Shady Side Academy Middle School labs get overhauled
Summer upgrades to Shady Side Academy Middle School science labs are aimed at providing improved space for hands-on student investigations.
Contractors have gutted the sixth- and eighth-grade labs at the school along Squaw Run Road East in Fox Chapel in preparation for a $215,000 overhaul.
The seventh-grade classroom is scheduled for a facelift next year.
“The renovations to the sixth-grade lab will give a more flexible work space with moveable stations that can be set up to facilitate group work,” said Earth Science Teacher Matt Brunner.
A reconfigured space will give Brunner the chance to do more inquiry-based lessons and problem-solving experiments. Work will support a curriculum shift from lecture-based learning to a student-centered approach using lab samples and specimens to learn the material, he said.
School Head Amy Nixon said the construction was necessary because of the focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
“It continues to move ahead at a rapid pace and our facilities need to catch up with our methods,” she said.
Both labs will be streamlined to make room for robotics equipment and experiments. There will be new sinks, floors and LED lighting.
To support the integration of technology into the classroom, iPad docks will be installed so students can record their data as they work, Nixon said.
“The more hands-on opportunities we can give to our students, the better,” she said.
The lab renovations are not only meant to support teaching but also the school's robotics, rocketry and Science Olympiad teams that use the rooms.
The middle school robotics team competes in the First Lego League tournament where they design, build and program a robot to complete challenges.
The rocketry team takes their skills to the Team America Rocketry Challenge where students spend months building and testing a rocket to meet criteria.
“These new facilities will allow our students to really feel like scientists and engineers, and give them the great start to move ahead with a love and appreciation of scientific inquiry and science in general,” Nixon said.
The labs have not been renovated for at least 20 years. Work is expected to be completed by late August, in time for the first day of school.
Shady Side parents Sharon and Jim Rohr provided a donation to cover a portion of the work, Nixon said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Huntingdon man injured, dog dies in house fire
- Penguins notebook: After reinterpreting rule, draft pick sought for Bylsma’s hiring
- Dormont man missing since Wednesday found dead at Station Square
- Man dies in North Buffalo fire
- Steelers’ defense unfazed by noise, believes in potential
- Pirates pound Padres for 7th consecutive victory
- Kiski River searched for possible missing kayaker
- Juvenile status hearing, trial delayed in Franklin Regional stabbings
- Pittsburgh police arrest Overbrook man for Allentown playground shooting
- Project aims to control feral cat population in Pittsburgh area
- Women’s resale boutique in Ross channels profits to animal charities