The chemistry lab is currently being remodeled. The renovated lab will consist of new equipment, a different layout, and a 3D modeling room for students to work in.
Chemistry teacher David Bergandine expects the lab to be finished soon.
Bergandine said, “It was initially expected to be finished before the school year started, but it’s a project bigger than expected. It’s beginning to look like the lab will be finished by the first week of December, but this isn’t guaranteed because it needs to be completely finished before we can use it, and it has to be proven that all the systems are operating properly before we can move in and actually use it for class.”
The chem lab workers, according to Bergandine, are “promising that soon, most everything will be installed”. After all the major equipment and furniture is installed, the workers will “finish up, and then the lab will be approved for activity”.
Students should expect to be able to start working in the chem lab around December.
The new chem lab will be different than the old one in several ways. A prominent change students will notice when first using the lab will be how open it feels. The original chem lab had workstations packed in the middle, but the new lab has working areas on the perimeter of the room, making it feel much more open.
Each workstation will have a large table connected to it, allowing for more work space. The tables can be moved around to facilitate both small and big group discussions. There will also be two ventilation hoods which will allow students to work on independent projects and for the teacher to work on things too.
“I’ll have students working on independent projects. The hood will have glass on all sides so you’ll be able to see what’s happening on the other side,” Bergandine explained.
Bergandine also said, “We’ll be able to move the stations’ tables to the middle of the room so that we can make one large conference table.”
The visual aspect of the lab will be improved as well. There will be new seating “that will be different colors, so each station will be a different color, like a red one, a green one, etc”. There will also be “open storage, in the cabinets, that … will match the colors as well,” stated Bergandine. Previously, the chem lab was fifty shades of gray – and brown – but after adding more colors, there will be more visual interest. Since each workstation will be a different color, it will be easier to tell which station belongs to which group.
There will also be technological updates to the lab.
Bergandine explained, “Each station will also have a monitor that you’ll be able to connect to when making measurements on Logger Pro.”
Currently, students are working in groups to measure data on Logger Pro, so having one monitor for each group will be helpful. Besides a monitor at each station, there will also be one at the front of the lab that will be used for projecting presentations and measurements to the whole class.
During classes in the lab, “Students will be in groups of four or five at the workstations, working together on group projects, lab projects, calculations, developing a presentation, whatever it might be,” said Bergandine. The layout of the chem lab and the new equipment will make it easier to work in both groups and as a class.
An old chemical storeroom will now be used for a new purpose.
Bergandine explained, “What we’ve talked about using this room for is a Maker Lab. Students will have access to 3D printers, laser cutters, and other kinds of tools. Mr. Wilson might put some of his VR equipment up in here. This room will become sort of a 3D modeling space where you can make things that are either real or virtual.”
The original lab had tables for 3D printing mixed in with tables used for chemical experiments. However, having a room for chemical experiments and a separate room for 3D modeling will definitely improve things, as there will be more room in the chemical experiments area of the lab.
Several students said that if they had access to a chem lab, their chemistry class would consist of a more hands-on approach then the current lectures and online labs, so they, according to May Yang, “would be able to visualize all the things [the teacher] is talking about”.
Aryan Lalwani stated, “I think [not having a chem lab] is different because we’re taking a less hands-on approach so it’s a little bit harder to learn.”
A couple of upperclassmen then spoke about how having a chem lab affected their chemistry class. Asante Woods, a senior, said, “I feel like the lab allowed us to apply the principles we were learning in class. We were able to apply what we learned in the lab, and it was more hands-on. In the lab, you’re allowed to do hands-on activities instead of just sitting and listening to a lecture.”
Tina Wayne, another senior, said, “A chem lab is necessary for a chemistry class.”
When the chem lab is finished and ready for use, students will be able to learn from hands-on activities, make use of new equipment, and overall have a much better chemistry class experience.