Ketk Nbc: A School That Acts Like A Tech Lab

Long before architects stepped in, Champaign residents and educators laid out their hopes for a school that fit the neighborhood and the needs of its underserved children. Instead of long corridors that cordon off classrooms and age groups, the Booker T. Washington school was designed around central spaces with walls that open wide, enabling teachers and the school’s 425 students to share lessons and materials. Natural light pours into the building while geothermal heating and cooling, high-performance lighting and other features keep the 60,300-square-foot building sustainable. STEM themes are woven into the building, opening paths of inquiry in features that would have been there anyway, said Wendy Watts, the interior designer on the project: There are lights arranged like constellations, math equations on the gymnasium floor, the Fibonacci sequence of numbers in administrators’ windows and a human genome pattern in the exterior brick. Inside, the entire building can accommodate project-based learning in science, technology, engineering and math. There’s no computer lab, the architects said, because they want students and teachers to use technology everywhere they go. The heart of the building is a two-story STEM Studio, where students have space and materials to engage in learning out in the open, rather than in an enclosed lab. “No matter what’s happening in that room, every student in that school gets to experience that activity,” Brodsky said. The architects say they were able to incorporate dozens of cutting-edge education ideas because it was a new school with a clear focus.
For the original version of the article including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.ketknbc.com/news/a-school-that-acts-like-a-tech-lab

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