Safety First!by: Judith Longfield

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Working with young children and chemicals requires attention to safety. This article details the experiences of a third-grade teacher who used a “disaster” to create a hands-on inquiry that introduces children to chemistry safety during a third-grade acid/base exploration.

Grades
  • Elementary
  • Middle
Publication Date
2/1/2006

Community ActivitySaved in 811 Libraries

Reviews (11)
  • on Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:06 PM

It is incredibly significant for teachers to focus on building safety lessons into science class. The author of this article has an idea of an effective safety lesson from a hands-on chemistry investigation. Demonstrating the use of pH indicator paper is the first step. Students are divided into different groups and they are required to explore the scientific question. The teacher provided students with eye protection, gloves, and a Material Safety Sheet. During students’ dilutions, teacher asked students is there anything else that they could use. Some students suggested using the old pH indicator paper. The teacher followed the suggestions and students observed the procedure wearing safety goggles, apron, and gloves. The teacher should tell students do not touch unknown substances with their hands “because they could sting or cause serious burns” (Longfield, 2006). Making a list of ways of insuring safety is necessary. Therefore, students will pay more attention to safe operation including wearing protective gloves and goggles, reading labels, holding the test strips down, and holding strips with tweezers. The teacher and students created a chemistry safety song in order to remember safety rules. The safety posters made by students in this article are used to present on bulletin board as a constant safety reminder. Teachers can’t avoid the situation which students are curious about some unfamiliar substances in science class. Curiosity is helpful for students to figure out questions and creating new ideas. What teachers should do is finding ways to make sure students’ safety and strengthen their awareness of safety.

Zhengyun Lu
Zhengyun Lu

  • on Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:12 PM

I really enjoyed reading the article Safety First! by Judith Longfield. In this article, the teacher talks about an interactive safety lesson she did in her third grade classroom with her students. This lesson came about when one day in class, her students spilt liquid all over their art projects during a chemistry investigation. Red dye from the construction paper got on students’ hands and faces. Had this been a chemical, the result could have been bad and that is when Longfield got the idea for the safety lesson. To begin the lesson, students investigated pH levels. They determined household vinegar is an acid. Longfield prompted the students with the question, if water was added to the vinegar, would it dilute the vinegar? She broke students into groups and explore the scientific question. The teacher then used this time to teach safety precautions. Longfield believes it is never too early to teach safety to students and I would agree with her. Safety is very important to know and practice in a classroom and doing it in an interactive, fun way makes it more interesting and memorable.

Brittany
Brittany

  • on Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:11 PM

After I read this article, I learned that it is never too early to introduce the safety concepts to students. The author give a example that how did she teach her students to protect themselves when they are doing experiments. From her example, I noticed that the importance of improve students’ safety sense. She gave opportunities to students to explore pH, when they were doing their experiments, the author will emphasize that everyone should wear eye protection and gloves. Longfield (2006) also points that if their experiment had involved a poisonous or caustic substance, there might have been a serious injury to someone. (p.27) Thus she have to help students pay attention to avoid touching unknown substances with their hands because they will sting or cause serious burns. I like the strategy that have the students to make “Safety” posters to illustrate the safe handling of experiments. In this way, students can search more information about the safety and realize the significance of the safety in the experiments. Then, teachers should stick the posters in the class which can always remind students concentrate to safety. In my future class, I will teach my students safety lesson at the first. In addition, I think the Chemistry safety song which is the author made is very interesting and helpful.

Yu Ni
Yu Ni

  • on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:43 AM

Great article

Bianca Bauer  (Miami, Fl)
Bianca Bauer (Miami, Fl)

  • on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:43 AM

Great article

Bianca Bauer  (Miami, Fl)
Bianca Bauer (Miami, Fl)

  • on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:31 AM

I enjoyed reading this journey article it helped me understand the different concept of safety I can implement to my students before starting an experiment. I feel this article will provide my students wil safety hits they can use and connect before entering the Science classroom.

Bianca Bauer  (Miami, Fl)
Bianca Bauer (Miami, Fl)

  • on Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:39 PM

Great inquiry activity for elementary students that teaches the importance of safety in the classroom. The article provides many ideas for incorporating activities designed to increase student understanding of the importance of safety.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:15 PM

I couldn't agree with you more on it is never too early to introduce the safety concepts to students. The safety is fundamental and crucial for learning science. It is a splendid idea to make "Safety" posters to illustrate the safe handling of experiments, which will enable students to notice the significance of the safety in the experiments. And I think before taking the science class, the science teacher should be trained for the safety of the materials and equipment.

Jingjing Heng
Jingjing Heng

  • on Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:48 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article! I like how the teacher reflected and used an unseen situation to her advantage. I believe teaching always involves ongoing knowledge and the teacher in this article learned and kept moving forward, careful to avoid safety mistakes in the classroom.

Isis M  (Miami, FL)
Isis M (Miami, FL)

  • on Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:22 PM

As you read this article you are clued into questions that are necessary when selecting topics for elementary students. Questions about your selection include whether the material is developmentally correct, is the timing correct, is the instructional mode appropriate, how will you assess the students, and have you included misconceptions in your selection. The two charts in the article provide ideas for demonstrating learning and the seven additional teaching strategies. This is a good article but topics are usually mandated by district or state curriculum.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:21 AM

Safety in the lab or at home is important for students to think about. This article briefly describes one way to introduce students to safety concerns of spills and unknown substances.

Lara  (New Haven, CT)
Lara (New Haven, CT)


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