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assignment Level : Introductory
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SCOPE: To create an interactive learning module to help reinforce the concept of maintaining lab safety where hazardous materials are used in various laboratories.

Academic laboratories where hazardous materials are used are potentially dangerous places. Taking the necessary precautions to avoid unnecessary hazards is paramount for the safety of all involved.

In this course, you will learn about lab safety through an interactive game called "Don't Endanger the Owls".

The characters in the game include Wise Owl, Owlet, and the Zombie Squirrels. Owlet is the student figure and Wise Owl is Owlet’s sage advisor / professor figure.

In the game, your goal is to stop the Zombie Squirrels from spreading their Zombiegen by finding an “Anti-Zombiegen” in the lab that will counteract the effects of the Zombiegen. In order to find the Anti-Zombiegen, you will journey through three lab rooms: the biology lab, the chemistry lab and the analytical lab. Along the way, you will learn safe laboratory practices. In the end, if you follows safe laboratory practices, you will find the Anti-Zombiegen and saves the campus from the Zombiegen outbreak.

“Don’t Endanger the Owls” is a collaboration between the instructors of Rice University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Graduate Course, Rice’s Environmental Health and Safety and HyperWindows Inc.

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Basic understanding of laboratory sciences in the areas of chemistry, biology and physics, i.e. at least a high school level understanding of these subjects.



Learners will grasp safe laboratory practices in an adaptable learning environment, including:

  • Understanding where to find appropriate safety information;
  • Distinguishing among the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) that are required for different laboratory environments;
  • Following all safety regulatory compliances while conducting a laboratory experiment;
  • Identifying potential hazards in laboratory environments and make appropriate corrections;
  • Following appropriate waste disposal, clean up and lab closure protocols; and
  • Demonstrating fire and emergency preparedness.


Stacey Kalovidouris
Executive Director, Office of the Advisor to the Provost
Rice University

Cindy Farach-Carson
Professor, Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences
UT Health


Content Designer

Rice University
Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the top 20 universities in the U.S. and the top 100 in the world. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy.



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