Ideally, I intend to work with my students to come up with a list of classroom rules for the year — a set of expectations that they can take ownership of, and responsibility for throughout the year. I find for myself that if I am handed a set of rules without some explanation of why they are important, I inevitably test the bounds of those rules or write them off as unnecessary. I don’t expect my students to act any differently. I believe that giving students some freedom to direct their classroom experience (with some gentle guidance, of course) will help them to see the importance of the rules and why they should exist for their classroom. I do, however, intend to make sure that at least three simple ones make it into their rule set: be safe, be respectful, and be responsible.
While latter two are frequently intuitive to students at the high school level and can be covered with a few examples (don’t talk while others are talking, come to class prepared to learn), in a science classroom safety is necessarily the number one priority; there are frequently instruments, chemicals or biological materials that can result in injury to the student if handled improperly. My mentor teacher spends the week or two at the beginning of the year devoted to safety in the lab, and what that looks like in her classroom. Students are required to sign a lab safety contract that details specific rules and expectations for behaving safely in the lab. From the onset, she attempts to establish a culture of safety in the classroom, and reminds students of safety concerns prior to any lab.
I found the following link to be an interesting resource for science classroom management: https://ict-in-science-education.wikispaces.com/file/view/Classroom_Management.pdf