06.06.2019: One Chapter of Science – Lab Safety and Scientific Tools

Today’s soundtrack is Blood Ceremony: The Eldritch Dark, a fascinating album with doom metal, psychedelic rock, and prog rock influences.

This afternoon, I’m reading the fourth chapter of Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook, in which I’m learning about lab safety and scientific tools.

The number one rule to consider before everything else “is to think before you act” (p. 47). Doing so is the best way to prevent accidents.

When working in a lab, the following are some good general guidelines:

  1. Wear protective gear (apron, goggles, gloves, closed-toe shoes)
  2. Ensure nothing is dangling (hair, jewelry, tie)
  3. Wash hands
  4. Keep food and drinks out to avoid contamination
  5. Keep the lab tidy
  6. Learn how to use safety equipment and know where to find it (eyewash, mitts, tongs, extinguisher, fire blanket, water source and/or shower)
  7. Dispose of waste appropriately
    1. Biological waste includes “blood, mold, dead animals, animal waste, or any objects contaminated by these things” (p. 51)
    2. Toxic waste includes poisons
    3. Radioactive waste includes “anything contaminated by radiation” (p. 51)
    4. Flammable waste includes anything that can catch on fire easily or that is combustible
    5. Corrosive chemical waste includes corrosive chemicals such as battery acid
    6. Sharp objects and glassware includes needles, broken glass, etc.

When accidents happen, we can react in the following ways:

  1. Minor burn
    1. Run under cold water for five minutes
  2. Fire
    1. Use fire extinguisher, pull fire alarm
    2. If a person is on fire, stop/drop/roll in a fire blanket
  3. Water spill
    1. Mop it up
  4. Chemical spill
    1. Action depends on the kind of chemical…review MSDS

In a lab, we might use the following kinds of instruments and tools:

  1. Hot plate
    1. A little electric stove
  2. Bunsen burner
    1. An open gas flame that heats objects above it
  3. Ring stand
    1. holds “beakers, flasks, and test tubes […] when heating, mixing, or measuring chemicals” (p. 54)
  4. Beaker
    1. A cylindrical glass container
  5. Flask
    1. A conical glass container
  6. Test tube
    1. A “long glass tube rounded at the end” (p. 55), which can be closed with a stopper and cleaned with a test tube brush
  7. Stirring rod
    1. A glass stick that we can use to stir liquids inside beakers, flasks, and test tubes
  8. Funnel
    1. Wide on the top, where we pour something in; narrow at the bottom, so that we can direct its flow
  9. Microscope
    1. A tool used to see small things more clearly than we could with the naked eye
    2. We used slides, little glass plates, to hold the specimens that we want to observe


  1. A Bunsen burner is used to heat things with an open flame
  2. A safer way to smell a chemical is to “waft” it
  3. We can use goggles to protect our eyes in the lab
  4. Never eat or drink in a lab
  5. A flask is like a beaker with a narrower mouth
  6. Biological waste includes living or once-living things
  7. A ring stand holds our test tube above our Bunsen burner’s flame
  8. A fire blanket is used to smother small fires or to wrap a person on fire
  9. Never leave a heat source unattended.
  10. A slide holds the specimen when we use a microscope.

That’s it for today! We’ve finished off the first unit; in the next unit, we’ll get into some fun stuff: matter, chemical reactions, and solutions!

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