Ensuring Lab Safety

43 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT summarize proper lab safety precautions and identify safety equipment necessary to properly complete a lab activity.

Big Idea

Lab safety is the cornerstone of an effective lab-science classroom. This lesson will review proper lab safety procedures, identify available safety equipment in your classroom, and review the Lab Safety Contract.

Hook - Identifying Safe and Unsafe Lab Practices

5 minutes

When the students walk into the classroom, they will receive the Lab Safety Cartoon and a plastic sheet protector to take to their desk.  I ask students to put the cartoon worksheet inside the plastic sheet protector to preserve the sheet of paper that will be used by all of my classes throughout the day.  At the end of the day, my last class will separate the worksheet from the plastic sheet protector so I can easily store the paper for next year and then use the sheet protectors again tomorrow.

The students are to get out their Bell Question Sheet which is a dated record of each day's warm-up activity that occurs at the start of the class period.  For today's Bell Question, students are to create a T-chart on their paper to record their answers.  To begin, all students will label one column of their T Chart "Safe" and the other column of the T chart "Unsafe".  The students have one minute to identify and record all of the safe and unsafe behaviors they observe in the Lab Safety Cartoon. Lab Safety Cartoon - Student Work.

Once the one minute is up, students will have another minute to compare answers with their lab partner to ensure that all safe and unsafe behaviors have been identified and properly placed in their charts.  This simple collaboration continues to enable students to build confidence in one another in an effort to become successful lab partners.

The class will review the observations in a whole group discussion.  The teacher will ask for volunteers for responses with the expectation that each group will have to contribute at least one observation to the class discussion.

Direct Instruction - Lab Safety Expectations and Classroom Equipment

30 minutes

Student lab safety is the foundation that paves the way for a successful Biology course.  

As a general introduction, I will provide a Lab Safety presentation to the students.  I encourage students to only take brief notes during this activity because we will review these concepts again later during the Guided Practice (Acquiring Safe Working Habits) and Closing Activity (Lab Safety Graphic Organizer) portions of the lesson .  This presentation provides an informative and entertaining view on the essentials of lab safety.  I encourage students to raise their hand and ask questions or provide comments throughout this power point presentation.

As a follow-up to the power point presentation,  I will take the time to visually point out the location of all of the lab safety equipment in the classroom: eye wash station, goggle cabinet, sharps disposal, fire blanket, fire extinguisher, the four classroom sinks, first Aid kit, broken glass box, phone to the front office in case of an emergency, and the all important and most often used safety item in the classroom - the box of band-aids.  I notify students that they will need to be able to diagram the locations of these safety features and emphasize that they need to pay careful attention to our "Room's Safety Tour".

As a comical wrap-up to the power point presentation I will show this video clip of Miss Carrie Less exhibiting all the wrong lab safety procedures so the students have a visual as to what they should not do during the lab.  We will have a brief whole group discussion at the conclusion of the 6 minute video to brainstorm positive alternatives to Miss Carrie Less' poor laboratory behavior.

Guided Practice - Classroom Safety Review

10 minutes

I will distribute the Acquiring Safe Working Habits worksheet to each student to complete with their lab partner.  I encourage students to collaboratively complete this activity since their lab investigations throughout the year will always be in pairs or a group. 

Students may use their textbook, lecture notes, or look around the classroom to complete the questions in this activity.  For your reference, my Biology classes use the Prentice Hall Biology Book, the one with the dragon fly on the front.  

I will review the correct responses to this activity before we progress to the closing portion of the lesson to ensure all students have a strong understanding of lab safety expectations.  There will be extra emphasis placed on the students' diagram of the classroom to make sure all students are able to locate the mandatory safety  features of the classroom - fire extinguisher, eye wash, fire blanket, goggle cabinet, first aid kit, sinks, broken glass box, sharps disposal, band-aid box, and phone to the front office.

Independent Practice - Student Vision of Lab Safety

5 minutes

This activity allows students to reflect on the concepts they have learned regarding lab safety and incorporate them into the Lab Safety Graphic Organizer.  The graphic organizer will encourage your students to identify and categorize safety expectations for dress code, chemicals, fire, sharp objects, glassware, and working with live specimens.

You can copy the graphic organizer on your front board for your students to replicate or make worksheet copies in advance for the students to use.  Depending on the amount of time you have to complete this project, you can require students to color, draw images, or just fill-in the required responses.  Here is a Sample of Student Safety Graphic Organizer for your reference.

Close - Lab Safety Contract

5 minutes

Students will read, review with their guardian, and sign the Lab Safety Contract as a homework assignment.  The contracts are checked for signatures the next class, but will remain in the students' binders all year as a reference.  

Students will also complete their Lab Safety Graphic Organizer as homework.  When the students return on the next day, I will stamp their projects to represent that the assignment was completed on time.  I will share a few exemplary projects as inspiration and I will ask the students to keep the projects in their Biology notebooks until their end of the unit packets are due on the day of the unit test. I attempt to give unit assessments every 2-3 weeks based on our curriculum and the level of student comprehension.