Vernier Science Education - June 2024


Forums / Elementary Science / Safety in the Classroom

Elementary Science

Safety in the Classroom

Author Post
Kayla Cantu Kayla Cantu 570 Points

How can we maintain a safe environment for our elementary students? Small kids can get excited quickly and anything can happen in a blink of an eye. 


Elizabeth McDonald Elizabeth McDonald 80 Points

I agree with E'lesha. I recommend the Responsive Classroom books and trainings - their book Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE, and Other Special Areas is a great resource. It talks about the power of modeling and practice with using new materials or routines. One routine/rule I have is that materials that are not set out on the student tables or a common resource area are off-limits. Students quickly learn and respect the rule that even if they can see something in my prep area, it's not 'up for grabs'.

Emma True Emma True 950 Points

Hello Kayla, 

It is important to integrate good classroom management in order to maintain a safe classroom environment for our students. This is especially important when teaching within the area of STEM. If the student management within the classroom is chaotic and not safe, students will not be able to learn to the best of their ability. One important thing to think about is how you start your school year off with expectations and 'training' them to know what they can and can not do in the classroom. This will overall allow for a safer classroom environment. On top of classroom management, I would make sure that you as the teacher are prepared for the school year, and curriculum that you are teaching. Make sure you are familiar enough with the content so you are able to pay attention to the behavior of the students, and different aspects as well. If you are organized, your students will feel that as well, so you will have a positive classroom environment which will allow for a safe and productive classroom setting. 

Brenda Gutierrez Brenda Gutierrez 130 Points

Hello Kayla!

I agree small kids get excited quickly. Our best choice is simply having good classroom management skills. We need to enforce the importance of safety when handling objects such as scissors. There should also be 'restricted zones' where students know not to touch anything unless the teacher is present. We need to teach the students that they are working with objects that can hurt them. There are consequences to their actions. They will, to an extent, understand that. However, we must have management over the class and ensure no one gets hurt.

E’lesha Taylor E’lesha Taylor 40 Points

We can maintain a safe environment for our elemenartary students by having good classroom managamennt skills, setting a good culture in your classroom and rules. Having good classroom managaement skills will allow students to know whats expected of them earlier in the year and the consquences when those expectations are not met. Having a good culture in your classroom creates a space where stduents can hold one another accountable and have a since of belonging to respect that space. Rules are crucial to set in be in place as soon as possible and as students start out the year repetion and consistency will be the key. I would also explain why rules are in place and debunk some of the myths such as rules are in place because the teachers are the boss although partially true however, more impoartantly rules are in place to ensure the safety of everyone. 


Courtney Black Courtney Black 180 Points

To have a successful, safe classroom teachers must provide classroom management. If we are not managing the classroom, chaos can happen. This is not keeping our students safe, nor disciplined. When we are teaching Science there are is a various types of chemicals, equipment, etc that we use. If our class is not managed efficiently when doing these experiments or projects it can be a real danger to our students. 

Magaly Cardenas Magaly 685 Points

As a teacher, it is important to always state the rules in a way that all students will understand. Post procedures where everyone can see. Teachers need to always supervise and maintain everything controlled, especially when using materials and chemicals. Teachers can also provide a space for their personal belongings so they won’t be by the lab.

Emma Pena Emma Pena 330 Points

As a teacher our first priority is creating a safe experimental environment for students to do that.  Having your students be aware of potential hazards and make sure to take all necessary and appropriate precautions for safety. The teacher can prevent accidents in the lab by modeling safe lab practices and instructing students to do the same, they will not only avoid injury now but they will also be better prepared for lab experiences in their higher level science classes. The teacher should Identify the materials that will be used and explain how they will distribute them to students; it’s important to Identify safety issues and plan how you will address these with the students;take into consideration possible emergencies and plan how you will handle them should they occur; kids usually are scared and they will not know what to do.The teacher needs to be prepared and have the necessary equipment and emergency supplies readily available and know how to use them;Explain to students how you will collect materials and safely dispose of waste after the activity.

Abigail Palmer Abigail Palmer 265 Points

I find this question so important because the little minds of young elementary students do not think like our adult minds. I suggest before doing any expieriment or activity we make sure the child understands what their goal is and possible ways to achieve it. If the project could potentially be harmful to a student if done wrong you could split the class into groups and give them a rotation activity and you as the teacher can guide them through the activity in that small group.

Kaylee Kueker Kaylee Kueker 1130 Points


The topic of safety is so vital that it is sometimes anxiety-provoking for teachers. I think the other replies on this forum included a lot of really great ideas to help with this, as well. Another idea, though came up in my Science Methods class the other day. Our discussion was based on the book The New Science Teacher's Handbook: What You Didn't Learn from Student Teaching by Sarah Reeves Young and Mike Roberts (you can find this on the NSTA website). This idea was that teachers should make a plan of what actions students should take if there is ever an emergency during a lab. The book describes how we should practice this plan as a drill regularly, just like you would with a fire or tornado drill. I really liked this idea because it means that students will know what to do if anything were to ever go wrong, and teachers know that students will be safe. 


Wartburg College class of 24

Elementary Education Major with endorsements in reading, early childhood, and special education 

Michelle Byers Michelle Byers 220 Points

Hi Kaylee.  I think it would be a great idea to have a plan for what actions students should take if there was ever an emergency during a lab.  If students know what to do ahead of time, there might be less chaos happening in the classroom during a true emergency.  Being prepared would be a great way to reduce anxiety in teachers or students if there was a lab emergency.  I think that also having a clear set of rules and instructions before the lab takes place is important to hopefully prevent an emergency.  Although, that is not always possible and I have seen my fair share of beakers that have been dropped and shattered while working as a teaching assistant in a high school science class.  I have heard teachers discuss ways to prevent a lab accident from happening by setting clear guidelines and rules, but I have not heard teachers discuss how to handle an emergency if it does happen.

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