Week of the Young Child from NAEYC, April 24-28

How will your early childhood program celebrate the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) annual “Week of the Young Child?” Explorations that relate to all five daily themes offer many opportunities to connect young children to science and engineering concepts, using math and technology to build their understandings in a science inquiry investigating a question or natural phenomena–STEM learning! An initial investigation into how we use our senses might be a good beginning for a longer science inquiry into one particular sense or how we can use technology to extend our senses.

Music Monday

A "guitar" made with a milk carton and rubber bands.Exploring the connections between the properties of materials and the kinds of sounds they make is a fun way to begin exploring how sound is made. “Becoming Attuned to Sound,” the Early Years column from Science and Children February 2014, describes children exploring how the size and tautness of a rubber band changes the sound it makes when plucked, and how to construct a simple rubber band musical instrument.

Educator explores the sounds made with a stretched rubber band.The “Young Children Investigate and Engineer Sound Through STEM” session at the 2017 annual NSTA conference provided hands-on experiences and inquiry for teachers to bring back to their children. 

After making sound, children can represent it through drawing, or record it to share with others using an audio recording app on a phone or tablet. Maybe some of us are still using tape players!

Tasty Tuesday

The sense of taste is equally important as the other four for exploring the world but is not part of most science explorations because, for safety reasons, we separate lab work from anything we eat. So we will call it “cooking” to make sure young children understand that in this exploration all ingredients are safe to eat. Tasting is part of the Early Sprouts curriculum, an approach that engages young children in gardening, sensory exploration, and cooking throughout the school year. Try making and tasting their Hearty Apple & Raisin Cereal! While measuring the ingredients children get experience with the concept of volume and while cutting the apple they use an ancient technology–knives (Safety tip: precut apple slices are easy for children to further cut using butter knives). Read more about this approach in the July 2009 Young Children article. Continue reading …

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The Science Teacher: Call for Papers

The Science Teacher (TST) seeks manuscripts of approximately 2,000 words that describe new and creative ideas for the secondary science classroom. Manuscripts should provide practical activities related to the themes listed below. TST also encourages manuscripts outside of the listed themes. For help, see our author guidelines and annotated sample manuscript.

Forensics: Solving Mysteries Through Science
Forensic science is both an important part of our criminal justice system and also an avenue for engaging students in scientific inquiry. From the stories of Sherlock Holmes to the popular television drama CSI, the analysis of forensic evidence has fascinated citizens for centuries. By its nature, forensics is an interdisciplinary subject, bringing in modern analytic techniques from chemistry, molecular biology, paleontology, physics, and Earth science. Do you use forensics activities in your classes? Have you found new strategies and engaging activities to teach this fascinating subject or enrich other subject areas? If so, TST wants to hear from you.

Using New Tools to Support Science Learning in a Connected World
As technology evolves, so do the skills needed for success in the modern world. New tools have radically changed the way we communicate, share information, and collect data. This issue will explore how these new tools can support student learning and create a “connected classroom.” Possible topics include ideas for using:
• social media
• online simulations and virtual field trips
• YouTube, online lectures, virtual learning communities, and flipped classrooms
• strategies to improve critical thinking and digital and media literacy
• probeware and wireless data collection in laboratory and field work
• cloud computing
• modeling
• big data
• mathematics and computational thinking tools
• 3D printers
• new presentation and communication tools
• live webcams
• digital graphics, multimedia, and visualization tools.
Please share your ideas for teaching with new tools. Continue reading …

Posted in The Science Teacher | 1 Response

STEM-In-Action at its Best: Students Turn Ideas into Reality

Team Crabyotics, 2015 White House Science Fair

When it comes to student-focused STEM projects at Taos Middle/High School, ideas seem limitless.

It all started with information shared from a group of Taos students participating in a STEM demonstration during eCYBERMISSION‘s 2013-2014 National Judging & Educational Event (NJ&EE). The demonstration mentioned the use of Chitosan as a filtration. The students shared this information back in New Mexico with soon-to-be team Crabyotics—Andrea-Chin Lopez, Julia Johnson, Anthony Archuleta, and James Valerio.

This shared-information soon became a bio-filter system community project, which competed in local science fairs, competitions, and of course eCYBERMISSION, which resulted in the team’s STEM-In-Action Grant.

During the 2013-2014 eCYBERMISSION competition, Team Advisor (TA) Laura Tenorio and her team “Crabyotics,” located in New Mexico, developed a bio-filter system that successfully removes antibiotic drugs from drinking water, thus helping to stem the growth of drug-resistant bacteria.

“To this day, if you ask any of them, they still don’t believe it really happened,” said Team Advisor Laura Tenorio. “They are convinced that it was just a dream.”

Three Steps to Turn Your Idea into Reality

Taos is considered a rural area with access to limited resources for major scientific efforts. But at the Middle School’s science lab, commonly referred to as the “The Tyger Lab,” Anthony and Andrea came together with their fellow 9th grade team members James and Julia to research all that was needed to produce Chitosan and then produce a filter.

  1. In July of 2013, team Crabyotics began to work on their IDEA of making a filter against antibiotics.
  2. It was then that they DETERMINED that not only could it chemically work in theory, but that this filtration method could also be cost effective.
  3. This was when they began to think of a business plan, which the group CREATED after their research revealed their filter had potential for a patent. 

“eCYBERMISSION completely changed the entire focus of the project, along with the STEM-In-Action Grant,” said Andrea… “Thanks to the grant and our Team Advisor, the project and our futures were invested and encouraged.”

Andrea and TA Laura Tenorio worked together to smooth out the business plan the team started creating. The teams’ main goal was to turn an idea into reality and incorporate into the community.

Of the original STEM-In-Action Grant proposal, the only part that has not been implemented is the Middle School and Community implementation. Actions are currently underway to determine a mass identification of water contaminants. The patent application is ongoing and being modified and FDA and EPA approval of the filter use will not go into action until further testing has been completed.

Managing the STEM-In-Action Grant: Anthony, James, and Julia have gone in separate directions from the project, while Andrea has maintained work on the grant. Andrea recruited two eCYBERMISSION Alumni—Arasely Rodriguez (The Wyrmies- 2013 NJ&EE) and Will Song (1st Place State, 2015)—to continue year three of the business plan and experimentation.  Currently:

  • Andrea, Arasely, and Will are working on the final phase of Crabyotics, named “Crabsorption,” which will focus on laboratory honed chitosan as an absorption media for pharmaceuticals from water sources and from the human body.
  • Dual patent are in the works, both with Crabyotics original purpose, and with Crabsorption.
  • Andrea and Mentor/TA Laura Tenorio have continued to gather more sponsors to support the implementation of the idea. (i.e. attract interest of ISEF, enter the Science Talent Search, and plans to compete in BioGenius and AEOP’s Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS).

New/Upcoming Tests: They tested a wide variety of antibiotics against chitosan cooked for varying times, and focused on a filter design that could resist water pressures with potential use in a universal setting.

In the Community: Not only does Andrea assist with Taos Middle/High School teams competing in eCYBERMISSION, she encourages students with little interest or knowledge in STEM to join eCYBERMISSION. Her experiences are then shared with younger age groups in the community. 

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Science 2.0: Communicating Science Creatively

We’ve been covering the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards in every issue since September. This month, we examine the final standard, called Creative Communicator, which requires students to communicate effectively and creatively express themselves (ISTE 2016). The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to express their understanding of concepts. Science involves more than collecting data and crunching numbers. Scientists must also be able to explain their work. We need to create persuasive arguments that support our conclusions.

Meeting the performance indicators
The performance indicators of this standard state that students need to choose, create, remix, communicate, and publish. For teachers, facilitating this type of work calls for a change in instructional design. The activities in your classroom must require students to communicate their understanding of a lab and what they’ve learned from it.

Students need to be able to choose the appropriate platform and tool for their presentations. For example, a poster on a trifold board could be used instead of a written report to present scientific work. When technology is brought into play, students have a much wider choice of media when presenting their work.

We ask our students to communicate their results of a lab report in three steps (explain what you did, explain what you found out, and describe how you found out) to summarize their findings. This summary can take place in virtually any medium. When students were learning to use digital graphic organizers, we would allow them to use a flow chart for their conclusions. They can easily paste pictures of lab setups, graphs, and other media into many tools (e.g., Inspiration, LucidChart, Poplet, MindMaps). Some students may make an infographic, while others may use Google Slides, write a song, or even compose a haiku.

Some students concluded a lab on the conservation of momentum with PowToon, an animation tool that creates a video with music. The lab asked students to collide carts and use motion sensors to record the data. Students used tools in Powtoon to explain what they did and then used other tools with imported images of their graphs to explain what they found. Overall, it was a creative, effective effort at completing the three components of the conclusion.

Additionally, this standard asks students to create original work or remix the work of others. We hang signs in our classroom that say “UCC,” which stands for “user-created content.” Almost every laptop, tablet, or phone has a camera, offering opportunities for students to take their own photos of equipment setup, written work, or scientific phenomena. Students can also use online simulations and their own videos to remix and communicate their work.

Finally, this standard requires students to publish their customized work. Online tools make publishing easy. Teachers should consider using a website that allows students to keep a portfolio of their best work. A web tool that allows students to edit pages (Google Sites or Wikispaces) will help accomplish this task. Students can link their products and use this to reflect on the tools they have learned and the methods they have used for communicating.

Becoming a creative communicator requires students to learn a variety of tools and develop the ability to evaluate the choice of the right tool for the task at hand. Students will learn how to become creative by using different tools and incorporating media into their work. This standard allows students to present their scientific work in a way that demonstrates their understanding both visually and verbally.

Ben Smith (ben@edtechinnovators.com) is an educational technology program specialist, and Jared Mader (jared@edtechinnovators.com) is the director of educational technology, for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. They conduct teacher workshops on technology in the classroom nationwide.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 2016. The 2016 ISTE standards for students. Arlington, VA: ISTE. http://bit.ly/ISTE-standards.

Editor’s Note

This article was originally published in the April 2017 issue of The
Science Teacher
 journal from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Get Involved With NSTA!

Join NSTA today and receive The Science Teacher,
the peer-reviewed journal just for high school teachers; to write for the journal, see our Author GuidelinesCall for Papers, and annotated sample manuscript; connect on the high school level science teaching list (members can sign up on the list server); or consider joining your peers at future NSTA conferences.

Posted in Science 2.0, The Science Teacher | 1 Response

STEM Sims: Fleet Manager

STEM Sims: Fleet Manager


STEM Sims provides over 100 simulations of laboratory experiments and engineering design products for application in the STEM classroom. One particular simulation found on this site, Fleet Manager, challenges students to manage their very own fleet of vehicles by comparing the fuel efficiency of vehicles and determining which vehicles should be replaced or converted to more efficient vehicles. Fleet Manager is aligned with national (NGSS) standards (see below) and is compatible with state standards as well.

  • MS-ESS3.A – Natural Resources
  • MS-ESS3.D – Global Climate Change
  • MS-ETS1.C – Optimizing the Design Solution



The simulation provides students with a brochure (see link below), a pre-assessment quiz, and an introductory information overview about the use of alternative fuels. The Fleet Manager simulation links important science concepts to real-world concepts. For example, students of all ages can integrate mathematics and science concepts into the decision of purchasing a future car, e.g., mileage, operating cost, emissions, etc.. Hence, this activity gives students the opportunity to evaluate an entire fleet of vehicles. Subsequently, this evaluation elicits the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy and simultaneously challenges students to make both efficient and environmentally decisions similar to those made in real-life. Continue reading …

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It’s more than just power, it’s teaching potential: Vernier Go Direct Sensors and Micro USB Charging

Power powers. It’s that simple. With all our digital tools, there is at least one common thread across it all and that is we need a flow of electrons to keep the teaching and learning in high gear. But of course batteries die. There are four common battery solutions in our digital devices. One is onboard and built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs. Another is a removable lithium-ion battery pack. A third is common grocery store batteries like AA, AAA, and CR2032, among others. And a forth option is some combination and interchangeability of the above. Of course there are hard-wired connection to AC outlets, but those are so limiting that we only use them only for larger devices, static lab-based tools, and those instrument firmly bolted to a desk or other base station. 

Ahh, but once in the rechargeable realm, a new set of issues can arise. The major factor being the connector required to attach the device to a power source. Way back in the early 2000s and of course earlier, there were many options for connectors. From pin-sized small round connectors, larger round connectors, square connectors, to at least four USB connectors, to proprietary Apple connectors.

In 2009, it almost all changed when a European Commission initiative created a “Common External Power Supply” or EPS that was adopted by almost all major cell phone companies. Notably, Apple was the hold out continuing with their proprietary 30-pin connector, and more recently their Lightning connector.

Continue reading …

Posted in NSTA Recommends: Technology, Science 2.0 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Why should you attend the 6th Annual STEM Forum & Expo?

Why should you attend the 6th Annual STEM Forum & Expo this July?  As Chairperson of this event, I think all STEM educators should join us in Kissimmee, Florida from July 12 – 14, 2017, for this premier, international professional development event. The conference committee and NSTA staff, in collaboration with our program partners, have worked diligently to bring you, our attendees, a world class event that will bring together all stakeholders in STEM education while showcasing cutting edge research and best practices in STEM education and workplace development.

Looking for the most rigorous and relevant information for your established STEM program? Is your institution at the infancy of STEM? Do you need guidance on how to start STEM in your own classroom? The STEM Forum & Expo brings together the top thinkers and organizations in STEM education in one location. This three day event provides you with the latest information on STEM content, teaching strategies, and research to enhance and expand your professional growth. You will be able to select from over 400 strand specific sessions, seminars, and featured panel discussions, while collaborating with leaders in STEM education and national education policy makers. In addition, you are able to network and start collaborations with colleagues from around your area and from around the world through face-to-face interactions, back channel discussions, and social events. It does not matter if you are just starting a STEM program or looking to further develop your present STEM program, the STEM Forum & Expo has learning opportunities for all. 

Through our unique strand approach that is divided up by grade levels, administration, and partnership strands; attendees will be able to easily follow a specific track of sessions and panels to increase their pedagogical knowledge and to become more reflective and effective educators. Below are just a few examples of the programming you will experience when you attend the 6th Annual STEM Forum & Expo:

  • Hands-on sessions that enhance ongoing development of teachers and school leaders to improve their STEM knowledge, as well as their pedagogical skills used to import the specialized knowledge/content in each of the STEM disciplines.
  • Specialized panels that promote the implementation of teacher and administrator skill and competency development, including data-informed teaching and leading, and the integration of research-based methods into the STEM curriculum.
  • Networking opportunities for administrators to improve and enhance competencies attributable to strong STEM leadership, including, but not limited to, supervising and motivating staff, coordination of STEM curriculum, promoting and sustaining a positive school learning climate, and evaluating student performance in the STEM disciplines.
  • The forum provides project- and research-based activities that tackle issues of real-world relevance. Our programming is driven by the latest research in subject areas as well as best practices for communicating topics in effective and meaningful ways.
  • A STEM specific exhibit hall with the newest tools and resources to assist you with educating our students in STEM.

I am most excited about the new features to this year’s STEM Forum & Expo that brings together new groups under our growing STEM umbrella:                  

  • Inclusiveness and Equity – We are thrilled to have new panel for this year called “Engaging Diverse Learners and Special Needs Students in STEM.” Hosted by Janella Watson, Director of the Providence Children’s Museum, this panel will help us and our diverse learners navigate STEM. This panel will demonstrate how the best STEM teachers believe in the capacity of all of their students to learn and how they carefully utilize a range of pedagogical approaches to ensure this learning occurs.
  • Informal Education in STEM – Another new panel to this year’s STEM Forum is “Shift Makers: How Informal Educators are making a shift to better support STEM and Learner-Centered Science.” Hosted by Karen Hays, Youth Program Manager at the Denver Zoo, this panel will advise attendees on how informal environments are ideal for STEM learning as well learner-centered interests and curiosities in STEM. Come learn about the resources these informal education centers offer to schools and to your classrooms.
  • STEM Magic at the Magic  Kingdom®We are thrilled that the Walt Disney World Resort®  and Disney Youth Education Services is offering a special STEM-tastic post-conference event for 150 of our attendees at the Magic Kingdom Park ® on Saturday, July 15th. The “Energy and Waves” workshop will feature hands-on activities that form the foundation of your exploration of sound and light at work at the Magic Kingdom® Park.
  • Invigorating and High Energy Keynote Speaker – We are overjoyed that Derek Muller will be joining us as this year’s keynote speaker for the STEM Forum. Derek is an engineer, physicist, filmmaker, science educator, and founder of You Tube’s widely popular science channel Veritasium and his new channel  Sciencium.

As you can see there are many reasons why you should attend the 6th Annual STEM Forum & Expo! On behalf of the steering committee and NSTA, we hope to see you in the Kissimmee, Florida this July! We promise it will be an invigorating, rewarding, energizing, and magical experience for you as we dive deeper into STEM and prepare for a new school year. See you there!

Jennifer Williams is in her eighteenth year of teaching STEM at the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. As the Lower School Science department chair and STEM Coordinator, she provides leadership in the development of quality instruction within the Lower School STEM program for grades Pre-Kindergarten through 5th.


The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

Future NSTA Conferences

2017 STEM Forum & Expo
Kissimmee/Orlando, July 12–14

2017 Area Conferences

Baltimore, October 5–7
Milwaukee, November 9–11
New Orleans, Nov. 30–Dec. 2


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Ed News: NM Governor Vetoes Bill To Set New Science Standards In State Law

News Roundup banner

This week in education news, New Mexico governor vetoes a measure to force the adoption of new state science standards; New Hampshire rejects new education commissioner’s proposal to reconsider the state’s science standards; Idaho education leaders hear comments on science standards; top Democrats condemn climate change skeptics for targeting teachers; and Oklahoma panel advances bill critcized as threat to science education.

Susana Stops Science Standards: Governor Vetoes Bill To Set New Science Standards In State Law

To the surprise of no one who’s been following the long, winding road to updating the science taught in New Mexico’s schools, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed a measure designed to force the adoption of new standards. House Bill 211 would have required the state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, nationally vetted benchmarks for teaching public school children science from K-12. Click here to read the article featured in the Santa Fe Reporter.

New Hampshire State Board, Edelblut Clash On Science Standards

When New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut was appointed to his post in January, the politician assured critics that whatever his personal beliefs, he would consider himself “the implementation guy” for an agenda largely dictated by others. In response to a question by Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinksy regarding whether he would object to local schools teaching creationism in their science curriculum, Edelblut called his point of view “irrelevant.” And at a recent State Board of Education meeting, the commissioner was sharply reminded of his circumscribed role when the State Board of Education unanimously rejected his proposal to reconsider the state’s science standards. Click here to read the article featured in the Concord Monitor.

Continue reading …

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Ideas for science “camp”

I’ve been asked to teach a voluntary summer enrichment science class for 20 upper elementary students.  I can determine the content and structure for the class. I have a modest budget, access to the science resources in the school, and the principal will assist with logistics. I’ve never done this before, so I’m looking for ideas and suggestions.  —T., Ohio

Having an uninterrupted block of time to focus on science sounds like a wonderful experience for you and your students.

Many summer programs call themselves a “camp” to differentiate from remedial classes. Rather than a series of unconnected activities, you may want to pick themes that you are interested in, too–for example

  • Nature study (plants, insects, stream study, trees, birds),
  • Engineering/design (rocketry, wind power, inventions),
  • Earth science (rocks, fossils, weather), or
  • Community service (gardening, recycling).

The March 2017 issue of Science and Children features ideas for getting students outside. “Our Oasis” describes how high school students can be mentors in an elementary summer camp. The article also has examples of activities and schedules. Look at what science and nature centers offer as summer programs for more ideas. Perhaps you could do relevant activities and investigations that are too time-consuming during the school year.

Provide opportunities for students to be outside and active (with backup plans for rainy days). Include photography and journaling for students to document what they are doing and reflect on their learning.

Work with your principal on the details: safety and first aid, other adults to assist, permission slips, possible fees, transportation, refreshments/lunch, and the possibility of visiting off-campus sites, such as museums or parks.

Ask students and parents for an evaluation of the program to assist with future planning.

Most of all – enjoy!


Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/housebear/1435962367/

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | 4 Responses
folder icon  Safety

Making a Checklist for Safer Labs

A lab safety checklist can serve as a map to help science teachers navigate through safer waters.

The list not only makes labs safer for students but also fulfills part of the teacher’s legal responsibility for inspecting, securing, and maintaining a safer learning space. For school districts regulated under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the list needs to reflect fundamental elements of the Laboratory Standard and Hazard Communication Standard. Non-OSHA regulated school districts need to incorporate state and local safety regulations for academic labs into their lists. OSHA’s webpage contains safety and health standards and regulations specific to each state.

The following checklist addresses most—but not all—situations in K–12 science laboratories, but it can be tailored to meet the needs of individual laboratories.

Environmental health and safety

• Is there an active environmental health and safety program (e.g., chemical hygiene plan) addressing management of biological, chemical, and physical hazards specific to your work-site?

• Is there a person designated for the implementation and enforcement of the safety program (e.g., chemical hygiene officer)?

• Is there a department or school safety committee composed of employees and employers that meet regularly and write reports on their activities?

• Is there a process for handling employee complaints regarding environmental health and safety issues? To give an example, employees can submit a reporting form to their supervisors to address safety issues. Employees can also file a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected.

Personal protective equipment

• Is there a process to determine whether activities contain hazards requiring the use of personal protective equipment, or PPE (e.g., head, eye, face, hand, or foot protection)? This process involves three steps: hazards analysis, risks assessment, and safety action. Once risks are assessed after the hazards analysis, the safety action would determine which types of PPE are required for a safer activity.

• If hazards are found, are employers, employees, and students using the proper PPE?

• Are indirectly vented chemical splash goggles worn where there is a danger of flying particles or corrosive materials?

• Are safety glasses worn where there are solids hazards such as projectiles and meter sticks?

• Are employees and students who have glasses or contacts required to wear approved safety glasses, protective goggles, or use other precautionary procedures such as eliminating the use of contacts.

• Are there gloves, aprons, shields, or other protection for employees and students to protect themselves against hazards such as corrosive liquids, sharp objects, and chemicals?

• Is all protective equipment well maintained and ready for use?

• Are there eye wash facilities and a drench shower within the work areas that contain hazardous chemicals or biologicals?

• Are food and beverages consumed in areas where there is no exposure to hazards?

Flammable and combustible materials

• Are approved containers and tanks used for storing and handling flammable and combustible liquids? Containers or tanks for such storage or handling must meet OSHA’s Flammable Liquid standard and have labeling noting that it meets the standard.

• Do storage rooms for flammable and combustible liquids have explosion-proof lights and mechanical or gravity ventilation?

• Are fire extinguishers for combustible; liquid, gas, or grease; and electrical equipment fires placed in the appropriate areas?

• For electrical equipment fires:

  • are appropriate fire extinguishers mounted within 75 ft. (23 m) of outdoor areas containing flammable liquids and within 10 ft. (3 m) of indoor storage areas?
  • are extinguishers free from obstructions or blockage?
  • are all extinguishers serviced, maintained, and tagged each year?
  • are all extinguishers full and in their designated places?

Working surfaces

• Are all work-sites clean, sanitary, and orderly?

• Are work surfaces slip-resistant?

• Are all spilled hazardous materials or liquids, including blood and other potentially infectious materials, cleaned up immediately according to proper procedures?

• Is all regulated waste, as defined in the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard (1910.1030), discarded per federal, state, and local regulations?

• Are aisles and passageways kept clear?

Hazard communication

• Is there a current inventory of hazardous substances in your workplace?

• Is there a written hazard communication program dealing with safety data sheets (SDSs), labeling, storage, disposal, and employee training?

• Is each container (i.e., vats, bottles, storage tanks) for a hazardous substance labeled with product identity and hazard warning information?

• Is an SDS readily available for each hazardous substance at the work-site?

• Is there an annual employee training program for hazardous substances?

• Does this program:

  •  explain what an SDS is, and how to use and obtain one?
  • include SDS contents for each hazardous substance or class of substances?
  • explain “Right to Understand?”—that is, understand how to work with hazardous chemicals in a safer way.
  • identify where an employee can see the written hazards communication program and where hazardous substances are present in their work areas?
  • note the physical and health hazards of substances in the work areas and specific protective measures?
  • provide details of the hazard communication program, including how to use the labeling system and SDSs?

• Are employees trained to:

  • recognize tasks that might result in occupational exposure? Occupational exposure refers to anticipated bodily contact with chemical hazards and toxic substances.
  • use engineering controls, PPE, and to know their limitations?
  • obtain information on the types, selection, proper use, location, removal, handling, decontamination, and disposal of PPE?
  • know who to contact and what to do in an emergency?

Meeting OSHA’s Laboratory and Hazard Communication standards

• Are there safety engineering and administrative controls, including standard operating procedures?

• Are there criteria (e.g., proper housekeeping) for implementing and inspecting specific controls?

• Is there annual testing and certification of fume hoods?

• Is there access to information and training requirements?

• Are there laboratory operations that require approval of the employer or chemical hygiene officer? For example, the use of a new hazardous chemical might require the pre-approval of the chemical hygiene officer.

• Are there provisions for medical consultation and exams?

• Is there a designated chemical hygiene plan?

• Is there a chemical hygiene officer?

In the end

A good place to start a safety inspection is by answering the questions on the checklist, which provides a viable safety assessment and improves safety in the learning environment.

Submit questions regarding safety in K–12 to Ken Roy at safesci@sbcglobal.net, or leave him a comment below. Follow Ken Roy on Twitter: @drroysafersci.

NSTA resources and safety issue papers
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Posted in Safety | 2 Responses