ABSTRACT As elementary teachers engage their students in scientific inquiry, they often turn to the internet as a resource for rapidly locating scientific activities to use in an inclusive classroom. In these circumstances, however, how can the elementary level teacher know whether the science activities are safe? Even if safety is included within the activities, how does the elementary level teacher know if all safety issues have adequately been addressed? The purpose of this article is to highlight potential safety concerns involving elementary science activities and to provide a checklist to use when evaluating the safety of science activities prior to implementing these activities within the inclusive classroom. If the use of the checklist calls attention to a safety concern in a particular activity, we suggest trying to modify the activity first to make it safe. If the activity cannot be modified to eliminate all safety concerns, then it is recommended that the elementary level teacher search for a different activity that does not pose any hazards. The checklist and supporting back-ground information provided within this paper is intended to help teachers confidently provide a positive learning environment in which all students can safely learn science through inquiry and exploration.
Cite this paper
Meier, R. , Murdick, N. and Lytle, C. (2014) The Safety of Science Activities in an Inclusive Elementary Classroom. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 278-288. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.29046.
 Roy, K.R. (2007) The NSTA Ready-Reference Guide to Safer Science. NSTA, Arlington.
 Edens, R., Murdick, N. and Gartin, B. (2003) Preventing Infection in the Classroom: The Use of Universal Precautions. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35, 62-65.
 Edens, R. and Murdick, N. (2008) Are There Toxic Plants in Your Classroom? A Resource for Educators of Children with Exceptional Needs. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus, 4, 2-14.
 Lemons, J. (1996) Missouri Elementary Science Safety Manual. Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jefferson City.
 Prosser, W.L., Keeton, W.P., Dobbs, D.B., Keeton, R.E. and Owen, D.G. (1984) In: Keeton, W.P., Ed., Prosser and Keeton on Torts, 5th Edition, West Group, St. Paul.