The purpose of this study was to explore the differences between science students' and teachers' perceptions of laboratory environments. More than 1000 junior high school students and their science teachers in Taiwan were surveyed. The students showed much more dissatisfaction with approaches to laboratory activities than their teachers. They preferred a much more student-cohesive, open-ended, integrated and rule-clear laboratory environment than their teachers expected or preferred. However, the teachers sampled showed higher preferences for better equipment and material environments for laboratory work than did their students. Data from follow-up interviews with participant teachers suggested that epistemological views about science might be one of the important factors causing differences in perceptions between students and teachers of laboratory learning environments.