Enforcing Safety in the Science Lab
by Heather A Marshall
In many schools, teachers are blessed with administrators who understand the difficulty of ensuring safety in a science classroom, and they back teachers in any way they can to help support teachers in their safety requirements. However, when the “referral to the office” strategy doesn’t work because students don’t see any consequences for their actions, teachers are required to devise other means of dealing with disruptive and potentially unsafe behaviors in the lab. (This is assuming the teacher has already conferenced with the student, and with the parents before any referral to the office.)
One such strategy I have used is to exclude a student from the activity by sending him or her to the office to sit (suspend from class for the day), and the student receives a zero for the lab activity.
Another method I have used is to keep disruptive students in the class into the passing period if they waste my class time. I tell them the amount of time they waste for me in class they can make up during their passing time. Students are very possessive about their passing time; they like to hang with friends, so this threat often works well. However, you do have to actually hold them to prove you will do what you say. I have found this very effective with my constant chatterers and disruptors.
The send-out-with-a zero-for-the-day strategy I have used with students not following laboratory directions, so the “kick out” is for the safety of everyone in the room. Typically I only have to do this once as well; from then on, the students know I will not deal with inappropriate behavior in the lab.
So even if you are in a district or site where referrals to the office, in terms of discipline, doesn’t work, you can use some of these strategies to take control again.
Heather Marshall teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and is CSTA’s high school director.
by Michelle French
Since the public reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards have come to a close, like many primary teachers, I’ve been wondering what science will look like in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. Learn More…
“SOL Grotto, 2012. 1368 glass tubes, paint. Fabrication: Matarozzi Pelsinger, Rael San Fratello Architects. SOL Grotto is a contemporary take on a grotto or Throeau’s cabin – a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude and close to nature – where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light. The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company S#@t Out of Luck. 1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation. The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden. The form of the electric blue array evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds can call reality into question.”
Responses from Readers:
Peter A’Hearn: Rush hour in little blue circle land.
by Valerie Joyner
Congratulations to CSTA member and STEM Educator, Katherine Schenkelberg, of West High School, in Torrance, CA! Katherine was recently awarded one of the 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. An appointed panel of experts selected her for her innovative use of data-collection technology. “The use of data-collection technology in the classroom helps foster students’ interest in STEM education and provides them with engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “For ten years Vernier and NSTA have recognized innovative STEM educators through this award and this year’s winners are no exception – their projects and programs truly utilize the power of data-collection technology as part of the teaching and learning process.” Learn More…
by Tim Williamson
Members of the California Science Teachers Association are now in the process of voting for qualified CSTA members to fill the seven openings on the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.
The election is being conducted electronically and opened for voting on April 16, 2013. Voting will close on May 16, 2013. All CSTA members were sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who request a paper ballot have been mailed a ballot and candidate statements. Learn More…