It’s the start of the school year for Science teachers all over, which can mean only one thing: LAB SAFETY!! So with my middle schooler starting this process, the gears in my mind started to turn. How do we get kids to identify the rules (it is, no doubt, posted in many places in the lab)? How can we get kids to build these concepts and set their own priority for different items? It is a routine series of events in a science classroom, but I landed on a ‘what if’.
What if the teacher hid her or his list of top ten rules – wrote them down, pulled them out from last year – but didn’t tell the students? Here’s the workflow for where the idea went:
Process: Students work in pairs to compile a ‘top ten’ list of lab safety rules based on their observations of the environment and/or pre-determined research materials. In pairs, they make a short video on iMove, 2 minutes or less, that demonstrates their lab safety rules. Students must use images from the class, as well as video, to produce their short film.
The short project could culminate with a game-show type atmosphere to see who got the closest to the ‘pre-established’ rules. The impact?
- Learners build their own meaning of and find their own examples of lab safety.
- Learners establish a partnership with another new student at the start of the year.
- Learners identify and prioritize what they see as the most critical lab safety rules.
This needs some gift-wrapping, though, to make it complete. In order to sequence the learning the most seamlessly, it would need a pre/post assessment, formative feedback during the planning/production phase, and consensus as a class on what the final version of the rules would be. I’m sure you would add other great components to this idea stem as well!
Here’s the classroom workflow: