7 Things Every New Science Teacher Should Know

Our collection of resources will put you on the path for successful science instruction.

As a new science teacher, you’re taking the responsibility of guiding and facilitating student science instruction. That means planning lessons, activities, and laboratory investigations—all while keeping students and yourself safe. You’re not in this alone; Carolina is here with a library of helpful, instructional, and up-to-date articles to guide you through planning and setting up science activities and lab investigations. 

Safety First

Keeping students and yourself safe during lab is a top priority. Train students in safety protocols on Day 1, and encourage them to make the protocols habits. Remember to also model safe practices. There is no “do as I say, not as I do” in lab. Safety procedures must be addressed before every lab. Following are several resources to help you get started planning and conducting safe and fun laboratory investigations.

General Lab Equipment: What Do You Need to Run a Lab?

As a new teacher, walking into a classroom that you must make your own can be a daunting task, especially when it includes furnishing or refurbishing lab stations. Take stock of equipment and supplies already in the lab, identify their condition, and then decide what needs to be purchased (prioritize if necessary). There are several guides that can help in deciding the equipment and supplies to purchase.

Living Organisms: How Can You Use Them in Your Classroom?

Living organisms can go way beyond the traditional class pet. Carolina provides a host of organisms and activities to enhance hands-on learning. Think about teaching group behavior in social animals with termites, the effects of habitat destruction with pill bugs, or phototropism and photosynthesis with algae. Learning with living organisms allows students to collect quantitative data over time, building science and engineering skills, and teaches the importance of habitat stability.

  • Habitats: Every organism—terrestrial, aquatic, or both—needs a properly setup home.
  • Care Guides: These guides supply information that covers an organism’s food, water, and general habitat needs so your organism remains high quality for the duration of the investigation.
  • Microbiology: If you are uncertain of which microbiological organism you need for a lab, this guide will point you in the right direction.

Dissections: Dos and Don’ts

Dissections are an important part of all life science classes, and there is no better way to meet structure and function standards than with a dissection. Carolina offers numerous specimens for dissection, including animal organs and complete animals. In many cases, you also can choose the preservative and number of colored injections a specimen has. If you prefer virtual reality dissection, we can help with that too.

Biotechnology: How to Keep Current and Prepare Students for Careers

Choosing the most appropriate biotechnology equipment for lab exercises—or outfitting an entire laboratory—can be a challenge. Carolina has a diverse selection of quality products coupled with world-class service to make sure you have exactly the right equipment and support you need to ensure great results. If you are not sure what kits to use with our equipment, start with the guides “Which Electrophoresis Kit Is Right for You?” and “Which PCR Kit Is Right for You?” to help you choose a kit that fits.

  • Equipment buying guide: Get help choosing the right equipment for the investigations you want to do.
  • Pitfalls series: Learn common mistakes made in biotechnology labs and how to correct them.

Chemicals: Basics to Get You Started

When you were in college, chances are all your chemicals were neatly arranged and solutions were already prepared when you walked into a lab. As a science teacher, you must do the ordering, the prep, the storage, and maintain all the safety standards for your students and possibly the science teaching staff. We’ve compiled some basic information that you may not have learned during your lab experiences.

  • Chemical grades: What are they and why are they important?
  • Solution preparation: How to prepare molar, molal, and normal solutions and a review of common solutions found in the lab.
  • Chemical labeling: All chemicals must be labeled according to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
  • Safe chemical storage: All chemicals must be stored safely, securely, and in the proper container. Be familiar with your school chemical hygiene plan.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) should be accessible to both the teacher and students during an investigation. Check with the fire station that services your school since many of them request a list of all stored chemicals and the safety data sheets. At Carolina, we link SDSs for each product and maintains a data base for all the chemicals we sell.

Know Your Science Supplier

Just as important as all the information above is selecting a reliable, responsible, and responsive lab materials supplier. Carolina Biological Supply Company was founded more than 90 years ago by Dr. Thomas E. Powell Jr., a geology and biology professor at Elon College who needed high-quality specimens for his biology students but couldn’t find a reliable source. Since then, the company has grown to more than 37 departments that cultivate, collect, prepare, design, and test science materials, including:

  • Living cultures
  • Microorganisms
  • Field collections
  • Chemicals and chemical formulations
  • Lab safety equipment
  • General lab equipment for all content areas
  • Lab furniture
  • Science investigations kit development
  • K–8 curriculum development

Our 100% satisfaction guarantee goes beyond repairing or replacing the occasional mishap and includes a cadre of on-site scientists to answer your technical questions, offer support, troubleshoot, and share ideas and information to help get you started. Science education is more than our business, it’s our passion, just like you.

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