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Free Resources: WGBH Teachers' Domain Environmental Public Health Collection

Posted May 3, 2011
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WGBH Teachers' Domain has announced the launch of the Environmental Public Health (EPH) collection. The EPH collection ( offers classroom-ready assets for middle and high school students that look at how researchers, communities, and policy makers are working to address health issues resulting from toxins and other factors in our environment. Produced by WGBH Teachers' Domain, this is a free online digital library of 4,000 media-rich resources for grades pre-K-16 from public media and other partnering organizations. The EPH collection currently includes 32 published resources, with plans to expand to 60 by the end of May 2011.

The EPH collection draws from highly respected public media sources such as Nova and Frontline, as well as other public organizations such as the National Library of Medicine and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Online assets available to classrooms include video clips and interactives supported by background essays, discussion questions, teaching tips, and related resources. Students are confronted with environmental conditions and diseases, including exposures and risks. Additionally, they gain awareness of how to take action through research, community activism, and policy. The content is also aligned with state and national standards as applicable.

The EPH Collection currently addresses five important areas of public health:

* Conditions and Diseases-General descriptions of human effects that are or may be the result of environmental agent exposure. Topics include: Air Quality Index; Autism: Genetic or Environmental?; Chemicals in Umbilical Cord Blood; Childhood Lead Poisoning; Clean Water Systems in Mexico; Eradicating Malaria with DDT; Farm Nitrates in the Water Supply; Heart Disease: America's Leading Cause of Death; Malaria; Malformed Frogs; Mapping Coal Contaminants; Organic Farms vs. Mosquito Control.

* Exposures and Risk-Describes the factors that make populations more vulnerable to conditions resulting from environmental agents. Topics include: Contaminating the Rockies; Don't Mess with Mercury; Environmental Justice in Dallas; Factory Farms and Organic Alternatives; Green Chemistry; Hazards at the Coast; Hazards in the City; Hazards on the Farm; Organic Farms vs. Mosquito Control; PCVs and Dioxins; Unintended Chemical Exposures

* Research Methods-Science in the making. Topics include: Careers in Environmental Health; Green Chemistry; John Snow: Pioneer of Epidemiology; Sunscreen Investigation; West Nile Virus Outbreak in NYC

* Community Action-Environmental justice issues. Topics include: Clean Water Systems in Mexico; Dead Zone; Environmental Justice in Dallas; Fighting for Superfund; Mapping Coal Contaminants

* Health Policy-Governmental programs and regulations, U.S. and abroad. Topics include: Childhood Lead Poisoning; Farm Nitrates in the Water Supply; Green Chemistry; Unintended Chemical Exposures

A video on the "West Nile Virus Outbreak in New York City" (grades 6-12), for example, follows the lead pathologist at the Bronx Zoo as she discovers the connection between animal and human illness. Students are asked to examine the method of scientific inquiry and weigh solutions going forward.

With "Mercury Calculator" (grades 9-12), student engagement is taken one step further with an interactive that shows exactly how eating fish can exposed them to an everyday toxin, mercury. Students see first hand the impact of their choices on their health.

"Mapping Coal Contaminants" (grades 6-12) shows a student who uses Google Maps to educate her community about a coal-burning plant that has contributed to asthma and other health problems. This resource tells a story that considers not just the nature of coal technology and environmental toxins but also what action teenagers might take to improve their local environment.

The Environmental Public Health collection was created with the support of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and WGBH will continue to add new videos, interactives, lesson plans, and self-paced lessons for students and for teacher professional development over the coming year. To access the collection and for additional information, visit

Source: WGBH Teachers Domain,

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