Safety a priority in Fairview/Jewell Elementary science lab
By KAREN FOLGER
Special to Leader-Press
Goggles--check. Gloves—check. Apron—check. Safety is a top priority for students is the science lap in teacher Jeff Shores’ class at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary.
Working in the science lab is a fun and exciting way for students to actively learn while engaging in hands-on experiments. However, before the experiments and interactive activities can begin, the students must first learn lab safety rules. Shores’ class had previously gone over lab safety and security procedures by completing worksheets in conjunction with verbal guidance.
“Lab safety is of great importance for the safety of everyone in the lab and the entire school,” Shores said.
The measures are meant to keep everyone safe, secure and actively engaged during lab activities. While conducting scientific investigations, students may be in the classroom or outdoors and are expected to follow the procedures and environmentally appropriate and ethical practices.
Jonathan Ferrell, a fifth grader, understood the importance of being in the lab for the first time.
“We need to learn that lab safety is not a joke,” Ferrell said. “Some chemicals you can waft and some you can’t even do that. So, you need to really listen to what the teacher says.”
The students were brought into the science lab and seated at the lab tables. Shores had a representative from each table demonstrate the proper way to get up, walk around the room, and return to his seat for the safety of everyone in the room. Then, each representative went to the front to get safety equipment and presented the proper way to return to the lab table by walking around the room so students did not run in to each other or cross paths. Shores explained that not following these procedures could cause issues if there were experiments taking place in the lab.
Next, students learned how to properly wear safety goggles and how to make sure they made a good seal to protect their eyes. Then, lab aprons were passed out and each student practiced tying the apron properly, using the buddy method to help one another.
After learning about proper lab attire, Shores introduced students to the equipment on their tables, including safety mitts, graduated cylinders, flasks, thermometers, safety tongs, and beakers of varying sizes and types. Shores explained how to correctly use the equipment and discussed the importance of reading the measurements on the beaker correctly.
“Students who grow up to work in the science field may actually publish the science journals they will one day create,” Shores said.