Phorms Campus München - Actively learning while sitting or standing

Together with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the TÜV Süd Stiftung, the Phorms Campus München has implemented the Rocket Tables pilot project – height-adjustable ergonomic tables for lessons – in a primary school class

‘The tables are excellent because we can choose whether to work seated or standing,’ says Lorella, 8. She and her fellow students in year 2 tested 23 height-adjustable tables in lessons.

Unlike traditional height-adjustable tables, the children were able to adjust the Rocket Tables themselves and use them for heights of up to 188 cm. An analysis by Huber & Köppel in 2017 into the sitting times of children and adolescents showed that students spend about 71 % of their waking hours seated. The researchers found there were various negative consequences on health from sitting for long periods. Height-adjustable tables could be a step towards solving this problem because the experts are agreed that movement-loving nursery children turn into sitting children at the latest when they are of an age to go to school, which can lead to health problems in adulthood.

During lessons, students could choose to sit or stand, and every 30 minutes the whole class actually stood for five minutes at their desks. Regularly and dynamically switching between standing and sitting in lessons is not only meant to prevent postural damage but also raise concentration, which was confirmed by Julius, an eight-year-old in year 2: ‘I thought the tables were good because they helped me concentrate better. The only slight difficulty I sometimes had was adjusting the table height.’ The name ‘Rocket’ is meant to symbolise the speed at which learning in an ergonomic classroom takes place.

Together with the Phorms primary school students, the user-friendliness and practicability of the ergonomic school tables was studied using numerous usability tests. Sandra Plümer, a primary school teacher at the Phorms Campus München, also found the adjustable tables very helpful for many children: ‘The children were able to adjust them to suit themselves, and this had a positive impact on the attention span of some students. The only thing that could perhaps be improved would be a larger work surface.’

The experiences of the Phorms year 2 students show that children as young as primary school age have no problems handling height-adjustable tables and are enthusiastic about them.

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