A Project-Based Learning Environment

Lester J. Gates Middle School

Scituate, MA

“This building reflects what students told us they needed. It was built to accommodate collaborative teaching and learning.”

– Former Scituate Public Schools Superintendent, John McCarthy

Supporting Interdisciplinary Learning

The building is organized into six interdisciplinary grade level teams, each with its own visually connected collaborative-based learning common. This organizational strategy reinforces how middle school teachers work, how students move within the building, and how middle schoolers seek a sense of belonging. Each team is composed of four learning studios, a science lab, art or maker space, teacher planning, special education space, and two small group rooms.

A Literacy-Based Learning Commons

Rather than a destination-based, centralized library, each team spills out onto a shared learning common, which also serves as the decentralized library. Books, technology, and furnishings are distributed into the heart of each team, within arm’s reach to inspire literacy and the collaboration of multiple disciplines.

A Place For Everyone

Each learning common has zones for different activities and different types of learners: cave spaces for individual quiet reading, drop-in presentation zones, and large group gathering areas. Collectively, these spaces provide students with the opportunity to choose a learning environment that aligns with their own learning modalities.