A new school with a fresh new approach to learning, St. Anthony Catholic School in Madison, Mississippi, needed a science lab with equipment and furnishings as innovative as the school’s hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum. With less than one year until opening day, Principal Angela Brunini turned to Sheldon Labs to create that lab.
“In their initial meetings with our teachers, Sheldon listened when we described what we were trying to accomplish, then encouraged our teachers to think beyond what they were accustomed to in order to build something more dynamic,” Brunini says. “That’s where the magic happened. Anyone can just build something. Sheldon takes their own knowledge and experience and then allows the teachers to add their educational expertise to the design. The result is furniture that truly enhances learning.”
The collaboration between Sheldon and St. Anthony’s resulted in a state-of-the-art science lab complete with products designed specifically for St. Anthony.
“Sheldon worked with me to design customized tabletops that were pre-printed with data tables in the center, and also included blank space that allowed the children to draw diagrams and show their work directly on the tables,” says Vicki Moorehead, St. Anthony science teacher. “The students find these tabletops very engaging – after all, what child doesn’t want to draw on the table?”
St. Anthony’s relationship with Sheldon didn’t stop in the science lab. The company also helped the school develop a hands-on mathematics lab and classroom.
“My biggest challenge was making the vision I had in my head for addressing all of my individual students’ learning needs a reality,” says math teacher Penny Mack. “I was unable to find any examples of math labs out there that fulfilled my vision. Sheldon’s president and designers came and spoke with me personally. They visited my classroom while students were present so they could see first-hand how I teach. We spoke about learning styles, arts integration, critical thinking activities, and hands-on math.”
Sheldon then created a one-of-a-kind mathematics lab for Mack that included small group instruction areas, manipulative stations, and dry erase workstations that are also used by the St. Anthony writing teacher.
“The lab has helped immensely with several of our students in both subject areas,” Mack says. “All children learn differently and use these resources to help them learn, but I find that the child who normally struggles soars in this environment. Even when they’ve completed the tasks required of them, the students quickly jump into something else to continue to ‘play’ in the lab. Last year, a group of students combined a lesson they’d learned in science with a mathematical domino activity, and created a new game that spanned half of the classroom. Some of my graduates who are now in high school even return to St. Anthony to do their homework in our math lab.”
By St. Anthony’s third year of operation, the school had improved its students’ standardized test scores in every subject area.
Brunini credits these exceptional test scores in part to the exploratory, hands-on learning processes embodied in Sheldon products.
“The Sheldon products showcased in our science and math labs not only make students eager to learn and spark their imaginations, but also empower our staff,” Brunini says. “Instead of just explaining a concept, our teachers can use Sheldon’s products to demonstrate and explore those concepts. Sheldon helps St. Anthony bring learning to life for our students, and fulfills the needs of the teacher like no other company.”
Sheldon Laboratory Systems’ mission is to design and manufacture the most innovative and high-quality products for the laboratory furniture and furnishings marketplace, www.sheldonlabs.com.