Nothing is more important than science lab safety. A safe lab allows for a healthy learning environment. Yet kids often brush it off because it’s not as “fun” as the actual experimentation. A crossword puzzle will help spruce up the lab safety rules while also ensuring that your students understand all of them. Your puzzle might introduce lab safety rules, reinforce lab safety rules, or you might make multiple crosswords to ensure total comprehension.
Introducing Lab Safety Rules
Chances are you have a set of rules readily available to your students through a document or a chart in the lab. After thoroughly reviewing it with them for the first time, reinforce their knowledge right away with a crossword while the knowledge is still fresh.
How you format your clues and answers will depend on the needs of your lab. Mr. Kelcher, for example, decided to format all of his clues as fill-in-the-blank to ensure students remembered key words above all else.
Perhaps you have greater concerns about how students will handle the equipment, or whether or not they will remember the lab’s procedures in the right order. Go through procedures and tools with a crossword like this.
If students historically struggle with a particular concept, make a new crossword puzzle that focuses on that element. This will help if they’re struggling because a concept seems minor or unmemorable for some reason (but is actually quite important!).
Reinforcing Lab Safety Rules
To keep your lab safe all year round, you may want to periodically reintroduce a crossword puzzle to make sure students remember the lab safety rules. Make a new one as frequently as once a month, each quarter, or you might wait for each new semester. Revisiting lab safety rules after a holiday break can prove particularly necessary and effective.
For extra engagement, change the nature of the puzzle as well. Make it as a contract like this teacher did to highlight the serious nature of this information.
Run a classroom contest to add an element of fun to it. A selected winner can get extra credit!
Or highlight one element of lab safety rules in each crossword. This crossword, for example, focuses on the lab equipment. Another puzzle could focus on procedures. Introducing a crossword puzzle like this later in the year will give you time to assess what is and is not working in your lab.
Encourage students to learn more about lab safety rules beyond the classroom with resources like this one from the United Federation of Teachers. Whether your crosswords will count for a grade or extra credit, the most important aspect is keeping a safe lab. Achieve this by experimenting with some crossword puzzles today.
Kristen Seikaly used her artistic background, research skills, and love for the internet to launch her first blog, Operaversity. Now she uses the skills to connect teachers, parents, and game enthusiasts with Crossword Hobbyist and My Word Search. She studied music at the University of Michigan, and now lives in Philadelphia.