|Westford Public Schools’ Living Lab, located at the Norman E. Day School, is designed for Grades K-5 students to explore their world using scientific and engineering practices. Living Lab includes two dedicated indoor labs, an outdoor classroom, an outdoor catwalk to a deck overlooking a brook habitat, a greenhouse, and a rain
garden. Through hands-on explorations and activities, students design scientific investigations at the Reed Brook, where all domains of science come to life.
The Living Lab is directed by Elaine Santelmann, K-5 Science and Social Studies Coordinator for the Westford Public Schools. She is a botanist by training, and is joined in instruction at the Living Lab by Ali Sacknowitz, a geologist. The third Living Lab teacher is Valerie Trantanella, who has been working with students at the Living Lab for several years.
The themes include:
Grade 1: Blowing in the Wind, an integral part of their Weather unit;
Grade 2: Quilting Bee; an integral part of their Life Cycle of the Butterfly and Frog unit;
Grade 3: Rock Concert, an integral part of their Plant Growth and Development and Rocks and Minerals units;
Grade 4: Shake Rattle and Roll, an integral part of their Land and Water unit;
Grade 5: Brook Book, an integral part of their Ecosystems and Animal Studies units. As scientists in the field share their knowledge and projects with the public, so do the Westford student scientists and artists showcase their work with the public at Living Lab Galas, held at the end of each school year.