Safety Tips For School Science Labs
As a science teacher, you look forward to molding young minds and teaching the children the value of science. When you have access to a science lab, planning activities can be fun and exciting, but also dangerous. Any science teacher who offers lab work as part of the class should focus on creating a safe environment for students. But how do you ensure student safety? Below are a few tips to consider when introducing a new class to your science labs.
The first step to ensuring that students are safe is to provide training in the lab. Explain the general procedures in the lab such as how students should handle chemicals, the burners, etc. Go into great detail about the general procedures of the lab so each child fully understands how they should conduct themselves in the lab. Provide a handout of procedures and keep a copy posted in the classroom for reference.
Discuss Safety Protocols
Science teachers should also focus on discussing safety protocols before any laboratory work begins. Safety hazards, as well as requirements, should be considered based on the project at hand. Before you begin a lab, it is beneficial to discuss what chemicals or compounds will be used and how they should be handled.
Always make sure students know that they are required to wear safety goggles as well as any other equipment you provide. Students should be required to take home a safety contract, go over it with their parents, and return it to school, signed by parents and the student. Keep this contract on file so you refer back to it with a student who does not follow the rules.
Be sure to point out that the experiments you offer will be fun and exciting but also dangerous. Reiterate that you have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to safety violations. Talk to your students repeatedly about safety so they fully understand.
Another issue that many new science teachers do not consider is the formation of lab groups. In many instances, it is best to let the kids partner up themselves so there is no fighting during lab work between partners who do not get along. Also, to consider is the size of the workstation. Smaller stations will work with only two students while larger stations can accommodate groups of 4 or more. It is important to formulate groups, so the experiment can be conducted as well as everyone getting to take part.
Because you will be dealing with hundreds of students on a daily basis, it is essential that you are organized. Have storage solutions within the classroom that will house the chemicals or tools used for the day, with easy access for students. It is also beneficial to have mobile stations so that you can move items and tools around for demonstrations or other needs.
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