Reflection: Advanced Students MAP LAB: Toxicity in Sunset Park - Section 6: EXIT and EVALUATE: Community health data


Ideally, this lesson would expand to a multi-lesson sequence that gave student the opportunity to conduct statistical analysis with public health and environmental toxicity data.  Do people that live near toxic sites experience statistically significant worse health outcomes? And are low-income and minority neighborhood nearer to toxic substance at a statistically significant level? To answer such questions, students need access to data and statistical analysis skills. This is a lesson I have used in modified form to teach student t test analysis skills. Also, the attached resources contains some very effective lessons for helping students apply statistical frameworks to collected data.

Another route to take to boost the quantitative rigor of this lesson is to explore LD50 curves.  How much of a toxic substance actually causes a poor health outcome? Do toxic substance in the neighborhood pass these thresholds?  Attached are also some LD50 labs that could be modified for this work.

My students certainly could have developed these skills, but this would have required a substantial time investment. Because many of my students came into my course this year with atypically low math skills, I decided to emphasize a more qualitative framework.  This is not my hoped for outcome, but I would prefer strong conceptual understanding than confused, disinterested, and agitated students.

  Advanced Students: Future directions for quantitative approaches to toxicity
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MAP LAB: Toxicity in Sunset Park

Unit 3: Environmental justice
Lesson 13 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to 1) define toxicity; 2) identify sources of toxicity in the Sunset Park neighborhood; 3)develop a toxicity map of Sunset Park; and 4) develop an argument for or against the idea that proximity to toxic pollution leads to negative human health outcomes.

Big Idea: Toxic pollution negatively impacts human health. How might we explore the relationship between human proximity to toxicity and negative health outcomes in the Sunset Park area?

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