Safety in the Science Classroom

With the increasing emphasis on hands-on instruction, it becomes more important than ever before for science teachers to be knowledgeable about laboratory safety issues. The National Science Education Standards say that students should have frequent opportunities to use a wide range of equipment, materials, supplies, and other resources for experimentation and direct investigation of phenomena. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) in its policy statement The Integral Role of Laboratory Investigations in Science Instruction recommends that a minimum of 80 percent of science instruction time in the middle school should be spent on laboratory-related experiences. The resources below will help you make sure these experiences are as safe as possible.

Flinn Scientific
This web site offers resources for biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics laboratories at all grade levels. Check out the section on middle school laboratory safety including the Middle School Science Safety Contract. The safety section of the site includes tips for safely storing and handling chemicals, guidelines for eye protection, and frequently asked safety questions.

Science Education Safety
The checklist and recommendations were developed by the Council of State Science Supervisors, which also offers downloadable safety brochures on its web site. The brochures delineate instructor responsibilities and legal issues, along with guidelines for chemical labeling and storage, protective equipment, and handling student accidents. Specifications for the physical layout and design of laboratory spaces are also provided.

Lab Safety–Beyond Goggles
This article discusses lab safety measures being taken by school districts across the country.

Flinn Scientific Science Catalog Reference Manual: Middle School
This print catalog contains the same practical information as the high school version, but it is tailored to the middle school curriculum. Request your free copy at

We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2 publications. You can also email us at Post updated 11/08/2011.

16 thoughts on “Safety in the Science Classroom

  1. The following are two excellent science safety website by Connecticut State Dept of Ed – for both middle and high school science classes. You might want to share this informatin with your readership.

    Dr. Ken Roy

    Connecticut High School Science Safety Prudent Practices and Regulations is available from the Connecticut State Department of Education! To download your copy visit

    The new State safety website for Middle School Science is now online.

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