From: McGrath Edward J <Edward.McGrath**At_Symbol_Here**REDCLAY.K12.DE.US>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Liquid methane experiment in class
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:32:32 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 5117517A15F08343A243D1DEFBE6BE4CC3A6FD7A**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <14c9fa98964-5512-f5ac**At_Symbol_Here**>

There's actually a bigger lesson to be gleaned from this posting, and I believe ACS might be the organization to teach it.


Besides the obvious disregard for personal safety (I can't figure out if the teacher is wearing goggles or a pair of glasses—regardless, if they are goggles, they are the wrong kind), the message here seems to be that science education is all about dazzling our students and putting on a show.  Even if this demonstration was appropriate for a K-12 setting, and was done with appropriate safety procedures in place, my first question to the teacher would be, "what is the learning objective, and how would you measure that objective?"


We've established that this demo is not safe.  However, it isn't science either.  It's entertainment.  One of the struggles the science education community deals with from all sides is the need to include safety education in with science education.  I tell my teachers that their lesson plans should always include a comment about how safety is ensured.  The trouble is, principals don't see the need for this, students definitely don't see the need for this, sometimes vendors of science materials don't see the need for this (although vendors are usually much more in tune with the safety message).  And teachers really believe if it worked 100 times before, it will always work.


I know everybody is perpetually busy, but if you have the ability and the time, I encourage you to visit a local school, and let the students, teachers, and administration know


1)   What science is all about in the "real world."  In many cases, it's not what they think, and

2)   Safer practice is not just a good idea or a poster slogan.  It is a culture, and if it's not nurtured, tragedywill strike sooner or later.


Eddie McGrath


Edward J. McGrath

Supervisor of Science

Red Clay Consolidated School District

1502 Spruce Avenue

Wilmington DE  19805


(302) 552-3768


We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors.  We borrowed it from our children.



From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU]On Behalf Of Monona Rossol
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2015 3:31 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Liquid methane experiment in class


The guy seems to look like he is fully mature and he has a job teaching. If he made it to this age and has this level of common sense, I'd do him a favor and fire him before he hurts someone.  He should not be around young people who, by definition, have plenty of stupid ideas of their own.


Even if you train him to understand about this kind of hazard, how many other bad ideas lurk there waiting for a chance to be on a video?


That said, I want you on the jury at my trial if I do something stupid.



Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist

President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.

Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE

181 Thompson St., #23

New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062





-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Simolo <simolo**At_Symbol_Here**CHEM.CHEM.ROCHESTER.EDU>
Sent: Thu, Apr 9, 2015 3:05 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Liquid methane experiment in class

Other than as an example, there is little value in punishing the person.  It is
much better to educate people in the error of their ways and turn them into
advocates for safety.  I do not know the individual involved but my guess is
that he is a popular, dedicated teacher who has nothing but the best of
intentions.  Would I ever do what he is doing?  No, I would not.  But he has
likely seen numerous examples of this being done and is not thinking about the
potential ramifications of his actions, not just to his class but to others who
see it and repeat it.  I would feel differently if the person insisted what they
were doing was safe and continued to do it.  What he is doing is one of those
examples of an act where you might get away with it hundreds of times before
something goes horribly wrong.  

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