Following are a list of precautions and tips regarding the handling of specific living science matierials:
Animal Bites Though small animals occasionally bite when handled, those produced in the Living Science Materials Center are rabies free. However, possibility of infection should always be considered if someone is bitten. If a bite occurs, the following steps should be taken:
Contact the School Nurse
Wash bite with soap and water
Apply antibiotic ointment
See that the victim gets a tetanus shot. (Optional)
Bring the animal, in a cage, to the Living Science Center marked with district name, school name, teacher name, name of person bitten, and date of bite.
The animal will be observed by the Living Science Center for a period of ten days. The status of the animal will be reported to the teacher at the end of the ten-day period.
Safety in Handling Bacteria Despite every precaution, supposedly pure cultures of bacteria can become contaminated. The chances that a contaminate is pathogenic cannot be ruled out. In order to protect yourself and the students, follow the procedures listed below when working with bacteria in the classroom.
Techniques to be used by students during laboratory periods should be demonstrated by the teacher before going into the laboratory. It should be repeatedly stressed that cultures are completely safe if, and only if, they are handled as if they are pathogenic.
Autoclave all cultures before disposing of bacteria by heating at 15 lbs. pressure for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.
The importance of stressing that safety is assured as long as proper techniques are employed cannot be overemphasized. As the public generally believes that all bacteria are pathogenic, a parent is understandably distressed to learn his child is working with bacteria unless reassured of safety.
Tips on Protozoan Cultures
In general, do not place protozoans in refrigerators or in a location of excess heat or sunshine. Normal room temperatures should be satisfactory. Open all culture jars on arrival and aerate with a clean pipette. Cover loosely with top. Check light colored animals (amoeba) against dark field background, others against white field background.
Clean cloudy cultures for clear inspection as follows: Using a dissecting microscope, check to see that the majority of animals have settled to the bottom. Pour off top half of water and replace with fresh water. Permit animals to settle again and repeat until clean. Distilled, rain, or spring water may be used.
Do not use tap water. The chlorine content will kill the cultures.
Care of Mealworms Mealworms may be cultured in an open jar, dish pan or other deep container. Cornmeal or bran can be used as the medium, with slices of raw potato or apple for moisture. Wadded up or shredded newspaper may be placed in the container for the worms to crawl on.
Handling Petri Dishes Prepared petri dishes must be refrigerated to prevent contamination until time for use. Contaminated dishes must be bagged in grocery size paper or plastic bags when being returned to the Living Science Center for disposal. Only these smaller size bags will fit in the autoclave. Oversized bags or loose contaminated dishes will not be picked up by ESC-20 van drivers.
Use of Rooting Hormone
There should be as little time as possible between making cuttings, treating with rooting hormone and planting.
Cuttings should be moistened and the excess moisture shaken off before treating with the rooting hormone.
Dip basal ends of cuttings into rooting hormone.
Shake off excess hormone by tapping cuttings.
Plant treated cuttings in soil or perlite, being careful not to rub off rooting hormone.
Tips for Healthy Aquariums
Overfeeding, overcrowding, and incorrect water temperature contribute to fish death rate by causing disease and shock. An aquarium heater is recommended. Temperature should remain close to 78 degrees for most fish. Goldfish do not require a heater, except in severely cold weather. See LMP-207.
Algae eaters will starve to death if added to an aquarium too soon. Wait until the aquarium has been established several weeks before adding the algae eater.
The following guidelines will help maintain a healthy aquarium.
Maximum Recommended Fish per Tank
1-Gallon Fish Bowl
5-6 medium-size fish (tetras, goldfish and mollies) or 12 small fish (guppies) and 1 algae eater
6 medium-size fish (tetras, goldfish and mollies) or 12 small fish (guppies) and 1 algae eater.
10-15 small and medium fish mixture and 1 algae eater
20-25 small and medium fish mixture and 2 algae eaters
Handling Animals in the Classroom Having animals in the classroom is an effective and valuable teaching tool. Preventing infection and injury is important. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends guidelines to safely keep animals in the classroom and prevent infections. The single most important rule to follow is frequent hand washing with soap. Be sure everyone who comes in contact with an animal or bedding of an animal washes his hands thoroughly. Teachers should supervise all contact between students and animals. It is recommended that children under the age of five years shoud not clean animal cages. Children over the age of five should be supervised by an adult.
Animals should be housed and handled in a humane manner. Keep clean, dry bedding or newspaper in cages. Change water for live frogs and turtles frequently. Refill water bottles daily and supply fresh food. Animals should not be allowed to roam freely, and should be kept in a designed area away from food and drink. Disinfect areas where animals have been.
When cleaning fish tanks the use of disposable gloves is recommended.
Children under the age of five years should not have direct contact with baby chicks or ducks to prevent Salmonella.
Children under the age of five should not have direct contact with reptiles to prevent Salmonella. Young children are more prone to putting their hands in their mouth without washing them.
Animals are a great asset to the classroom and provide a wonderful learning experience for students. A few simple precautions will help make their visit enjoyable and safe for you and your students.