Getting students excited about safety in the science lab in not hard when you make it "real" for them and show this fun video "AGHS Lab Safety Rap."
I like to use Post-It notes to have students respond to the video. Ask them, "What is one connection you have to the video?" and then they can write it on the Post-It and share that on the classroom " Student Parking Lot" which is a place where students can post their ideas (read about strategies for a Parking Lot in the classroom). Wearing goggles and gloves are some of the responses I am looking for on the Post-It notes.
One way to teach science lab safety is through reading text and identifying broken safety rules. I find that teaching safety in a variety of ways will have a greater impact on student's safety habits and because my students like stories, I created a safety scenario for them to read. Reading text also helps them to better understand new vocabulary words like experiment, properties, substance, chemistry, and safety goggles. Students learn to determine the meaning of key terms and domain-specific vocabulary. This text will also help them to understand Cause and Effect (Cross Cutting Concepts) because students will engage in conversation starting with their own cause and effect explanation of the safety scenario. It's best practice to post your essential question, objectives, and Target on the Board for students to see the goals for the lesson.
At this point, I would divide students into small reading groups so they can talk with their group, take turns reading, and then have a discussion. When I give them the worksheet Safety Rules with Susie Scientist, I also like to provide a highlighter for each student to highlight the broken rules. As an option, they could underline the broken rules instead.
I like to circulate the classroom and observe the group interactions, looking for students on-task and asking each other higher-level thinking questions like "What would you do if you were in this situation?" When all the groups have finished, I will bring the group back together to share. As we discuss each broken rule, I ask students if they have a connection to that broken rule and have them share stories which helps them to make a personal connection.
I ask, "Can you tell me about one time in the story where an action occurred that could cause harm?" Then students identify broken rules and the harm that can cause.
I ask, "So, what could the effect of this action be?" Students could also identify more than one effect of this broken rule.
After this lesson is taught, students will design and create a Safety Poster to synthesize information learned and then share and present their final product.
Do a quick formative assessment of the question, "What are some dangers you might encounter when doing science activities?"
Try a "Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down" Assessment. It's quick. It's simple. It provides immediate feedback to guide your instruction with the next lesson. I like to tell students that it's OK if they are unsure. They can just point their thumb sideways!
Here are some examples of questions you might use:
Sometimes it's OK to reach across an open flame. (False)
Never taste anything in the science lab. (True)
At times, it's OK to run or push in the classroom. (False)
Keep your work area clean and keep all materials away from a flame or heat source. (True)
Always point a test tube away from you and others when heating it over a flame or other heat source. (True)
You can mix chemicals without your teacher's permission. (False)
Always wear safety goggles whenever you are working with chemicals or other substances that might get into your eyes. (True)
And, that's a "rap!"