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

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