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Brick Elementary School Unveils Classroom Based on Google HQ

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Sean Gilson, 9, shows off the mechanical device he made at Emma Havens Young Elementary School's 'movement' classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Sean Gilson, 9, shows off the mechanical device he made at Emma Havens Young Elementary School’s ‘movement’ classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Is it a classroom, or the headquarters of Google?

Brick’s Emma Havens Young Elementary School recently began teaching classes in a room that allows for movement, interaction and enjoyment during learning, and studies have shown that kind of classroom – or workplace – gets results, according to officials.

The so-called “Movement of the Mind” classroom featured objects that, literally, keep students moving while completing projects. Students can sit on an inflatable chair that bounces, stand on a board that wobbles from side to side or peddle a stationary bicycle while completing a project. It is based on the design of the work spaces at several tech firms, including Google and Facebook.

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“There’s extensive research that shows when kids are moving, they perform much better – even if it’s down to something as simple as holding a resistance band,” said Principal Patricia Lorusso, who herself earned her school grant funding from OceanFirst Bank that paid for the conversion.

The room offers numerous stations that can be used for multiple subject areas. It takes about nine weeks for students to experience all of the stations, said Lorusso. Every teacher, including special education teachers, has access to the room and many are already designing lessons specially designed for the open environment.

Sean Gilson, 9, shows off the mechanical device he made at Emma Havens Young Elementary School's 'movement' classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Emma Havens Young Elementary School’s ‘movement’ classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Sean Gilson, 9, shows off the mechanical device he made at Emma Havens Young Elementary School's 'movement' classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Emma Havens Young Elementary School’s ‘movement’ classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Students can interact with puppets they design, bounce up and down while learning on an iPad, or build just about anything they can imagine at a building station. There are even yoga-based lessons for the elementary school’s students.

Whatever you can think of, you can build it,” said Sean Gilson, 9, who was using the building station to create a mechanical rolling device using a rubber band and toothpick.

“It helps with your multi-tasking skills and your focusing skills,” the fourth-grader said. “Everyone can multi-task and use their skills a lot.”

Sean Gilson, 9, shows off the mechanical device he made at Emma Havens Young Elementary School's 'movement' classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Emma Havens Young Elementary School’s ‘movement’ classroom. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

“We did a lot of research, and we played off the office at Google,” Lorusso said. I reached out to some architects and told them about the vision to change it into stations where the kids can always move.”

Lorusso said the project took two years to design.

“We’re going to enjoy this room for many years to come,” she said.


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