: January 31, 2024 : Emma Hobart-Sheran : 0

“Thanks to SPARK, it feels inspiring and important to be in the science classrooms. Behind the scenes decisions that the administrators are thinking about to create thoughtful spaces have made a tremendous difference. Between the ambiance, storage, lighting, it was all thoughtfully designed. The extensive counter spaces for projects; floors that make it easy to clean after labs and projects; and having my classroom turtle tank near the sink to care for the room pet is extraordinary. It may sound like these are very small details, but for science teachers, this is huge. Ample and well-designed spaces allow my workflow to go smoothly and allow me, as a teacher, to show up for my students without being scattered or distracted. This, combined with the unified color scheme, makes for a peaceful and calm environment for our children to learn in. Because tremendous care has been taken with the science classrooms, it feels important to study here and to do our very best work. The students want to be here, and so do I.” 

“The classrooms made possible by SPARK have allowed us to be more organized. Our days are fast-paced and full of energetic learners who are excited about our science curriculum. Bright lighting and shelving near windows are tremendously helpful for a variety of studies. Currently, we are studying lifecycles and invertebrates, and our third-grade students are adopting and caring for their mealworms. Students assess food and shelter daily and determine the needs of their adopted mealworms. The observation, sketching, and diagramming work is at the core of our learning in science. On a larger scale, students are studying animal adaptations and the biodiversity of our world. Understanding the needs of the mealworm builds empathy and translates to the larger world. Using design thinking, the students design and create mealworm habitats in the Makerspace. SPARK has helped expand these connections between departments. The new spaces brought focus and seriousness to the students. Through this transformation of our science classrooms at Park, we too, adapt our behaviors to our spaces – thanks to SPARK. Our space allows students the space they need to explore and grow as young scientists.” 

“Understanding that students need more movement during the day, the designers and architects behind the new science wing created something extra special,” Beth Hawkins observes. “Thanks to The SPARK Campaign, our spaces are warmer and more inviting, with larger rooms so kids can move across the room to grab a pencil and take stretch breaks as needed.” There are three distinct spaces in Beth Hawkins’ classroom, each serving unique ways of learning. She says, “There’s a formal learning space with tables and chairs sized for our youngest learners, a rug space for group discussions, and a reading nook inset into a floor-to-ceiling window with plenty of natural light. Our new science room is a flexible and unique space which is greatly appreciated by faculty. These spaces meet kids where they are and provide differentiated spaces depending on students’ needs.”