Is it Time to Upgrade your Lab Safety Unit?

Lab Safety.  The unit that most science teachers (including myself) use to get the school year started.  Not only is it important that our students understand proper lab safety procedures, it is just as important that they are familiar with the lab safety equipment present in the science lab.  Year after year I showed this lab safety video that I’m pretty sure is older than me, as I watched my students eyes glaze over in boredom.  THIS IS NOT HOW I WANTED TO START THE YEAR.  In my class, we get UP and we MOVE.  We collaborate, create, and engage in conversation.  Thus, I needed to come up with such a way to bring a little life to my lab safety unit.

This is when I created my Lab Safety QR Code Scavenger Hunt.

And it has been a staple in my first unit ever since its birth.  Not only are students up and moving during this activity, but they are working together, and they even get to use their phones (gasp!).  Introducing Lab Safety through a QR Code Scavenger Hunt is a unique way to set the tone for the school year.  It shows students that science is about working together as a team and that in your class they will be expected to do exactly that.   Also, it allows you as a teacher to move around the room and make first connections with your new students as they work.  In this non-threatening activity, all students can participate, have fun, and learn about lab safety.  What better way to establish a classroom atmosphere of curiosity and collaboration?

Set-up couldn’t be easier.  Print. Cut. Hang. And boom you are ready to have yourself a Lab Safety QR Code Scavenger Hunt. I designed this activity (like all my QR Code Scavenger Hunts) to go in a loop. So students can start at any of the QR codes and work through the scavenger hunt. They simply scan the code using their phone, iPad, etc., and read the clue that pops up.  (There are LOTS of Apps that can scan a QR Code, and if you have an iPhone, you can now scan a QR code just by opening up your camera app and holding it up to the code! Also, Snapchat can scan a QR code as well…this is the preference of my students.) After reading the clue, they must discuss and decide which piece of lab equipment the clue is describing, which leads them to their next QR code to scan.  Throughout the scavenger hunt, students are also completing a handout on which they must explain the function of each piece of equipment.

I have used this exact activity for 6 years now, and each year it has served as not only a way to familiarize students with the science lab, but also is a fun way to get them up and moving around during the first week of school.  It sets the tone for the school year and helps me to begin building those important relationships with my students.

If you like this activity and are interested in a FREE download of an activity like this one, click HERE!

Now I want to hear from you! What are some fun ways that you get your students involved in learning about Lab Safety?

2 thoughts on “Is it Time to Upgrade your Lab Safety Unit?

  1. Amy says:

    Looks, great! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for all the motivation. This fall I’m teaching again after 10 years off. Your ideas are helping me get excited to be back in the classroom.


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