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Students Design a Classroom

Sprague second-graders take notes while sitting on chairs they made out of cardboard. Their desktop is, of course, cardboard material, too. When browsing through their classroom library, students select a favorite book from their cardboard shelf. 

As part of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) project students in Enrichment Specialist Christie Wylie’s class decided they wanted to design and build their very own classroom.

Students created multiple designs. Some students worked on the larger structure of the room, others worked on building the details. They crafted furniture from smaller cardboard boxes and used screws to attach softer styrofoam to cushion the seats.  Out of the packing material, they created bookshelves for a library, iPads, iPad chargers, pencil holders, cardboard laptop computers, a SMART Board, a world map, and even a doorbell. 

The two-room classroom was made possible through the repurposing of SMART Technologies packaging after Smart Boards were removed from the boxes. 

“Along the way we discussed why certain materials were key to the structure. We looked at materials used in other countries to build classrooms. We also brought in the environmental aspect discussing how some individuals use cardboard as a shelter to protect themselves,” Mrs. Wylie said. “Students learned to work together and trust one another. They honored each other’s creative ideas and did not take apart what someone else had added to the classroom design,” she said. 

The classroom within a classroom has truly become a flexible learning space that encourages independent learning.  The children created two separate spaces. They wanted to have one room which had more of an open concept design to foster collaboration and made a smaller room with a ceiling, which felt more “cozy” and provided space for quiet reading and reflection.  

It’s a fact that this flexible learning space is a huge hit!  Better yet, it was student-designed, student-created and free!