Friday, May 14, 2010
When I first started teaching middle school science, I had the privilege of working in the most beautiful science lab known to middle school teachers. It was only a few years old and looked like it came straight from the catalog - wow!
The thing is, it didn't look much like a middle school classroom... it didn't even look like most high school labs I've been in... it looked like a university lab. Lab tables filled with drawers and tons of glass fronted cabinets. Like I said... beautiful.
However, I wanted to make it a bit more middle-school-friendly (and hide some of the stuff in the cabinets - glass front is beautiful when you have your beakers neatly organized, but sometimes you just need a place to put stuff and you don't want everyone to see it).
I measured the glass in each cabinet and cut fadeless bulletin board paper (a little pricey, but it worked really well for this project - the width was perfect and the fade-less aspect was really nice - this was a big project, I really didn't want to recreate it every year) to size. Then I wrote quotes on some of the papers. The finished papers were taped into the cabinets.
Sadly, I can't seem to locate a picture of the classroom after the quotes were up, so you'll have to take my word for it that it made a huge difference. The brightly colored papers made the room more cheerful and welcoming, the quotes sparked some interest amongst students, and the stuff in my cabinets was no longer visible to the world!
Here are the quotes I used:
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
Science... never solves a problem without creating ten more.
--George Bernard Shaw
The most important thing is not to stop questioning.
Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
We are each entitled to our own opinions, but no one is entitled to his own facts.
Science is common sense at its best.
The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.
Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.
Anybody who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.
--Robert M. Pirsig