For some kindergarteners, the classroom teacher is the first adult to discuss science safety with them. This is why this lesson is important and I would not skip this inquiry-worthy idea - safety.
All the students are gathered on the carpet to begin the class discussion on science safety. I ask students a few guiding questions about science safety in general terms. I ask one question and allow for partner discussion. I then select one or two students share with the whole group. Next, I clarify why following the safety guidelines are important for each topic. Then I move to the next question. Here are examples of guiding questions:
In the next segment of the lesson, I move a table in front of the students who are already seated on the carpet. I do this because I want to create a barrier between them and the objects on the table.
I hold up the two water bottles and ask the students, "which bottle is safe to drink from?" How do you know?" Then I ask "which of your senses would you use to determine this?" Students discuss their answers with a partner so everyone is heard. I begin by saying "we have five senses - we hear, touch, smell, taste, and see. However, some science materials could have similar characteristics of things we eat and drink daily but, by following the safety guidelines of not eating or drinking anything in the science laboratory could save your life. I show the students that bottles have water and bleach. Using your senses to determine the difference between the could be dangerous. I discuss the dangers of smelling bleach and then reiterate why the safety guideline of not eating and drinking in the laboratory/classroom is best.
Students can work with a partner to share what they know about being safe. They can also discuss why it is important to listen to the teacher's instructions and finally, they can discuss what they should do if they see an unsafe situation or others violating safety rules and procedures. Be sure to monitor student discussions to share important points with the group. If my students' safety tips are limited, I include a safety video to peek interest and reinforce general guidelines.
The students will help create a science safety chart for future reference. I will tell the students a cause and effect scenario related to science safety. I am introducing them to this concept (cause and effect) which happens to be a Next Generation Science Standard Cross Cutting Concept.
In this guided activity, I want to include ten specific safety tips on the chart. I will prompt the students to provide the safety tips I desire by guiding them through cause and effect scenarios. I will tell them a scenario and they will respond with the possible safety tip. For example I will say "A student leaves split water on the floor during an experiment and immediately another student walks by and slips." Then I will ask the students to provide the safety tip: clean up spills immediately. We will continue this activity until all ten of the science safety tips are included.
The ten safety tips are: