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Volume 15, Number 1
January/February 1999

Design Fosters Learning at Zoo School

 

If any school can claim to exemplify cutting-edge thinking about knitting school design together with effective teaching and learning, it's the Zoo School. Formally the School of Environmental Studies, the Zoo School is an alternative high school in Apple Valley, a suburb of Minneapolis that happens to be located next door to the Minnesota Zoo.

George H. Copa, an education professor at Oregon State University, recommends that every school have a "learning signature"—a purpose or guiding theme (see "School Design Can Say a Lot About Teaching and Learning," p. 5). At the Zoo School, one of the first signs to greet someone, Copa points out, is a wall covered entirely with climbing plants. Nearby are aquariums, and running through the halls is the school's own dog. "Right away, you know what the school's about," Copa say s of its environmental focus.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.

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