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A New Science Lab is Poised to Enhance the Student Experience at HHHS

From the moment students step into the new Biomed Suite at Hendrick Hudson High School, every step makes sense. They can store belongings, charge devices, find supplies, build projects, conduct experiments, share findings, and discuss analysis — all in a purposeful way and in one unified space.

“Given the project and lab-based nature of these courses, everybody needed more space to work well and to work safely,” said Dr. Jeanine Hall, the Biomed teacher at HHHS. “I think the students appreciate all of the attention to detail that was put into planning this space.”

The new lab, Room 9, which is located just below the building’s main level, opened its doors in March after years of planning and months of reconfiguration. It’s now a centerpiece in Hendrick Hudson’s award-winning Project Lead the Way program, which includes Dr. Hall’s Biomedical Sciences courses.

“The use of this space as a Biomed lab codifies the importance of the PLTW program and success of the Biomed experiences at HHHS,” principal Lauren Scollins said. “This lab creates a real-world lab environment that will enhance the student experience.”

That was the objective: To create a science lab that better simulates what students will encounter in a real-world setting. The program has accomplished that through field trips to active labs, but the new Biomed Suite will recreate those experiences every day.

“This space helps us to do a better job of preparing students for the collegiate and corporate world,” Dr. Hall said.

The PLTW program is project-based and teaches students to collaborate and think in a more open-ended way, Dr. Hall said. The new space better allows them to achieve that goal.

Cubbies line the wall when students enter and can store all of their belongings. They can bring laptops to high-top tables that each include electrical outlets, a charging station, a microscope, a craft box, and storage. There is a separate wet lab area where students can perform experiments away from their tables.

The walls of the room are lined with models and storage cabinets, the latter holding various supplies, from more craft items to bones. They were recently asked to create models of lungs. “They can be creative,” Dr. Hall said. “What can I make lungs out of?”

Materials like these were previously stored outside of the Biomed classroom rather than being on hand at all times.

In addition to lab and workspaces, the new Biomed Suite has two SMART Boards. Students can share their work with the rest of the class and present their findings. One of the SMART Boards is located in front of a large, square seating area that is meant to simulate a boardroom.

“Collaboration is really key, and this new setup allows the students to collaborate more easily,” Dr. Hall said. “The traditional setup doesn’t foster interaction like this student-focused space does.”

Dr. Hall said her students are asked to provide “innovative solutions to everyday problems.” In every respect, the new Biomed Suite will push them to achieve that goal.

“I’m excited about this forward-thinking new space in our school. It’s a very positive addition from which many students will benefit,” Dr. Hall said.