Working in a Chemistry Lab

63 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Students will be able to identify how to safely work in a chemistry laboratory including proper lab techniques and use of equipment through watching a safety video, performing an equipment activity, reviewing a safety contract, and completing a quiz.

Big Idea

Lab safety and identification of lab equipment are crucial for success in chemistry class.


The goal of this lesson is for students to understand how to safely work in a chemistry lab which is necessary for Science and Engineering Practice #3- Planning and Carrying out Investigations.

Students do several activities to prepare for working in a chemistry lab including brainstorming with their peers, watching a video, doing a lab equipment activity, and taking a safety quiz.

For this lesson students need access to whiteboards as well as various types of lab equipment as is shown in the lab equipment activity.


10 minutes

At the start of the lesson I ask students to think about their previous science experiences, and with their groups come up with a list of some of the important things to keep in mind regarding safety, while working in a science lab.  I provide whiteboards and markers in the middle of the tables so that students can record their answers. 

After giving students roughly 5 minutes to think with their groups I call on the groups and have them share out.  As they share out I write their ideas on the whiteboard.  Many of my students come up with wearing goggles, reading procedures, and staying on task.  After reviewing as a class I let students know that the goal for today's lesson is to make sure that they are prepared for working in a chemistry lab.


20 minutes

In this section students watch a 17 minute video: The Chem Games Lab Safety and answer a half-sheet paper of questions while they watch.  See attached questions and answer key.  This video gives an overview of some of the important things to keep in mind while working in a chemistry lab setting.  It is available through discovery education and YouTube. 

I have attached the wmv file as well 


20 minutes

The goal of this section is for students to identify some of the lab equipment that will be used in various labs throughout the year through performing an activity

In this section students work in their groups to walk around the classroom and identify 22 different pieces of lab equipment.  I set up the 22 pieces randomly around the room with letters and names attached to them.  This picture has an example of several pieces with letters 

The goal is for students to walk up to the objects, look at them, identify the name of the object and record the letter that is next to the object.  Then, on the back side of the paper students match each piece of equipment with its use.   Because students have not used the equipment before they do not necessarily know the uses of the equipment so they must infer based on what the equipment looks like what it is used for.  As students work on this I walk around the classroom and encourage them to think about what the equipment looks like to decipher their uses, and that it is okay to write down guesses if they are not positive of the answer.  

As students get done with the activity I review the answers while walking around the stations and holding up the equipment as I explain the uses of each. Here is a copy of the answer key.

This video reviews how I do this activity with my students.


30 minutes

This is the final part of the lesson where students read over the lab safety contract.  I give students about 10 minutes to read over on their own and then I highlight some of the important parts of the agreement such as location of safety shower, eye wash station, fire blanket, and fire extinguisher.

As an assessment for the unit I give students a lab safety_quiz.  I allow students to use their safety contracts while doing the quiz.  When students are done with their quizzes I have them turn in to me and I grade them, record their score and return to them.

The most common missed questions are #1 where students think its a trick question, and #7 where students think they can just throw away chemicals in the trash.  The goal is to have a record that students have read the contract and answered questions regarding it, so if they get any questions incorrect they must fix their answers and turn back into me.  The answer key shows an example of how a student missed a question (#1) and how they then had to answer it (as can be seen in highlighted answer).