Environmental Qualities of Elementary Classrooms

pi_name

Megan Franke

pi_email

mfranke@ucla.edu

pi_phone

pi_department

SE&IS

pi_title

Professor, Director of CONNECT

pi_title_other

ucla_faculty_sponsor

other_key_personnel

Christine Lee
Sandra Smith
Emily Chmielewski

abstract

This year, the UCLA Lab School will research how the architectural designs, rooted in Richard Neutra and Principal Seed's vision, have impacted the current environmental quality of our classrooms. With rising temperatures, understanding how classrooms can be built and designed to combat heat waves has never been more important. Through a school-wide survey, this study investigates the air quality, thermal comfort (temperature), acoustics, and lighting of Lab School classrooms. Findings from this study will speak to designers, architects, and educators in understanding how schools can be future-proofed in ways that address ongoing climate change.

project_summary

As we live in a time of global disruption, from the pandemic to climate change, schools have had to adapt to continue supporting their students. More recently, the rising temperatures and heat waves underscored the importance of understanding how climate conditions impact the indoor/outdoor environmental quality for our teachers and students. As a result, designers, architects, and educators alike are experiencing the need to know how we can modify and future proof our schools and classrooms. While studies have shown the importance of environmental qualities like fresh air and sunlight to learning, very few studies attempt to look at multiple environmental qualities in tandem. Therefore, this study aims to examine how multiple environmental variables (acoustics, lighting, etc.) work together in addressing how we design and build for future climate conditions. The data source for this study will be a 20 minute survey that asks Lab School faculty and students for information on four environmental qualities: (1) air quality, (2) thermal comfort/temperature, (3) acoustics, and (4) lighting.

goals

This research study examines how the school’s architectural designs, rooted in Richard Neutra and Principal Seed's vision, have impacted the environmental quality of our classrooms. As we face climate change, the need to understand how schools can adapt and be more resilient to heat waves has never been more important. Therefore, we ask: What are the environmental qualities of our classrooms? Specifically, we aim to understand the air quality, thermal comfort/temperature, acoustics, and lighting of our classrooms as we experience some of the hottest temperatures of the school year. Findings from this study will speak to designers, architects, and educators in understanding how schools can be future-proofed in ways that address ongoing climate change.

benefits_of_research

Findings from this research will not only shed light on the environmental qualities of our classrooms, but it can help us understand how climate conditions impact the Lab School community. Furthermore, as the Lab School is designed by Richard Neutra, there are architectural implications that contribute to the field of design. Neutra's unique design approach of using biorealism--bluring the indoor and outdoor spaces may provide invaluable insight to the design and build of schools as we strive to future proof our classrooms for ongoing and future climate changes.

dissemination/publications

White papers, journal articles, and conference presentations.

numer_of_subjects

500

selection_criteria

All Lab School faculty and students.

methods

This study aims to examine the environmental qualities of Lab School classrooms. Specifically, we aim to understand the following four qualities: (1) air quality, (2) thermal comfort/temperature, (3) acoustics, and (4) lighting. The data source for this study will be a 20 minute survey that asks Lab School faculty and students for information on the four qualities mentioned above (e.g. What is the temperature usually like for you? How does the air quality usually feel in this space in the school?). The Lab School is in the process of collecting classroom data from sensors that measure classroom's CO2 levels, sunlight, acoustic levels, and temperature. We plan on using these measurements along with surveys to address the goals of our study.
We will administer two versions of the student surveys-- students in PreK-2nd grade (4-8yrs old) will have a modified/shortened version of the survey. The students in PreK-2nd will also be given a physical copy of the survey, while Lab School faculty and students in grades 3-6 will use a SurveyMonkey link.

instruments


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instruments_other

instrument_explanations

The goal of our survey is to gain insight on the following four qualities of our classrooms: (1) air quality, (2) thermal comfort/temperature, (3) acoustics, and (4) lighting.

justification_of_methods

Survey questions will reveal Lab School community members' environmental experiences of their classrooms/buildings.

separate_informed_consent

No

risk_minimization

No anticipated risks.

deception_debriefing

N/A

confidentiality_data_storage

Identifiable data will not be collected or maintained.

other_notes

relationship_prior_contact

This study has been developed by Lab School community members and CONNECT.

teachers_staff_consent

ucla_lab_school_personnel_involved

CONNECT Research staff

room_numbers

All

academic_topic

information_from_ucla_lab_school_database

None

special_requirements_at_ucla_lab_school

None

estimated_start_date

estimated_end_date

irb

#22-007221

irb_approval

attachments


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