5 Engaging Ways to Teach Chemistry Safety While Keeping Students Safe

Job Brisby Eloja

Working in a chemistry lab always involves risks. Some reagents, like strong acids and bases, can burn your skin. Others, like ethanol and acetone, can easily catch fire. There are also reagents that have strong odors, like chloroform. The fumes tend to be poisonous when inhaled.

When students are inside a chemistry lab, safety should be a priority. For first timers, they need to be oriented first on the do’s and don’ts in the lab before they hold a beaker. A briefing on lab safety is a must for all students.

But teaching chemistry safety is often dry and dull. It doesn’t quite excite students. Some students even have trouble taking the warnings seriously until they get into a lab accident.

It pays to teach this topic in a way that’s more engaging and appealing to students. Here are five suggested teaching methods.

1. Use Interactive Demonstrations to Teach This Topic

Chemistry safety is not just about memorizing hazard symbols, wearing gloves, and knowing where the eye wash station is. Safety should be a lifestyle. Students should always know what to do to keep themselves safe from the harmful effects of the chemicals they will work on. 

This is where interactive demonstrations come in. Demos can make it more exciting for students to learn chemistry safety. Instructors can demonstrate safety procedures themselves while telling students about them. Also, instructors can make use of video tutorials. 

Interactive lab simulations, like the Chemistry Safety virtual lab from Labster, also work quite well. With these simulations, students can experience doing lab safety protocols without the risk of harming themselves.

Chemistry safety virtual lab setup.

2. Make Chemistry Safety Fun with Games and Activities

You might be thinking that something as serious as lab safety should not be played around with. True, students need to take this topic seriously. But it doesn’t mean they can’t have fun while learning about it.

Chemistry safety games can help teach crucial concepts in a fun way. When students are having fun, their learning process is greatly enhanced. They may not even be aware that they are learning.

For a more engaging safety briefing, try using Labster’s Dispose of Chemical Waste virtual lab. This game will teach students how to take out lab waste while keeping themselves safe. If they can master the techniques in the virtual lab, they will be more confident when it’s time to work on an actual lab.

3. Integrate Technology as Teaching Tools

Today’s students are looking for more than plain lectures and reading from the text. They want the learning experience to be augmented by technology. 

It’s a good idea for instructors to use interactive demos, video tutorials, and even smartphone apps. This way, instructors can open up new avenues of learning. Students can see the topic in angles that are not possible with traditional lectures.

Hazard symbols for chemistry safety in a virtual lab.
Discover one of Labster's Chemistry Safety simulations today!

Technologies that let students manipulate the learning material and learn at their own pace work best. For example, Labster has the Hazard Symbols virtual lab. This simulation orients students on the many symbols they can see in reagent containers. Playing around with the simulation lets students become familiar with hazard symbols faster. 

4. Inspire Students by Exploring Career Paths

Students are more inclined to learn topics they can use for their future careers. It’s a good idea for instructors to tell students how important this topic is for careers like:

  • Chemist
  • Cosmetics manufacturer
  • Medical doctor
  • Nurse
  • Water treatment plant technician
  • Chef

Yes, even chefs need to know chemistry safety. The things they work with also have risks associated with them. Cooking oil, for instance, is flammable. Gas tanks are also flammable and explosive. 

If students have an idea of how chemistry safety is important in many careers, they will be more motivated to master the topic.

5. Connect the Topic to its Real-World Applications

Chemistry safety has significant uses in the real world. For instance, for people working in cleaning and maintenance jobs, they also need a good grasp of chemistry safety. These people handle potentially dangerous chemicals like bleach, gasoline, chlorine, and the like. These chemicals are part of their jobs, so they need to know how to keep themselves safe.

If students see the value of this topic in real life, they will want to learn it more. Especially if their safety is on the line.

Final Thoughts

Chemistry safety is an essential topic for many students to master. When it is taught in creative, fun, and engaging ways, students will internalize important principles more quickly and easily.

Gloves on a handcart in a chemistry safety virtual lab.

Labster has a number of simulations that can help students with this topic. The Chemistry Safety, Dispose of Chemical Waste, and Hazard Symbols virtual labs all let students experience how to keep themselves safe when working in a chemistry lab. All of this is done in a safe virtual environment, where there is no risk of causing harm to themselves in case of accidents.

Try our free 30-day All Access Educator's Pass today and play the Chemistry Safety simulations alongside 300+ other virtual labs!
a man sitting in front of a computer monitor
Bring Science to Life
Immersive Learning Simulations

Labster helps universities and high schools enhance student success in STEM.

Request Demo

Discover The Most Immersive Digital Learning Platform.

Request a demo to discover how Labster helps high schools and universities enhance student success.

Request Demo