Sit Still No More

Social Studies Lab Remodeled


Andrew Patra

Students work during their Social Studies class in the updated Social Studies lab that is designed to make learning easier and make the space more flexible to both the needs of students and teachers.

Have you ever had trouble focusing when sitting still in the hard plastic chairs during class? Worry no more! The Social Studies department computer lab has recently gone through a remodel, with new furniture and a facelift.
“It started a couple of years ago, we realized that with the one to one, and students having their own computers, that we didn’t need a whole lab of computers, we needed a different kind of space,” said Social Studies teacher Deanne Bucher. She began researching what could be done differently with the space two summers ago, and found samples of furniture similar to what is currently in the lab.

The money for this project came in part from the senior gift of the class of 2013, and in part from grants. “Unfortunately, this furniture cost four times as much as the money we had. It would have cost 40,000 dollars to do this,” said Bucher. The organization that gave them the grant will be studying how the students and teachers utilize the new furniture. With the support from the grant, Monarch paid a fourth of the original cost for the new furniture, paying only 10,000 dollars.

The new set up of the lab is focused on flexibility, with chairs, desks and tables on wheels that allow students to work in large or small groups. “The different kinds of chairs have a purpose also, and all of them move, so it is supposed to be better for you physically, and you are supposed to learn better if you can move,” said Bucher, “It keeps you awake and focused because you’re not trying so hard to just hold still, because you can move in all kinds of weird ways. And the kids do, which is going to take some teachers getting used to.”

Some of the tables have outlets on top of them so students can plug in their personal computers and and still work in groups. “It’s not quite done yet, we are still waiting on one big instillation. On that blank wall there will be two large, large screen TV’s,” explained Bucher. These televisions will plug into student computers, so they can display group projects so the entire group can see them, or so students can present to the class.

In addition to the televisions, there will be some original artwork decorating the walls of the lab, which were gathered from a photographer, who was former social studies teacher and is a friend of Bucher. “This was a project for the honor society, all of these photos are US vets, war vets, we have their stories all typed up, so we will decorate the room with all these great photos of these wonderful people,” said Bucher.

Without the help from the Social Studies Honor Society with painting, cleaning, and acquiring artwork, and the Da Vinci lab with making models of what the lab may look like, this project would not have been possible.

Bucher said, “I think we all like being in a place that’s fresh. I think they’re having fun.”