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General Science and Teaching

Classroom Setup

Author Post
Rebekah Tetzloff Rebekah Tetzloff 105 Points


For those of you who do not have a lab classroom I would like to know how you enjoy setting up your classroom? I like the idea of going against the traditional set up of all the desks/tables facing the front. So I would like to learn what worked best for some teachers and what did not and maybe explain why? Thank you for your suggestions and help!


Charissa Barnhill Charissa Barnhill 2434 Points

I like to move my desks around depending on the activity we are doing. Sometimes the desks are in groups of 4 (or 5) and sometimes I have them sitting with a partner. I hardly ever have them sitting away from someone unless we are taking a test. I find it is important for them to sit near someone so they can discuss ideas with each other and they often help each other when working on assignments. 

Callie Cook Callie Cook 714 Points

I have seen a lot of books that always suggest for the first few weeks of school to have all of the desk facing the front of the class. This helps to elimate a lot of early on problems. This also gives the students time to adjust to your way of teaching. After that I prefer groups of 2-4 depending on your classroom space. This way you can allow for a lot of group work if you prefer that style. 

Olivia Frick Olivia Frick 2080 Points

Hi Bekah!

I have done multiple field experiences recently with teachers who use non-traditional seating arrangements! A lot of classrooms I have been in will do clumped desks, or use non-traditional seating like yoga mats, wiggle chairs, rocking chairs, etc. I think flexible seating helps students who need to move to focus more on content when they do not need to focus on moving! 

Harley Kitching Harley Kitching 617 Points

Hi Olivia! I like the idea of having seating available to students who like to move around. I know for me sitting in a chair that I can rock in or in hammock where I can swing really helps me focus on my work because I don't feel as confined to the space I am working in. Providing students with different seating options could potentially increase engagement and student attention because they will be more comfortable in the classroom.

Andrea Estevez Andrea Estevez 885 Points

A big part of science is learning from others and disussing ideas with others. I think the best arrangement would be seating them in groups of 4 all facing each other. There are also these chairs that roll around and have desks attached to them and a basekt under the chair for their bags and it allows them to move around easily. This would help transitiong from lectures to discusions and group activities. It makes it easier to switch up the seating arrangements. 

Bianca Loya Bianca Loya 1830 Points


InTASC standard number three deals with the learning environment. Standard three states: The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation. It is important to create a learning environment that fosters interactions, learning, and engagement.

when putting together the room or setting up we need to keep in mind the learner. one of the things I love seeing is flexible seating!
Yes they have fun seats but the fun seats are a privlage and it can be taken away if they dont use it properly.


KayLynn Luster KayLynn Luster 110 Points

Ive been in classrooms with may differnt seating arrangments and from personal experience group tables have been the best! the students are able to collaborate on appropriate assignment and really work together to explore new concepts. I think that it also is a privledge that can be taken away and the younger students really enjoy the group setting therefore there is better behavior. 

Harley Kitching Harley Kitching 617 Points

As someone who will have their own classroom very soon, this is also something I have struggled with. I have worked through my placements in classrooms that have lab stations and lab tables, but I have never seen how to creatively set up a more traditional style classroom. I like the idea of setting desks into tables for collaboration purposes, and I like to do group activities. However, when it comes time for instruction this can be very distracting and many times students will be faced away from the front of the room meaning they either have to turn their desk or contort their bodies. I am excited to step into my classroom and get to play around with the desks to create a unique feel that compliments the classroom culture I want to have.

Brittany Alao Brittany Alao 580 Points

I like having my desks in groups. This way, I don't have to worry about arranging them whenever the students need to do group work. 

Zach Millan Zach Millan 639 Points

In the past I've created block groups of 4 facing each other, however that seemed to keep students more interested in gossip rather than the lesson at hand. One setup I like is having a dispersed grid setup similar to the street grid of Barcelona; student's desks are in a spaced group of 4 with larger walkways in between these groups. This seems to make for better traffic flow in the classroom and makes moving desks into groups more controlled.

Elisa Calderon Elisa Calderon 1650 Points

Hi! I'm not currently a teacher, but am a juinor in college working towards becoming one. From the expereinces I've had in the classroom as a teacher so far and as a student still, I've come to find that in a lab setting it's good to put desks in clusters/pods. If students have group tables that works best, but with desks you can put together 4 or sometimes 5 together to create one big desk. This gets students into groups so they can work together, rather than sitting and doing work alone. So they can collaborate with one another. Hope that helps!

Jennifer Bryant Jennifer Bryant 1890 Points

Hi, I am not currently a teacher but am a senior in college that has been in many classrooms through field experiences. The most effective seating arrangement I have seen to promot group work is aroundf 4 students that face eachother. I have also seen desk groupings of 3-5 that all face the front. This worked for some students but did not lead to as much collaboration between students. 

Mary Loesing Mary Loesing 1245 Points


The Safety Advisory Board is currently looking into the topic of flexible seating.  I would be curious to know, from those of you who have this option in your classrooms, how you handle laboratories.  Do you have the traditional lab tables with the phenolic tops for lab work and then give students other seating options for collaborative work?  If you are in an elementary classroom, do your students do their lab work more traditional tables?

Our board wants to make recommendations that keep safety in mind, while examining flexiblity and student engagement.  Any information you are willing to share would be appreciated.


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