Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Accident That Did Not Happen

Jeri Martin


How safe are your science students' skills? In this lesson, students become familiar with the basic rules of laboratory safety and some of the laboratory equipment used in scientific discovery.


The student uses appropriate procedures for safety in the classroom, home, and community.


-Index cards (100)
-Science catalogs (old issues) (5 copies to cut out lab equipment pictures and make flash cards)
-Digital camera (optional)
-Lab Safety Rubrics (1 per student) (See Associated File)
-Paper (2-3 sheets per student)
-Highlighter (any color) (1 per student)
-Scotch tape (to use in making flash cards)
-K-W-L Chart (1 per student) (See Associated File)
-Safety video (See Preparations)


1. Lab equipment index cards
A. Cut out pictures (from old science catalogs) of lab equipment that you use in your lab.
B. Tape the pictures to the front of individual index cards.
C. Label the back of the card with the correct name of the equipment.
D. Optional use a digital camera to make pictures of lab equipment that you use to make index cards.
2. Xerox copies of the K-W-L chart and Lab Safety Rubrics listed in the associated file.
3. Select a safety video. The safety video highlighted in this lesson is [The Accident at Jefferson High], Clearvue/eav, Chicago, IL, 1986.


1. Give students a copy of the Lab Safety Rubrics. (See Associated File)

2. Give students a copy of the K-W-L Chart. (See Associated File)

3. Discuss with students the K (what do you KNOW) and W (what do you WANT to know) from the chart.

4. The L (what did you LEARN) will be completed at the end of this activity.

5. Give students a copy of the science safety rules that you have used, that are with your text, or visit the Flinn Website listed below in WebLinks.

6. Review and discuss with your students the safety procedures that should be followed in the classroom and at home.

7. Show the students the video [The Accident At Jefferson High]. (See Preparations) Have students raise their hand every time they see/hear a safety rule. Pause the tape each time a student raises their hand and have a student identify the rule. There is a true/false quiz at the end of the video. Have students silently answer these questions as the video goes over them. (If you do not have a copy of this particular video, you can use a copy of your favorite safety video.)

8. Have students get out paper and pencil. Have each student write a story about two students who are working in a science lab. In this story, the students are to list ten incorrect safety procedures. (Note: You may want to address what would be appropriate incorrect safety procedures. If you dunk one of the students in a vat of acid, you would no longer have the two students you need for your story.) I have students double-space their writing in order to assist in the second part of the activity.

9. Once students have completed their story, have them exchange stories with another student.

10. Students are to get out a highlighter. Have them read through the other student's story, highlighting and numbering each incorrect safety procedure. At the end of the story, students number 1 10 and list what the correct safety procedure should be with the corresponding incorrect procedure.

11. Once students have completed this, the original writer of the story checks for accuracy to make sure that all incorrect safety procedures have been identified and corrected.

12. Give students copies of the index cards with pictures of safety/lab equipment. (See Preparations)

13. Have students take about 10 15 minutes to quiz each other using these cards.

14. Make sure that students identify any of the items that are personal safety items. (Goggles, apron, gloves)

15. Have students complete the L section of their K-W-L chart and turn in.


The Lab Safety Rubric is marked as students go through the procedures. The K-W-L Chart is collected at the end of the activity. (See Associated File)


Use Lab Safety/Equipment Rubrics with each lab during the school year.

Web Links

Web supplement for The Accident That Did Not Happen
Flinn Scientific

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