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What Not to Do Laboratory

What Not to Do Laboratory is a great way to review lab safety procedures at the beginning of the school year. I used this a few years ago with my chemistry students, and it sparked many great conversations.

photograph of microscope in laboratory with text "what not to do laboratory"

Source of Activity

The original What Not to Do Laboratory poster is the creation of The Laboratory Safety Institute. It was originally published in 2006.

Alternate Version with Numbers

When I used this activity with students, I found a version online that had numbers written next to each of the safety offenses.


This numbered version was accompanied by a worksheet where students identified each safety error.

I liked that the worksheet identified finding ALL of the safety errors.

Turning It Into a Game

I can also see playing a Scattergories style game where groups are given the original image and one minute to identify as many errors as possible.

If more than one group identifies an error, everyone must mark it off their list. The group with the most unique items on their list wins.

Another Take on the Activity

The Chem Ed X-Change has a write-up of this activity on their website, if you are looking for more ideas for implementing it.