If your science curriculum is anything like mine, your first unit is lab safety. As a middle school science teacher, we review the tools and rules of staying safe in the science laboratory. By this point in their school careers, students have a grasp on how they should be acting and are familiar with each tool and its job. Despite this, it still must be covered and I find it is a great unit to start off the year as it gives everyone a few good grades and makes them feel like a confident scientist. However, since this is a repetitive unit that students learn about each year, I started to feel the pressure of changing up how I covered this unit. I wanted to keep it fresh, exciting, and motivating for my students.
So, here are three fun activities to add to your lab safety unit.
With the popularity of zombies, I came across this video which I felt adequately covered the lab safety rules while keeping students engaged in a vastly different way compared to most videos. I showed this to my grade 7 and 8 students and they loved it. It is a tad cheesy, but because it revolves around popular topics and doesn’t seem “elementary” they watched the entire 10-minute video.
Each year for a class/homework assignment, I have students choose one lab safety rule to illustrate. I feel it’s a simple way to get them back into the swing of homework assignments and they look great hanging in your classroom for Back to School Night. With this assignment, in class, I have students create a simple script for their rule and video them with my phone. I use WeVideo, but you can also use FlipGrid, to upload and turn each small student video into a larger class video. The script is simply
- Identifying the chosen lab safety rule
- Stating the reason why it is important to follow this rule in the classroom.
Videos are about 10 seconds so if you have a large class, it can still work. Once everyone is finished and I uploaded them to WeVideo, we watch them. Students get a kick out of seeing themselves on screen. I also show this at Back to School Night. It takes the pressure out of having to fill an entire 15-minute block, which because I am nervous I do in about 10 and then am scrambling for questions. Parents find it adorable and think you put so much time and effort into making this rating you as the best teacher ever when it really was nothing to create! Total score for you!
Check out this free and easy game to use in your classroom for a fun collaborative review. Make copies of the Science Safety Scenarios and hand out to small groups of students. Also, make copies of the Lab Safety rules and give a copy to each group. Groups read through the scenarios and use the rule sheet to determine which rule was broken. The groups that can accurately pick out the broken rules first can win a prize. As a prize for review games, I usually offer an extra point or two on their quiz, and students eat this up. Even though it’s one point, they are super motivated to work together to earn that point.
I hope these three easy, FREE ways to review lab safety will help change up your curriculum and get your students off and running for a wonderfully engaging school year.
Looking for more activities to use with your students? This unit includes unique ways to teach your students how to stay safe in the science laboratory and classroom. It includes classroom decor and activities to introduce, teach, and reinforce concepts related to safety.
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