Current Students



Primary objects: developing a new type of furniture for the early elementary classroom

Directed by Dr. Anna Marshall-Baker, 244 pp.


The traditional North American elementary classroom is dominated by traditional passive furniture. With the continual use of the traditional typologies of desks and chairs, the classroom furniture fails to challenge the student's development and engage the imagination of the users. As research shows that children learn most through movement, emotions, and exploration, the passive furniture hinders a well-rounded learning experience. In this study, the approach for designing new furniture that fosters a sense of creativity, independence, and active learning is not only guided by the researcher's experiences, but also involves insight from elementary students and teachers. This thesis investigation used a participatory approach to enable the examination of the current activities and interactions occurring within the first and second grade classroom. Using the characteristics of middle childhood, the third teacher theory, and affordance, the researcher developed a line of furniture for active learning that enables the students to shape their learning environment and experience. The resulting classroom furniture provides for intimate interactions, physical activity, social development, and personal customization.

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