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Safe Practices and Equipment

Safe Practices and Equipment

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations.

Essential Understanding

The student conducts classroom and outdoor investigations following home and school safety procedures and environmentally appropriate and ethical practices.

Science Background

Science and Safety, It’s Elementary: Council of State Science Supervisors (PDF) - A handy, concise reference for elementary teachers of science, with basic guidelines for safe practices and facilities, and answers to commonly asked questions about science teaching and safety.

Science and Safety, It's Elementary
Council of State Science Supervisors,

Science Safety in Elementary Schools: BioEd Online (video) - Online presentation covering classroom safety practices, particularly during students’ science investigations. Includes information about key safety equipment and strategies for setting up a safety object wall.

Science Safety in Elementary Schools
BioEd Online,

Signature Lesson

Science Safety Scene: BioEd Online (PDF) - Students carefully observe Mr. Dan Gerous’ science classroom, identify unsafe situations and behaviors, and discuss proper safety practices.

Science Safety Scene
BioEd Online,

Additional information about classroom safety and specific instructions for the Science Safety Scene activity are provided in the video below (Click on the “Safety First” chapter link and follow the lesson directions in the video.)

Science Safety Scene
BioEd Online,

Supporting Lessons

Science Safety Rules: Science Spot (PDF) - Students read a brief story about the antics of SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends, identify the safety rules being broken, and learn the guidelines for proper safety in science class.

Science Safety Rules
Science Spot,


Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Lab Safety Posters: Curriculum-Science (website) - Have student groups create posters illustrating different safety rules. This website provides links to activity guidelines, a list of possible safety issues, and sample, with commentary about each poster’s strengths and weaknesses.

Lab Safety Posters

Assessment Ideas

Have each student write a safety scenario in his/her journal, and include illustrations, if desired. Scenarios should feature a fictional character involved in at least 10 unsafe laboratory practices. For example, a student might write about Mickey Mouse eating a piece of cheese while doing an investigation in the lab.

Literature Connections

School Safety, Rivera, Sheila (ISBN-13: 978-0822568225)

Lessons in Science Safety with Max Axiom, Super Scientist. Adamson, Thomas (ISBN-13: 978-0736878876)

Safe Not Sorry! Chemical Safety Activity Handbook. Sarquis, Mickey (ISBN-13: 978-1883822521)

The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book. Robinson, Tom (ISBN-13: 978-1580625579)

Related Science TEKS

(5.1B) Recycling/Disposal of Science Materials
The student is expected to make informed choices in the conservation, disposal, and recycling of materials.

(5.2A) Design/Conduct Experiment with One Variable
The student is expected describe, plan, and implement simple experimental investigations testing one variable.

(5.2B) Ask Questions, Formulate a Hypothesis
The student is expected to ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology.

(5.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring.

(5.2D) Analyze Evidence and Explain
The student is expected analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable) and indirect (inferred) evidence.

(5.2F) Communicate Conclusions
The student is expected communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms.

(5.2G) Graphs, Tables, Charts
The student is expected construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts using technology, including computers, to organize, examine, and evaluate information.

Related Math TEKS

5.12B     The student is expected to use experimental results to make predictions.

5.14D     The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

5.15A     The student is expected to explain and record observations using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Exploring Safely, A Guide for Elementary Teachers: National Science Teachers Association (PDF) - Information to help your classes approach inquiry science and laboratory activities in the safest way possible. Use the safety contract on page 5 with your students.

Exploring Safely, A Guide for Elementary Teachers
National Science Teachers Association,

Student Lab Safety Worksheet: McGraw Hill (DOC) – Download a safety worksheet to guide student thinking about safety concerns before conducting an investigation. 

Student Lab Safety Worksheet
McGraw Hill,

The Safety Song: Teacher Tube (video) - This video uses puppets and music to reinforce safe science behaviors. It was created for advanced laboratories, but can be used with elementary students.

The Safety Song
Teacher Tube,

Lab Safety: Educational Rap (website) - Use a “rap” song to reinforce safe practices in the science lab. An audio version of the rap can be downloaded for a small fee; the lyrics are available free of charge.

Lab Safety
Educational Rap,

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