“Math hive” STEM Center.
client10 School “Theodor Trayanov”
usersPrimary and secondary school students and teachers
The school had high hopes to set a new standard for educational spaces in Bulgaria by creating an innovative STEM center. However, the designated classrooms and corridor could not be joined together because of fire safety and structural issues. The spaces remained isolated, unlike a true educational center.
The school’s headmaster wanted to truly light a spark in students and make them more engaged and motivated, especially given that math was the primary subject matter, which children usually have a hard time with.
Another challenge was the vast, long and bleak corridor connecting the classrooms and the toilets, where fire safety prohibited the placement of any furniture. Interestingly enough, students liked to hang out there, just because they could run freely. That however, made the teachers anxious and created significant tension on a daily basis.
We managed to connect two of the classrooms with a large foldable door. Despite that the structure impeded us to connect physically or visually the rooms, we still managed to create a common experience; every space is unique and precisely this motivates students to explore the different spaces: one where you sit down and research; another for brainstorming and creating physical and digital prototypes, one with less furniture for gatherings, presentations and discussions.
We used bold colors abundantly to ignite students’ brains and creative energy. We felt safe to use such а palette since we knew children spent only a couple of hours in the STEM center weekly and we wanted to make them memorable. The “red stage” for example imitates the “TEDx” red carpet for presentations. The dark blue ceiling acts as a backdrop for the lights where the more inquisitive astronomy lovers will recognise the primary constellations.
Finally, we took advantage of the long corridor where we decided to encourage even more the students’ need to move by placing a 20-meter long horizontal climbing wall. Climbing has been known to focus children's attention and be beneficial for their body and brain development. At the same time, the wall slowed down the constant running in the corridor while still keeping and even enhancing the socialization function which children craved.