Fun Activities

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Visually striking science experiments at school can be fun, inspiring and safe – banning is not the answer!? A Community of Inquiry

 MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy


Cooperative LearningCooperative Learning Activity


It would be a good idea to read through the following article from The Conversation 28 November 2022 to see if you have conducted any of these experiments.



The Science K-10 syllabus, which incorporates Science and Technology K- 6, states that "A student's sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural and made world is fostered through actively engaging in the processes of Working Scientifically and Working Technologically". While schools foster learning through practical activities, they must also meet work health and safety (WHS) obligations as a business.


1. Form groups of 3 - 4 students to read through the following article from The Conversation 28 November 2022

The Conversation

2. Using the Question Quadrant, create 2 questions for each of the quadrants based on the information from The Conversation article.


Question Quadrant

3. List all the questions on the board from this 4th Quadrant "Questions for Thinking" and students - put your names next to your question.

4. Think about grouping the questions - the ones that are the same or similar - together.

5. Start the discussion with the most asked question.

6. Here are the rules for discussion:

  • Only one person speaks at a time
  • Pay attention to the person who is speaking
  • Give other people a chance to speak
  • Build upon other people's ideas
  • No put-downs
    (Source: Associate Prof. Phil Cam)



 Chemical Safety in Schools - A Data Analysis

MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary


NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

ICT Capability Australian Curriculum General Capability: ICT Capability


1. "Chemical safety is an important issue for schools.

All schools need to manage hazardous chemicals as per the WHS Regulations. This includes maintaining a hazardous chemicals register and holding current Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each hazardous chemical and ensuring all containers are appropriately labelled.

Some examples of where you may find chemicals in schools:

Staff areas and kitchens - washing up liquid, dishwasher chemicals.
Laboratories - various laboratory chemicals.
Art classrooms - paints, solvents, glues.
Technical classrooms - solvents, stains, glues.
Photography dark rooms - developers, fixatives.
Cleaner's storerooms - cleaning detergents, bleaches, drain cleaners.
Maintenance sheds / rooms - petrol, paints, spray paints, oils.
Swimming pools - acids, chlorine." (Source: AIS NSW)


School Chemicals
School Laboratory Pre-room
(Source: NJ Govt - PDF)

You are to form groups of 3 - 4 students to investigate and analyse the chemicals at your school. 

2. Divide up the whole class to cover each area within the school.

3. Create an Excel spreadsheet stating

a. Area of school

b. The chemical

c. The label required (Look at the DYK segment on the Information Page)

d. The quantity of the chemical found

e. The quantity stated for WHS purposes (found out later)


4. Go to your destinated area and fill out your spreadsheet. Make sure that you cover all the chemicals and not just the ones given as an example above.

5. Get one group of students to go to the Deputy Principal and request the current Safety Data Sheets [SDS]. Take these back to class.

6. Place the quantity on the SDS for each chemical on your spreadsheet.

7. Check "quantity found" against the SDS. Was there a discrepancy? Your reasons?


8. Class discussion: Are all the chemicals found "Hazardous"? Yes/No? Provide reasons.



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