MYP 6 Science - Chemistry

MYP 6.1.1: Safety in the laboratory


  • To introduce the students to a new and potentially hazardous environment and explain safe practice.


Discuss the need for specialised apparatus for the handling of chemicals and materials.

Potential Chemical Hazards:

  • Toxic by skin absorption and inhalation.
  • Acute (immediate effect) poisons e.g. cyanide, chlorine gas
  • Chronic (accumulative effect) poisons e.g. lead and heavy metal compounds
  • Carcinogens (explain as chemicals whose effects may appear years later as cancer)
  • Corrosive
  • Skin irritants - allergens
  • Flammable liquids

Demonstrate some examples from the chemical store:

  • Toxic: Lead salts - show formation of lead iodide
  • Flammable: 5 drops cyclohexane on a watch glass and ignite using a splint
  • Corrosive: Piece of magnesium ribbon into 10cm3 sulphuric acid (pop gas).
  • Oxidant: Glycerine and potassium manganate(VII) - delay!
  • Explosive: Picric acid - no demo

Explain safe disposal - Environment!

Symbols used to convey information about chemicals

Toxic Harmful or irritant Flammable Oxidising (helps other things to burn)
Explosive Corrosive Environmental hazard  


Emphasise that the scientist's job is to be able to handle these materials safely and link this with the laboratory rules:

  • Always use the correct apparatus
  • Always take appropriate safety precautions (safety glasses, fume cupboard etc)
  • Always report and clean up spillages appropriately (certain materials need to be cleaned up in a specific way)
  • Always follow instructions
  • Never eat or drink in the laboratory
  • Wash hands after handling chemicals

Possible Class activity

Draw hazard symbols in exercise books and explain what each one means.


Spotlight Science 7: p4-5


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