From: "Wilhelm, Monique" <mwilhelm**At_Symbol_Here**UMFLINT.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] High School teacher support
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2014 18:27:39 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: o29iuyml9mi0nmo56hma8tu0.1389032852526**At_Symbol_Here**

As part of the International Year of Chemistry, my students and I did a 4 hour workshop on doing SAFE demos to get kids engaged in science. (It came about because it is really disturbing to me that so many kids assume I am going to blow something up when I tell them I am a chemist. For crying out loud, I am a biochemist.) However, most of the teachers were not high school. One of the participants was the K-12 science coordinator for a local district who was there to take things back to the teachers. It was a very successful free program that we have tried to continue annually. To encourage the safer demos, we even provide each teacher with a "demo kit" to take back to their classes. The kit contains the materials to do the demos and activities, plus a manual with all of the instructions and resources to purchase additional supplies. We have also posted videos of the demos (actually recorded during the workshop) on the chem club web page as an additional resource for !
the teachers. The hardest part for me is getting the word out. The students write the program, get it approved by me, and assemble the kits. The hardest part for schools is paying a sub. I would be happy to share any of the materials for this project with anyone who would like to start their own.

I also recently attended a forum for the National Girls Collaborative Project. This group is doing something that I have been trying to do for years: bring together everyone interested in promoting STEM as a central resource pool. This includes K-12 teachers, colleges and universities, professionals from industry, libraries, science centers and museums, and local kids programming groups (ie Girl Scouts). While it is generally aimed at promoting science to girls, I believe that for me it is going to become an excellent pool of people that can help me get the word out about any of my outreach activities and act as a resource for whatever I need for the activity (as an example: my local museum has an assessment coordinator who is going to help me come up with an assessment plan for my next outreach project so that I can seek government funding and they have a program coordinator who is going to help me promote it).

This needs to be happening. YouTube plus the pressure of keeping the attention of students is making teachers willing to do things that they have never done before. Plus, I have found that a lot of these teachers do not have much of any chemical background to even be able to gauge what is safe and how to minimize the hazards. If we can give them a resource for doing it safer, we should. It can be done.

Monique Wilhelm
Laboratory Supervisor
University of Michigan-Flint

"Kennedy, Sheila" wrote:
Your local response seems likely to be the most effective.
I??m curious if anyone else is doing something similar for their local areas ?? especially Southern California. Please reply only if you ARE doing something. I suspect negative replies would overwhelm us!
Sheila Kennedy, C.H.O.
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry |MC 0303
s1kennedy**At_Symbol_Here** |<>
Office: (858) 534-0221 | Fax: (858) 534-7687

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Kim Gates
Sent: Monday, January 06, 2014 4:59 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] CSB statement on High School Laboratory Fire in New York City

I think that all of as at universities have a great opportunity as a CHO & members of DCHAS. I wanted to share what I've been doing locally to help promote lab safety with HS teachers.

1. Several years ago when I put together our Minors in Research Labs program (, I reached out to our local Science & Engineering Fair group (<>). We have about 300 HS students every year on our campus conducting independent research, and many of them are working towards winning the national science/engineering competitions. The LISEF group is made up of dedicated HS science teachers and they were worried my policy would eliminate the chance of their students working at SBU. We worked together & they understood that would not happen but their students would benefit by learning more about lab safety. They put my name & web site on their page for all the HS teachers/parents to see for lab safety questions.

2. Because of my outreach to the local HS research groups, I created an email list that is close to 50. It also includes the school insurance reps (I knew them from the local ASSE) and every HS science teacher my daughter has had. I use this email group to send out safety messages and let the research teachers know when we've scheduled the HS lab safety training in June. The insurance reps share all these emails with the school district safety committees that they are members of. LISEF is also on this list & my emails get posted on their web site.

3. Whenever a school lab incident is reported in those GREAT DCHAS news emails, I send it to my HS email list as a "Lessons Learned". I give a quick description, what they can do to make it safer in their labs to avoid this incident and a direct link to the subject on my web site for more information. I also include the news article to make it "real". I emailed out the CSB report with the video they sent last month. I may have gotten a bit preachy on the methanol accident that happened JUST before the CSB video release (how many more of these lessons learned will I have to send out?), and I also included the link to the NSTA report on this problem: safety alert from the National Science Teachers Association:

4. Because last week's NYC methanol incident is so close to home, I will be sending out another lessons learned to the HS group. I'm glad it didn't occur in a school district I may have contact with, but it could have. I will also be asking the email recipients on their ideas on how to get this message out to more people - the NYC teacher may be a friend of someone in my group.

I think ACS/DCHAS/CCS should keep working to produce lab safety guidance for teachers/school districts. But I don't think its going to reach all of the teachers. The NSTA report was not known by most teachers. This is their own organization! The CSB message most definitely did not reach the teachers. While I don't have any data to show that my email group & outreach has made a difference, I've gotten lots of positive feedback from them. If it has kept 1 student from being burned, I've done my job. I urge all of the university CHO/DCHAS members to reach out to their local schools and SEF groups. I'm sure you all have HS students on your campus using your labs.

Kim Gates
Laboratory Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-6200
FAX: 631-632-9683
EH&S Web site:

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