Safety in the Science Classroom Science teachers have a unique, added classroom management responsibility. We encourage students to purposely use and manipulate scientific equipment, living specimens, and chemicals in order to learn science.
Liabilities • In addition to teaching, you are responsible for keeping students safe in the lab. • “If you can reasonably foresee the consequences of what you are about to do or not about to do, you will be held responsible.”(Flinn, 2000) • You must explicitly teach and enforce safety in the science lab just as you teach and enforce your classroom procedures.
Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) Topic: Habits of Mind SCSH2. Students will use standard safety practices for all classroom laboratory and field investigations. a. Follow correct procedures for use of scientific apparatus. b. Demonstrate appropriate techniques in all laboratory situations. c. Follow correct protocol for identifying and reporting safety problems and violations.
Safety Considerations • Identify and locate the safety features in your lab room (which is often your classroom). • If you are doing labs in a class room, you must determine if the activity can be completed safely without the lab safety features. • Teach students to “dress for success”. • Devise and require a signed age and subject specific safety contract that spells out your safety rules and the consequences of not following these rules.
Safety Considerations cont… Have safety “drills”For example, what to do if • A student is hurt. • The teacher is incapacitated. • The electricity goes off during lab. • A fire occurs in the lab.
Safety Considerations cont… • Coordinate safety curriculum with other members of your department so you are all “on the same page” and students will not have a hard time transferring from one class to another. • Check stockrooms to determine if materials are stored safely.
Safety Considerations cont… • Any project assigned for outside of class must be assessed for safety. Independent science projects, collections, etc. must be pre-approved so you are aware of what work the student will be doing. • Any in-class lab procedures generated by the student(s) must be reviewed for safety. We do NOT turn students loose in the lab.
Implement Safety in the Classroom • Rather than confining safety issues to an introductory unit, introduce safe procedures with each exploration and repeat safety instructions. • Model safe behaviors. • Have students share responsibility for monitoring safe procedures. • Provide modifications to accommodate all students. • Minimize the potential for disruptive behavior with shorter and more specific tasks. • Plan time to train assistants needed to support students who need them. (Texley, 2004)
Implement Safety in the Classroom cont… • Insist on the proper use of eye protection (goggles) and aprons. • Become familiar with school policies and federal, state, and local laws. • Ensure that safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets, safety showers, and eyewashes are operational and accessible. • Document all safety-related activities. • Assess your safety lessons, and keep detailed records. (Texley, 2004)
Implement Safety in the Classroom cont…Physics/Earth Science • Before beginning activities, instruct students on safe procedures and safety mechanisms for tools and equipment. • Never allow the tasting of specimens and insist on proper hand washing. • Never permit direct observation of the Sun. • Make sure all electrical connections are safe and conform to code. • Plan ahead and remove any physical barriers (tripping or falling hazards). (Texley, 2004)
Implement Safety in the Classroom cont…Biology • Ensure adequate safety and security of classroom organisms. • Do NOT bring wild or feral animals, dead or alive, into the classroom. • Avoid organisms that are toxic, highly allergenic, or temperamental. • Properly use and dispose of cultures. • Ensure correct use and changing of surgical blades. (Texley, 2004)
Implement Safety in the Classroom cont…Chemistry • Conduct science activities in adequate facilities and ensure necessary safety equipment are operational and accessible. • Store chemical stocks in well-organized locked cabinets. • Clearly mark all chemicals and maintain a MSDS for every product. • Mix and use chemicals correctly. • Properly dispose of all waste chemicals and broken glassware. (Texley, 2004)
Implement Safety in the Classroom cont…Outdoors • Preview the site and adjacent properties before planning the field study. • Determine proper clothing and footwear for the site and activities planned. • Meet with cooperating resource people to plan activities. • Orient and train all chaperones on safety precautions. • Plan appropriate accommodations for special needs and physically disabled students. (Texley, 2004)
Helpful Safety Resources Flinn Scientific, Inc. http://www.flinnsci.com/Sections/Safety/safety.asp Science Education Safety http://csss.enc.org/safety Investigating Safely by Juliana Texley, Terry Kwan, and John Summers
Additional Resources Material Safety Data SheetsFlinn has MSDS available onlinehttp://www.flinnsci.com/search_MSDS.asp Safe Science Series-National Science Education Leadership Associationhttp://www.nsela.org/roysafe.htm Attend a Lab safety workshophttp://www.labsafety.org/
Safety Conclusion Save Arms Feet Eyes Torso and You Prepare, plan, prevent, and protect.