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Author: Subject: School Science no danger but is still curtailed
CherrieBaby
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 08:34
School Science no danger but is still curtailed


http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA871.htm

Taking the spark out of science

Health and safety fears are squeezing practical experiments out of the classroom.

by Josie Appleton

Health and safety concerns are putting a dampener on school science practicals. A survey of teachers and scientists finds that everything from keeping snails to swabbing for cheek cells, running model steam engines to burning peanuts, is now being avoided because it is seen as too risky. The result is that children are being turned off science - with experts fearing for the next generation of chemists and physicists.

...

Yet most of these fears are groundless. Peter Borrows, director of the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services (CLEAPSS), says that in fact 'almost the safest place for any child to be is the school laboratory'. According to Borrows, statistics going back to the 1960s show that science contributes a steady 0.8 per cent of all serious pupil accidents in schools, compared to 60 per cent in PE and one percent in toilets and cloakrooms. Given that there are generally between 4000 and 5000 serious accidents per year, this means that only around 35 take place during science lessons, even though millions of pupils spend several hours of every week in science classes.

There has been no explosion of claims against science teachers. 'Since 1975, three teachers have been sued successfully', says Borrows. 'And to be blunt, they were nutters. Science teachers aren't at risk of being sued.'

...
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Sandmeyer
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 08:43


It is american tradition to import brainpower, so it dosen't matter.



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sparkgap
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 08:50


Well, I got a lot of "Yes" responses on a poll I conducted many posts ago regarding Chem. Ed. being stunted by regulations, so I ain't that shocked. :P

WTF is the risk with "running model steam engines" or "keeping snails"? Schistosomiasis? Getting your ass burnt by the steam? Stuff can be done for safety purposes, and eliminating practical experiments should not be one of them, IMNSHO.

sparky (>_<;)

P.S.

"...It seems the only thing approved in schools now is 'diversity' and sexual activity..."

Not all do, Mr. Wizard. Not all do. The shame! :o

[Edited on 24-11-2005 by sparkgap]




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Mr. Wizard
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 09:06


I confess the things interesting me in science were the sparks, flashes, bangs, and flames. Making spark transmitters, sending high voltage through old light bulbs and talking over the family radio got me interested in elctronics. Trying to recreate these interesting phenomena has helped my knowledge of the physical world. There has to be an interest, before the will to learn develops. It would be a shame to lose the will to learn. It seems the only thing approved in schools now is 'diversity' and sexual activity.
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 09:18


Actually.... I've seen quite a few accidents in the lab. Three major, two involving putting a pipette through someones hand and one involving an explosion. But still, nothing like physical education, the injuries there were numerous. Stupid contageous chemophobia :P



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thalium
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 10:31


If they ban this they should ban rollercoasters. In my school last year there were 5 PE accidents involving broken bones, yet no accident in any science lab. This is repeated every year.



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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 14:05


And people scoff when I remark that there have been no end of injuries incurred on the playing fields at my school (I'm hardpressed to name someone who does games regularly and hasn't broken a bone at some point) while those of us who keep off the grass and in the lab can go through seventeen years of life without breaking a single bone.



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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 14:06


This is recent
A 15 year old was caught in the eye with a wet cloth while they were cleaning up the chem labs at school. The teacher would not treat the eye with water (10 min +) because it might be considered assault or improper action. The mother (who is well qualified) has put a complaint in.
mick

typo

[Edited on 24-11-2005 by mick]

The teacher told him to go to the first aid room, on his own, and the first aider said the same. Some one helped him out though.
mick

[Edited on 24-11-2005 by mick]

[Edited on 24-11-2005 by mick]
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 16:18


I like to think I do my part to get kids interested in chem. In highschool I did demonstrations for "open houses" and the same in university. I try to do interesting experiments for those, but especially in HS most of my ideas were shot down. In all cases I have been in a bit of 'trouble' after each demonstration for doing unauthorized experiments(liquid O2, Mn2O7 etc), not really trouble, but just "don't do that, its a liabliity risk" or "please ask next time so we can do a safety evaluation first".

I wish science teaching was more like in the olden days, with the fun demonstrations.




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Darkblade48
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 16:32


Quote:
Originally posted by BromicAcid
Actually.... I've seen quite a few accidents in the lab. Three major, two involving putting a pipette through someones hand and one involving an explosion.


I'm assuming you mean a pasteur pipette? How is it even possible to get those through your hand, I'd imagine the glass would shatter first :o

I've had my shares of accidents, but they were mainly broken glass, and nothing major.
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 17:25


One was a pasteur pipette, it didn't go though but it went in deep, someone was trying to put it through a rubber stopper. The other one was a 10 ml pipette, it was back in high school and we had some kind of thing to draw the liquid up inside of it, it had a wheel on the side of it and the pipettes would be pressed into place and the wheel turned to draw up the liquid, one girl was having trouble getting the pipette to stay in place so she was holding the wheel part in one hand while pushing the pipette in place with the other, it broke somewhere in the middle and she drove the whole thing in one side of her hand and out the other, there was a circle of flesh and meat in the middle of the tube where it came out. Kind of unexpected.



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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 17:44


Quote:
Originally posted by BromicAcid
The other one was a 10 ml pipette, it was back in high school and we had some kind of thing to draw the liquid up inside of it, it had a wheel on the side of it and the pipettes would be pressed into place and the wheel turned to draw up the liquid, one girl was having trouble getting the pipette to stay in place so she was holding the wheel part in one hand while pushing the pipette in place with the other, it broke somewhere in the middle and she drove the whole thing in one side of her hand and out the other, there was a circle of flesh and meat in the middle of the tube where it came out. Kind of unexpected.


Urgh. We used those in biology, of all things. I never did like them - it took something like ten seconds to get the liquid up the damn tube because it took so damn long to spin the wheel. You can get it done with regular bulb pipettes in a fraction of the time, easily.

Still, sounds suitably gruesome. =P




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Darkblade48
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 18:59


Quote:
Originally posted by BromicAcid
...it broke somewhere in the middle and she drove the whole thing in one side of her hand and out the other, there was a circle of flesh and meat in the middle of the tube where it came out. Kind of unexpected.


There isn't a barfing smiley, but that certainly paints quite a gruesome picture.

I had to google up what you were talking about, turns out it's the first time I've seen such a type of pipette. Looks horribly difficult to use too.
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neutrino
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 19:40


What kind? An ordinary graduated pipette, volumetric...?
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 24-11-2005 at 21:23


I once had the privilege of teaching an 8th grade science class for a day as part of "Engineers' Week." My demonstration was lighting a red LED with a galvanic cell made from an orange, a piece of copper, and a piece of zinc. Then I spent the rest of the hour going over some construction drawings. There were 3 or 4 students that seemed really interested, The remainder had glazed-over eyes.

I think for most you have to have some experiment that really grabs their attention. My hat is off to you rogue chemist for having the balls to do exciting experiments.




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[*] posted on 25-11-2005 at 19:08


I think the only risk comes from morons who don't pay attention in class, lack common "sense" and/or lack safety. In my chemistry class last year a kid stuck a thermal probe(metal) in a bunsen(sp) burner. I wish the thing had liquified and splattered in his face(the kid was an assclown). Sadly he did not keep it down there long enough.:(
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[*] posted on 26-11-2005 at 05:54


Quote:
Originally posted by Sandmeyer
It is american tradition to import brainpower, so it dosen't matter.


Yeah, but America police the entire world with their ideals, and the brainpower has to come from somewhere.

The only accidents we've had (that I know of) at the school lab involve simple things like broken glassware, and spilt reagents. No real injuries.
Infact, besides the typically numerous amount of PE accidents, all that I know of is some guy in our class losing the tip of his thumb to a bandsaw.




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Sandmeyer
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[*] posted on 26-11-2005 at 06:22


Quote:
Originally posted by cyclonite4

Yeah, but America police the entire world with their ideals, and the brainpower has to come from somewhere.


You think that Russians and Chinese will adopt that same stupid and contraproductive policies? They have a tradition to give their people a stable intellectual ground, poor included, make no misstake to mix them with american.

It's pretty ironical that they are adopting these nonsencial "security and safety" policies at the same time as they are sending young people to die in war after war.




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[*] posted on 26-11-2005 at 07:21


Well, natrually I was exaggerating, and I completely agree with you.
Australia is on the verge of new "anti-terror" laws, and some are pretty outrageous, like the sedition laws (there goes free speech and alternative opinions).




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