A week ago Friday the students did not set fire to the lab. Here was their assignment: create a procedure to measure the water content of 3 different brands of popcorn. They needed to pop 12 batches of popcorn using bunsen burners, tin cans, tinfoil and vegetable oil.
The main purpose of this was to see if they could follow multi-step directions, pay attention to lab safety and use precise measurements to record and analyze their data.
So naturally the first hour class cranked their bunsen burners up to 11 and within minutes the whole lab was filled with choking fumes and grey clouds of smoke... and the fire alarm did not go off... but the entire administrative staff from the school came running!
I had (naturally) forgotten to bring my inhaler and kept stepping outside the room to try not to have an asthma attack. (Success)
By the time the head of building and grounds, safety and security, the master teacher for science, several mentor teachers and our director showed up... there was nothing burning anymore. There was just the horrible smell. Throughout the entire building.
Because the fume hood vents from the 2nd floor (where the lab is) right up to the intake for the third floor. Which made a lot of kids really nervous that the building was on fire and maybe they should all leave even though the alarms were not going off.
So the head of security said, "Let's get these kids out of here!" and started marching off down the hall. And no one followed her. We just stood there kind of confused... because nothing was happening anymore. And everyone was safe.
She came back and said, "Well, we are NOT doing this lab again."
To which our director said, "Oh YES we will. We are doing this lab next hour! THIS is SCIENCE!"
I love my job.
Quaker, teacher, parent,