Overview

This educational package was a collaborative effort between our Superfund Research Program, the EPA, the London School in Cottage Grove, OR, and the Environmental Health Sciences Center at Oregon State University. The goal of the effort was to educate students about mercury in their community and the effects of mercury on human health. Our hope is that other schools will find these activities useful. See the project web site for more information. 

Download Educational Packet | View Videos

 

Section 1: Environmental Health

The activities begin with connecting students to the environment and defining environmental health. Through reading educational, grade-appropriate books and working in groups, students will gain a basic understanding of toxicity and how toxic chemicals can impact our environment. Activities allow students to apply concepts to their own life. These principles will later be applied specifically to mercury as an environmental contaminant and health concern.

Included Activities:

Module 

Activity Title and Link

Topic

Grade

Resources

1.1
What is Our Environment?
Sharon Finds the Environment
on-line book
defining "environment",
caring for the environment  
K-3 (pdf) (YouTube)
Sharon Cleans Up on-line book environmental responsibility, interdependence K-3 The Starfish Story video 
1.1
Your Environment,
Your Health 
Your Environment, Your Health worksheet (pdf) defining "environmental health" 4-8 Worksheet (doc)
PowerPoint for Teachers (4-8) | Afterschool Club for Middle Schoolers
Learning the Language of Science
worksheet (pdf)
toxicology, chemical exposure 6-8 Worksheet (doc)
NLM Toxicology Tutorial
on-line module
toxicology, dose/response 7-12 "Chemicals, the Environment, and You"
1.2
What is in Our Environment?  
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
on-line resource
waste, environmental responsibility  K-3 Worksheet | Music
EPA Planet Protector's Club Activities
Recycle City on-line game recycle programs  K-8 Overview
EPA Healthy Homes
on-line interactive module
chemicals in home 4-8 Worksheet (doc)
Instructor Version
What Makes a Product Hazardous?
worksheets (pdf)
hazard substances and properties, signal words, routes of exposure 6-12 Teacher Guide (doc)
Materials Needed (pdf)
Student Worksheet (doc)
EPA Background Reading
Signal Words Fact Sheet
Healthy Classroom Assessment
worksheet (pdf)
chemicals, routes of exposure, symptoms, reducing exposure risk K-8 Worksheet (doc)
1.3
How Does Our Environment Influence Our Health?  
Crabby Kathy on-line book indoor environment, health, allergies K-3 Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Lesson Plans | ToxMystery - interactive house
What's Wrong with Whiskers?
on-line book
animals and chemicals in environment K-3 Pets and Pesticide Use (National Pesticide Information Center)
Name that Environmental Hazard
worksheet (pdf)
toxic air pollutants, carbon monoxide, lead, asbestos, mercury, arsenic  4-8 Worksheet (doc)
Teacher key
Home Chemical Survey
worksheet (pdf)
data collection, written communication, chemical safety, pollution prevention 5-8

Teacher Guide (doc)
Survey Worksheet (doc)
Survey/Report (doc)

1.4
Experimenting With Dose 
Radish Seed Dose Response Activity
worksheet (pdf)
chemical mixtures, dilution  4-8  Teacher Guide (doc)
Worksheet (doc)
Worksheet Teacher Key/Assignments (doc)
Lab Safety! Youtube video
1.5
Careers in Environmental Health 
Careers in Environmental Health
YouTube video 
career development, science  K-8  Teacher Guide
Worksheet  

Section 2: Mercury in the Environment

This section on mercury and the environment gives student an overview of mercury and how it enters our environment and our food chain.  There are diverse activities - on-line, worksheets, videos, games, and teamwork. 

Included Activities:

Module 

Activity Title and Link

Topic

Grade

Resources

2.1
Mercury in the United States
Mercury Sources in the US
Activities and Teacher Instructions
mapping mercury emissions K-3  
2.1
The Black Butte Mine
The Black Butte Mine
YouTube Video
mining, mercury tailings, contamination 4-8 Teacher Guide | Worksheet 
Map of Black Butte Mine Watershed
Mercury in the SF Bay  PBS Video and Worksheet
2.2
Mercury and the Water Cycle
How the Water Cycle Works
Interactive on-line module
(also used in 2.3 for 4-8 grades)
water cycle process K-8 Coloring and Activity Worksheets from
AWWA, EPA, and NIEHS
2.2
What is Mercury?
Learning the Language of Science - Mercury
Worksheet (pdf)
types of mercury 4-8

Worksheet (doc)
Teacher Background
Mercury in Schools

  • Readings: pg. 4, 6-7, 9, 12, 29-30
  • Quiz: pg. 10-11
  • Case study: pg. 16-21
  • Readings: Mercury through the Ages pg. 60-63
  • Industrial Mercury pg. 64
  • Assignment 1 pg. 65-66

How can you be exposed to mercury? Background Reading

2.3
Mercury in the Environment  
The Quicksilver Question
Web Module
fish consumption, contamination, health 4-8 Reading (for students):
Mercury in Schools pg. 43-46
Assignment:  Mercury in Schools pg. 52
The Road to Toxicity
Board Game
fate and transport, groundwater 4-8 Methylation overvew for teachers (USGS)
2.4
Mercury in the Food Chain 
Mercury in the Food Chain
Game
bioaccumulation and biomagnification of the chemicals 4-8

Teacher Background

Activities Mercury in Schools pg. 50
Optional Activity:
Mercuy in Fish: Bioaccumulation
(doc)

 

Fish for Safe Food levels of mercury in fish, healthy fish choices K-8  

Section 3: Mercury and Human Health

Students will expand their learning about mercury and human health.

Included Activities:

Module 

Activity Title and Link

Topic

Grade

Resources

3.1
Mercury in the Human Body
Label Brain and Kidney 
Worksheet (doc)
organs impacted by mercury exposure K-3 Background Information for Teachers (doc)
Mercury in the SF Bay  PBS Video and Worksheet
3.1
Human Exposures to Mercury
Alice's Mad Hatter 
Worksheet (pf)
mercury poisoning, symptoms of exposure 4-12

Student Worksheet (doc)
Worksheet -Teacher Key (doc)
NIOSH Backgrounder for Worksheet
The Basics on Mercury and Human Health (NIH)
Mercury and Human Health Effects (ATSDR)
Don't Mess with Mercury (video)
Mercury in the SF Bay  PBS Video and Worksheet

3.2
Mercury and Human Health Effects
  
Mercury and Human Health Effects
Worksheet (pdf)
methymercury routes of exposure and symptoms of exposure  4-8 Student Worksheet (doc)
Teacher Key (doc)
Human Anatomy Art Project
Instructions (pdf)
target organs where mercury is metabolized and excreted    4-8 Instructions (doc)
The Renal System
How the Brain Works video (Part 1) (Part 2)
Picture of the nervous system
Picture of the digestive system
Mercury and Human Health Case Study
Worksheet (pdf)
methylmercury exposure from eating fish   4-8 Student Worksheet (doc)
Teacher Key (doc)

Final Project Resources

 

Credits and Acknowledgments