The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has released “Discovering the Connection: Your Environment, Your Health,” an after school science club curriculum for middle school students (http://www.toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/teachers6.php).
The curriculum combines research on the Tox Town Web site (toxtown.nlm.nih.gov) with hands-on experiments and communication and with social action activities. The objective is to introduce middle school students to environmental health issues in their everyday life, emphasizing the relevance of science to informed citizenship.
The curriculum was developed as a collaboration between the NLM, the University of Maryland College of Education, and an inter-disciplinary group of middle school teachers. It is based on National Science Education Standards and is grounded in problem-based learning approach that promotes in-depth understanding and critical thinking.
The curriculum contains six units; each introduces one environmental health topic and include three to four 50-60 minute lessons. The units include: 1) Water Quality, 2) Air Quality, 3) Chemicals in Your Home, 4) Food Safety, 5) Runoff, Impervious Surfaces, and Smart Development, and 6) The Great Debate: Bottled Water vs. Tap Water in Our School.
The curriculum lessons can also be used to support the existing middle school science curriculum, as well as to reinforce the science/society connection in the social science or language arts classroom.