Incorporating inquiry investigations into the science curriculum requires that teachers and students adopt new methods to guarantee lab safety.
General Requirements for Inquiry Safety
The first step in designing an experiment is for students to identify the type of data that may be needed to answer a question. Students must then determine the materials, procedures, and conditions for gathering observations and measurements to ensure a “fair test” for the planned investigation and sufficient accuracy and precision in the results to reliably answer the question. Hazard and risk assessment is an essential part of developing a laboratory procedure. Student preparation is an essential element for success in any student-directed inquiry activity. To ensure a safe lab environment, it is critical that the teacher review each group’s material lists and their procedure, including any necessary safety precautions, before allowing students to work in the lab.