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Ukraine Adventure Integrates Environmental Health Science in Rural Middle School Science and Non-Science Courses Johnson, James Kracht, William Klemm,

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Presentation on theme: "Ukraine Adventure Integrates Environmental Health Science in Rural Middle School Science and Non-Science Courses Johnson, James Kracht, William Klemm,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ukraine Adventure Integrates Environmental Health Science in Rural Middle School Science and Non-Science Courses Johnson, James Kracht, William Klemm, Deborah Kochevar, Jon Hunter, Jimmy Lindner, Gary Wingenbach, Vince Hardy, and Irma Ramos Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Education, and Agriculture and Life Sciences Texas A&M University

2 The long-term goal of the Partnership of Environmental Education and Rural Health (PEER; is to encourage teachers to motivate students by showing how mathematics, English language arts, social studies, and science relate to real world environmental health science problems and issues. PEER features curricular development, professional development, and scientists’ visits to rural schools grades 6-8. Rural schools are emphasized because they typically lack high quality science instruction due to the lack of adequately prepared teachers and because rural schools have limited access to an abundance of instructional resources. Rural environments also pose special environmental health hazards (e.g., dust, agricultural materials and waste). PEER has developed learning modules that are integrated around adventure stories which introduce an environmental health hazard and a problem to be solved by characters in the story. Social studies content directs the location and time (historical or contemporary) of the modules. The modules focus on world geography in grade 6, Texas history and geography in grade 7, and United States history in grade 8. This framework allows construction of adventures directed at environmental health science problems in different eras and locations that exemplify problems such as contaminated food and water, air pollution, and contagious or environmentally transmitted diseases which we have in the U.S. today. The module illustrated here (Hard River Escape) is set in the Ukraine. The environmental health problems include a nuclear reactor accident, industrial pollution and the resulting consequences for natural resources and wildlife. Students must assess the contaminated environment, formulate a strategy to determine the source of the contamination, and find ways to help prevent or reduce exposure to health hazards. In this process, students read and answer questions about the adventure and summarize major points of the story. English language arts components of all Abstract

3 adventures include vocabulary, grammar, language usage, and writing activities. In the Ukraine adventure, students explore perspective in writing and are asked to write informative (i.e., a newspaper account of the Chernobyl nuclear accident) and persuasive (i.e., a travel brochure for Kiev) essays. The students determine absolute and relative global location of the Ukraine and take a tour along the Dneiper River where they learn about local geography, industrial economy (natural resources), agricultural crops grown, and how these have added to growing environmental concerns about pollution on the river. Other environmental concerns include air and water pollution, deforestation, radiation contamination (from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor meltdown), and lack of drinkable water. Scientific evidence of water pollution includes dead fish in the river, foul smelling water, pipes dumping factory wastes, trash floating in the Dneiper River, and deformed (five legged) frogs. The adventure story gives clues as to possible causes of the deformed frogs (wildlife) including nuclear radiation, industrial wastes, pesticides, oil drilling and refining, agricultural runoff, and mining/manufactur- ing operations (coal, iron, manganese, lead, copper, and mercury), and it prompts students to consider how deformed frogs may serve as indicators of human dangers. Mathematics are used in calculating radiation dose fractions, distance traveled, river water flow rates, international money exchange, environmentally-induced tumor growth, and calculation of toxicity levels. Finally, students write a description of their city, noting environmental challenges and how to clean up local pollution in their area. Integration of environmental health science through adventure stories and PowerPoint slides makes science, mathematics, social studies, and English language arts come alive. Students and teachers attest to the engaging nature and value of the PEER integrative environmental health science curriculum. The initial field tests of the PEER on-line modules (e.g., Water's the Matter), has provided the research team with valuable information needed to enhance and expand the PEER model. Based on pre-test/post-test

4 scores, middle school students’ knowledge increased 13.65% (average) on the measuring “Dissolved Oxygen and its Effects on Water Quality” section; 16.67% on the measuring “Mass, Fluid Volumes, and Concentrations” section; 12.82% on the measuring “Temperature and its Effects on Water Quality”; and 1.11% on the measuring “pH and its Effects on Water Quality” section. PEER curricular materials have been well received by students, based on a preliminary study of scientists’ visits. One thousand seven hundred and twenty-five students evaluated scientists’ presentations based on six evaluation questions. Approximately 93% of the students thought the presentations contained useful information; and, over 75% of the students thought the presentations were easy to follow. Almost 90% of the students learned something new as a result of attending the presentations. Approximately 60% of the students indicated that the presentations caused them to change the way they thought about the environment and their health. PEER presentations influenced over 75% of the students to change their beliefs about environmental education. Finally, almost 80% of the students would recommend the PEER program to other students. NIEHS Grant R25 ES10735 Integrating Environmental Health Science in Rural Schools

5 Funded by: The National Institute of Environmental Health Science NIH ES Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health (PEER)

6 To encourage teachers to motivate students by showing how mathematics, English language arts, social studies, and science relate to real world environmental health science problems and issues. PEER Long-term Goals: Environmental Health Science Environmental Health Science Social Studies Mathematics Science English Language Arts

7 Rural schools grades 6-8 th Curricular Development Professional Development Scientists’ Visits to Schools Approach to Goals

8 World geography in grade 6 Texas history and geography in grade 7 United States history in grade 8 World, Texas, and USA (e.g., Bioterrorism and Vaccinations) (e.g., Agricultural Waste and Influenza Epidemic) (e.g., Industrial Pollution and Air Quality) Social studies content directs the location and time (historical or contemporary) of the curricular modules, focusing on:

9 A social studies framework allows construction of adventures directed at environmental health science problems in different eras and locations that exemplify problems such as contaminated food and water, air pollution, and contagious or environmentally transmitted diseases. Relate to Common Hazards

10 Learning modules are integrated around adventure stories which introduce an environmental health hazard (e.g., air pollution), a science problem to be solved by characters in the story, and application to the USA. BeijingHouston Curriculum - Relates World Hazards to USA

11 Social Studies Science Mathematics English Language Arts This module uses an adventure in Ukraine to integrate environmental health science into science and non-science classes. Science and Non-Science Courses

12 Students determine absolute and relative global location of the Ukraine and take a tour along the Dneiper River where they learn about local geography, industrial economy (natural resources), agricultural crops grown, and how these have added to growing environ- mental concerns about pollution on the river. Social Studies

13 Environmental health problems include a nuclear reactor accident, industrial pollution, and the resulting consequences for natural resources and wildlife. Science: Hazard and Wildlife

14 Students must assess the contaminated environment, formulate a strategy to determine the source of the contamination, and find ways to help prevent or reduce exposure to health hazards. Science: Strategy

15 English language arts components of adventures include vocabulary, grammar, language usage, and writing activities. Practice English Language Arts

16 Being Persuasive In the Ukraine adventure, students explore perspectives in writing and are asked to write informative (i.e., a news- paper account of the Chernobyl nuclear accident) and persuasive (i.e., a travel brochure for Kiev) essays.

17 The adventure story gives clues as to possible causes of the deformed frogs (wildlife) including parasites, nuclear radiation, industrial wastes, pesticides, oil drilling and refining, agricultural runoff, and mining/ manufacturing operations (coal, iron, manganese, lead, copper, and mercury). Scientific Clues

18 Scientific evidence of water pollution includes dead fish in the river, foul smelling water, pipes dumping factory wastes, trash in the Dneiper River, and deformed (five legged) frogs. Scientific Evidence

19 Mathematics Indicate Significance Mathematics are used in calculating radiation dose fractions, distance traveled, river water flow rates, international money exchange, environmentally-induced tumor growth, and calculation of toxicity levels.

20 Mathematics and science are used to Mathematics and Science calculate environmental risk.

21 Finally, students write a description of their city, noting environmental challenges and how to clean up local pollution in their area. English Language Arts gives Application

22 Regional workshops provide teachers with tech- nology training (Microsoft PowerPoint) and cur- riculum integration of environmental health science into science, math, English language arts, and social studies. Integrative Curriculum Workshops

23 Workshop Location:Date: College Station, TXJune 5-6, 2003 Edinburg, TXJune 10-11, 2003 Victoria, TXJune 12-13, 2003 Huntsville, TX June 17-18, 2003 Temple, TX June 30-July 1, 2003 Mt. Pleasant, TXJuly 17-18, 2003 El Paso, TX July 22-23, 2003 Lubbock, TXJuly 24-25, 2003 Integrative Curriculum Workshops Teachers receive continuing education credit and up to $200 for travel and lodging expense.

24 Scientists’ Visits to Middle Schools

25 By using a small, single-engine aircraft, scientists have been able to make scientific presentations at schools that are remotely located. Wings Across Texas – Experiential Learning for Middle School Students

26 93% of 1725 students learned useful information. 90% learned something new. 60% changed the way they thought about the environment and health. 75% changed their beliefs about environmental education. 79% planned to share what they learned with others. 80% would recommend the PEER program to other students. Evaluation of PEER: Scientists’ Visits

27 91% said science careers are not just for males. 81% said ethnic minorities can succeed in science. 77% said science careers would not be boring. Evaluation of Students: Beliefs and Career Choices Beliefs about Science (n=395) 77% said parent or guardian. 72% said teacher. 68% said family. 54% said celebrity. 52% said school counselor. Information Sources affecting Science Career Choices (n=395)


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