Biology, chemistry teachers renovate classrooms with new laboratory stations

Science+teacher+Andrew+Gartner%E2%80%99s+renovated+classroom%2C+Room+112%2C+features+new+lab+stations+in+the+%22batwing%22+style.+Teachers+in+the+Science+Department+were+able+to+choose+this+style+or+have+lab+and+lecture+tables+separate.

Sylvester Seo

Science teacher Andrew Gartner’s renovated classroom, Room 112, features new lab stations in the “batwing” style. Teachers in the Science Department were able to choose this style or have lab and lecture tables separate.

Henry Lee

When students return to campus for hybrid learning next week, they will see “batwing” style lab stations in many of their science classes.

“Our science department is really, really strong and our science teachers have been working in old, outdated labs for a long time,” principal Allen Whitten said. “I am just thrilled that our students and our staff get state-of-the-art and best science classrooms money can buy.”

The $2 million renovation —  including new windows, desks, flooring, whiteboards and cabinets — to the 10 classrooms began March 10 and ended Sept. 10 and was funded by Measure I bond money, which Fullerton voters had approved for school improvement projects, Whitten said.

The principal said teachers were given the option between the batwing style in which students sit at lab stations for lecture and lab activities or sit at desks for lab and lecture.

Chemistry teachers Andrew Gartner and Alexander Hua said they decided to arrange their classrooms batwing-style, named after the dark countertops and grouping of two tables to resemble a bat’s wings.

“Before, we had a classroom and then we had a lab, but now, the whole room is a lab,” Gartner said. “When in class, a group of four will have access to a sink, water, gas and electricity, so basically there’s more opportunities to just break out into a lab activity.”

The science teacher said the benefit of the new lab design is that instead of having to move everyone’s personal belongings to a different lab station and have the students go from place to place like in the past, they just work from where they’re seated.

Hua also said the lab activities with the new style set up in his class could lead to more interaction among clustered students.

“I love it when students can collaborate so the batwing-style tables allow students to be close to each other for group work and labs,” he said. “The new lab tables will make lab assignments much smoother.”

Biology teacher Mike Schade chose to keep the lab stations and desks separated in his classroom. 

“My room stayed pretty similar since it has served us well for many years,” Schade said. “They added an extra lab table, which will make groups smaller but the classroom more crowded.”

I am just thrilled that our students and our staff get state-of-the-art and best science classrooms money can buy.”

— Allen Whitten

Although junior Clara Aulisio plans to learn from home still when hybrid learning starts Nov. 2, she hopes to one day see what updates were done to the lab’s pressure control.

“I’m assuming that the pressure control is fixed because it was a little crazy before,” said Aulisio, who’s taking Advanced Placement Chemistry this school year. “It would be nice to see them in person so I could judge it for myself, but that’s not the way things are right now.”

Sophomore Ricardo Gonzalez, who is taking Honors Chemistry and is scheduled to return to campus Nov. 2, said he is excited to use the new equipment and tools.

“Science is one of my favorite subjects, so I am personally very excited to be able to use the new tools and equipment when we eventually return to school,” Gonzalez said.

This story originally appeared in the Oct. 30 print issue, which can be read here.