6 Things every chemistry teacher could always use

Are you a first-time chemistry teacher?

An experienced educator tired of running out of crucial supplies? Here’s a quick list of chemistry equipment that disappears faster than your class when you say “pop quiz.”

1: Goggles
It doesn’t matter how often you harp on lab safety and the importance of being prepared: At least one student every semester is going to “forget” their goggles and then ask if they really need a pair when dealing with acetic anhydride, anyway. Make sure you stock up early to save yourself from frustration and lawsuits.

2: Clamps
Actual ring stands could probably survive nuclear war, but the clamps and ring supports are far more fragile, their parts being the ones constantly re-adjusted and fiddled with by students. It’s a good idea to keep plenty of replacements on hand.

3: Histology Dyes
Whether you’re training the next generation of histotechnicians or just trying to interest your sophomore class in what’s really going on beneath their microscopes, quality histology dyes are an essential part of the modern chemistry lab. Cheaper dyes may offer a more attractive price, but for longevity, not to mention proper education, only the best will do.

4: Glassware
From flasks to stir rods, glassware just seems to gravitate towards to the floor when handled by young people. Unfortunately, most schools don’t understand the inevitability of this breakage, refusing to budget for replacements and leaving you, the chemistry teacher, ill-prepared for next year. You’ll need to keep your own supply from going crazy, so don’t hesitate if you ever see them on sale or available in bulk.

5: Burner Lighter
Where do these things go? It’s the eternal mystery of chemistry teachers everywhere, yet disappear they do, leaving you with no choice, but to make your students share. This can turn into a major cut into experimentation time if the kids haven’t used the lighters before and don’t know the trick of getting a spark. For their benefit and yours, keep a few lighters tucked away in a drawer.

6: Balances
It only takes one class clown to demonstrate why they really should have listened when you warned that the balances were delicate. Once it’s gone, however, it’s gone, leaving that many more students to crowd around the remaining balances. While it’s probably not financially feasible to buy several of these, it might be worth the investment to keep at least one spare locked away in the case of unforeseen accidents.

by Annette Hazard, Freelance Writer

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