plywood options that you will come across when considering the different types of plywood for your needs.

 

PLYWOOD AND SUBSTRATE DEFINED 

Plywood is a panel manufactured of three or more layers of materials. For example, particle board and the two layers of veneers can be considered a hardwood plywood, by AWI definition.  

 

  • Veneer Core Plywood
    • Superior screw holding power or performance
    • Has a premium cost associated and is the industry “default” substrate for cabinet construction (frames, end panels, fixed back panels, etc.)
    • Not to be used for vertically hung panels (i.e. door and drawer fronts) as it is susceptible to warping
    • Lighter in weight
  • Particle Core Plywood
    • Recommended by AWI for doors and drawer fronts
    • If the general cabinet is constructed of particle board, it is recommended to use waterproof plywood base to keep particle board core away from moisture wicking from floors
    • Least expensive choice
  • Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) Core
    • Superior performance in regards to it being the flattest and hardest surface in which to adhere the veneer
    • Has the most uniform thickness and consistency
    • Recommended by AWI for doors and drawer fronts
  • Combination Core Plywood
    • Superior performance as it combines the three inner plys of veneer core plywood (screw holding power) with the two outer plys of MDF (flat and hard)
    • Consistent thickness makes it a solid choice for finishing
    • Can be used for the entire cabinet construction…frames, ends and fronts  

 





 

Pictured above: (left) veneer core plywood, particle core plywood, MDF core plywood, (right) combination core plywood. 

 

CONCLUSION

In summary, while the core or substrate is not the visible portion of a cabinet, its selection is very important to the durability and performance of the casework.  General rules to consider:

A cabinets construction members (framing, base, side and fixed backs) in the order of best performance should be specified with the use of:

  1. Combination core plywood
  2. Veneer core plywood
  3. MDF board
  4. Particle board

A cabinets’ door and drawer fronts should be specified with the use of one of the following:

  1. Combination core plywood
  2. Particle board with hardwood stiles (for hinge attachments and screw holding power)
  3. Particle board
  4. MDF board

 

See the rest of the specifying quality wood casework options blog series posts as they become available:

Modern Lab Trends for the Present and Future

Creating modern lab spaces that meet present and future research requirements is vitally important for the longevity of any lab space. High School, College/University, and Research and Development labs are all facing the pressure to design spaces that can keep up with all of the emerging trends. Below are some of the key drivers that are developing the new model of lab design:

OPEN LAB SPACES AND COLLABORATION 

Colleges/Universities and research institutions are increasingly creating “open” labs to support team based work and problem solving. Taking a collaborative approach is best complimented by environments that promote interdisciplinary teamwork rather than the previous “siloed” departmental culture. This trend is being accelerated by the younger generation and new academic models where students and researchers thrive at solving problems in team based environments. Modern science is becoming more social, and the most productive and successful researchers are familiar with the substance and the style of each other’s work. This collaborative approach fosters individual’s capacity to adopt new research methods as they become available.

Having a more traditional fixed or “closed” lab is just as important for certain kinds of research; mainly those areas that are dominated by large amounts of equipment. Some research or equipment rooms get created to allow a shared access to these devices and cutting down the cost of purchasing individual equipment for each science. Having “closed” off rooms for glass washing equipment, electron microscopes, tissue culture labs, and dark rooms are examples of equipment and activities that should be housed separately from “open” spaces.  In addition to incorporating areas for writing up lab reports and going through data in a quiet and uninterrupted environment can be important.

 



You can see closed-off individual work spaces that are adjacent to an open laboratory set up, and closed-off work stations separated by a glass enclosure. Project shown is Sensient Technologies in Chicago, IL see the full case study.  

PARTNERSHIP OUTSIDE OF THE LAB 

Equally as important to a successful build out of a research laboratory building is the creation of community spaces (break rooms, kitchens, soft seating, etc.) that lend themselves to “keeping the client” in the building.  Design in locations to bring in food, coffee and the internet café.  This also includes courtyard areas; allowing a conference call and meeting to take place in “the fresh air”.  Buildings are being designed to stagger these community spaces at different ends of the building, assigning conference room or meeting room locations that are purposefully on a different floor.  The more interaction and moving of the researchers the more they understand the connection to their peers.

FLEXIBLE LAB SPACES 

Lab owners consistently request that their lab spaces are flexible and adaptable. The main driver of adaptable lab spaces is the long-term decrease of renovation costs and lab downtime. Flexibility can mean multiple things; the ability to expand easily, accommodate re-configurations and promote a variety of uses. The growth of interdisciplinary science leaves clients designing for an owner’s current and future needs.

Utilizing overhead service carriers that supply air, vac, power and gas help promote this flexibility. This service support from the ceiling can feed utility chases and/or tables systems throughout the lab elevation. In addition, data, localized exhaust (snorkels) and recirculated water can be accommodated.

There continues to be an uptick in flexibility design in terms of fixed casework versus flexible lab tables. The cost delta of the furniture in each approach is relatively flat (flexible tables cost more than fixed casework, but the installation of the tables systems is much lower and assists with shortened construction duration).  At the end of the day what is designed into the space “above the ceiling” is what dictates the level of flexibility moving forward.  Providing trunks or locations for power and gases as future needs might require; increase the future flexibility, but also increases the initial installation costs.

Adjustable and flexible laboratory tables are a great way utilize space and meet different research requirements, in addition to overhead service carriers for your utilities. Project shown is Binghamton University in Vestal, NY check out the full case study

 

SUSTAINABILITY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY 

Research laboratories are extremely demanding when it comes to energy usage, often using five times as much energy and water of a teaching lab space. Research laboratories are energy demanding due to; large numbers of containment and exhaust devices, heat generating equipment, researchers 24 hour access to lab facilities, and fail-safe redundant backup systems and uninterrupted power supply or emergency power. Meeting and exceeding the health and safety standards for any lab is paramount to the labs success. Sustainable lab designs will not only improve safety but will also improve productivity.

Lab spaces must effectively use materials and resources, recycle and increase use of products with recycled content. Environmentally friendly and sustainable designs are awarded LEED certifications which can lead to a savings in utility and operation costs long term.

Harnessing natural light while providing the right amount of glazing on windows is another key element of cutting down on the waste of energy.  Choices of work surface colors, floor and wall treatments and the like also have fairly substantial impacts.

CONCLUSION

Science has evolved over the past century into less of an individualistic pursuit and more of a collaborative endeavor. Looking for more of a combination of “closed” and “open” spaces that promote interdisciplinary and individualized research solutions. The degree of flexibility should be assessed for each applications’ needs and requirements. Once that is understood deciding between fixed casework and flexible laboratory tables comes into play. Lastly, lab spaces must effectively use material and resources in order to promote a sustainable and energy efficient environment. Energy savings lead to a decrease in utility and operational costs, while promoting safety. Understanding these three main lab space elements will allow you to configure a space that meets the needs of the owner and the users. A successful building is the result of involving all of the stake holders. They include owners, facilities, lab users, faculty, lab managers and environmental health and safety (EHS).

SOURCES

Hock, L. (2014, June 6). Trends in modern lab design. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from Lab Design New website: https://www.labdesignnews.com/article/2014/06/trends-modern-lab-design

Scott, C. (2014, December 11). Modern laboratory design: creating a space for effective collaboration.     Retrieved April 13, 2017, from Bio Process International website:    http://www.bioprocessintl.com/manufacturing/facility-design-engineering/modern-laboratory-design-creating-space-effective-collaboration/

Watch, D. (2016, August 29). Trends in lab design. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from Whole Building Design Guide website: https://www.wbdg.org/resources/trends-lab-design#open

Bridging Design and STEM Curriculum

featured image for: Bridging Design and STEM Curriculum


Rapidly changing technology and job requirements/positions are influencing how educators are teaching the current generation of learners, and is shaping how students need to prepare for future advancements. Architects, designers and school/ laboratory furniture providers need to understand today’s student and how learning is evolving and growing by incorporating STEM into their designs for education.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEAM (includes arts). This learning curriculum is being adopted by school districts and State Education departments alike, its important because it prepares students to become innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders. STEM provides the knowledge and tools that students need to solve the most pressing challenges facing our nation and world. It’s becoming widely embraced in the K-12 school classroom and in higher education. STEM not only affects teaching methods and the curriculum, but it also affects classroom and school design.



K-12 STEM laboratory/classroom at Westerly High School in Rhode Island…introducing a university STEM setting at a high school level

CATALYST OF CHANGE

There are a multitude of trends that are affecting the way that schools are incorporating STEM into their classrooms and curriculum. The following are some of the trends that are catalysts of change when it comes to incorporating STEM into education:

  • Technology: Students today have grown up with technology, and use it in some way every day. It’s important to incorporate some aspect of technology within curriculum because it will help prepare students for future advancements and job requirements.
  • Teamwork: In project-based environments, it is advantageous to incorporate small group work where students can learn and support each other’s ideas and continue to work on their communication skills.
  • Communication: Today’s students communicate in different ways than previous generations. It’s important that the curriculum helps facilitate the exchange of information and provides an atmosphere where students can communicate freely and amongst one another.
  • Teamwork: Utilizing small group work will help students learn how to be proficient in dividing up tasks, and how to learn from their peers. Having strong teamwork skills is necessary for personal development and future careers.
  • Decision-Making: Being able to develop the skills to choose the best option among alternatives will help students prepare for real world obstacles and decisions that they will face. This also goes along with innovative thinking and for students to be able to intuitively understand problems and come up with innovative ways to solve those dilemmas.



K-12 STEM Lab completed by CiF Lab Solutions at Cleveland Heights NEW Tech School in Ohio.

ESSENTIAL DESIGN PROPERTIES

A trend that we are seeing often when designing spaces for STEM is providing a central, unifying space with shared facilities for multiple disciplines rather than the “silo-ed” classroom culture. This structure will promote intellectual exchange and provide students with the option to collaborate and learn to solve problems together. Architects and lab planners should incorporate areas for interaction, so that students can congregate and work together. Improving opportunities for interaction generally increases stimulation and satisfaction, leading to improvements in productivity and retention.

Architects and designers of K-12 STEM spaces understand the need for classrooms to be adaptable, flexible, mobile and ergonomic. When it comes to designing a classroom to fit with the STEM curriculum there are a range of things that you should consider when designing your space.

  • Seating Arrangements: The traditional stationary single seat with the table attached facing the front of the room is making its way out. With a STEM classroom students are provided with rolling chairs that make it easy to move around and casual lounging chairs for collaborative thinking. Having range of motion adds functionality to any space.
  • Desks and Tables: The STEM curriculum is based off of collaborative learning rather than the traditional majority lectured lessons. Setting up a room with tables that can be rearranged multiple ways provides multiple advantages for community based learning. When designing science classrooms having flexible lab table systems that can be adjusted depending on present and future curriculum requirements will allow teachers with more options when it comes curriculum choices.
  • Storage: Having storage that allows students to safely store in-progress assignments will allow them to continually work on an activity over an extended period of time.

SOURCES

Bull, G., & Bell, R. L. (n.d.). Educational technology in the science classroom.Retrieved February 20, 2017, from Static website: http://static.nsta.org/files/PB217X-1.pdf

How are millennial students (and faculty) different from previous generations? (2013,November 22). Retrieved February 17, 2017, from Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine website: http://www.med.wmich.edu/how-are-millennial-students-and-faculty-different-previous-generations

Jolly, A. (2013, August 20). How to get your school ready for STEM this year [KQED News]. Retrieved February 17, 2017, from: https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/08/20/how-to-get-your school-ready-for-stem-this-year/  

Science, technology, engineering and math: education for global leadership. (n.d.). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education website: https://www.ed.gov/stem

The Science of Learning: Designing the STEM Learning Facilities of the Future. (2014).Retrieved February 20, 2017, from HOK website: http://www.hok.com/thought-leadership/the-science-of-learning-designing-the-stem-learning-facilities-of-the-future/