12 th Grade - Who's got the Power

In the 12th grade units, Powerful Explorations of Health and Energy and Shifting the Balance toward Health, students address standards for government, physics, language arts and general mathematics. The government class is the setting for each unit's integrated major project. Over the course of two units, students learn about all branches of government while addressing biomedical issues, and specifically environmental health issues.

Powerful Explorations of Health and Energy

Connection to Health
How do you protect human health through laws and policy? One role government plays in protecting human health is considering the impact on health of laws and policies. For example, energy policy needs to consider the sustainability and effectiveness of a source. It must also reflect health concerns related to the impact energy creating industries have on the environment and the environmental health impact of the use of energy sources. Recently, the impact of mercury on health has prompted the adoption of mercury emission limits from coal fueled power plants by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Connections to Disciplines
This unit addresses national education standards in physical science, language arts, and civics and government, while connecting to environmental health.
Specifically, students investigate the mechanics and the principals of physics related to creating energy with coal and oil while they study the implications of energy production on the human health.
Students walk through the steps of a bill becoming law and investigate how diverse interest groups come together to formulate government policy, specifically energy policy while taking into consideration human health.
Language arts classes support both physics and government by providing students the skills to conduct research, write a persuasive paper on an energy issue, be able to deliver such a paper’s arguments in a convincing and professional tone as would be required before a Congressional committee.
Mathematics plays an integral part in this unit by supporting the students in their understanding of proportion and scale in Air Currents & Chernobyl, and the use and misuse of statistics and graphs in Lies, More Lies and Statistics and Say What.


Health Friendly Energy Production

Connection to Health
Government policy can play a crucial role in protecting us and our health from a myriad of environmental factors, specifically those which humans have control over. In this unit students will explore the judicial routes that have and can be taken to impact governmental policy regarding environmental health factors.

Connections to Disciplines
This unit addresses national education standards in physical science, language arts, civics and government, while connecting to environmental health.
Students will investigate the mechanics and the principles of physics related to alternative energy sources, including solar radiation while they study the implications of energy production on human health.
Government classes will look at the judicial routes which may be taken to affect and change government policy especially when environmental health problems confront a community.
The language arts classes will prepare the students to take part in the moot court by teaching them how to write legal briefs. The language arts classes will end with an analysis of science fiction literature and the writing of a sci-fi short story in which the future is envisioned powered by a clean form of energy.


Striding into the Scientific Future: Illuminating Clinical Trials

Connection to Health
Advancements in medical treatments are pioneered through biomedical research. Governmental policies and new medical treatments are created based on the findings of biomedical research. This unit examines how cutting edge technologies in both physics and biology are being implemented for both detecting and treating disease. Students also examine the modern history of scientific research involving human subjects and what regulations and documents exist for the protection of these participants.

Government protects its citizens from environmental health hazards through regulations and laws. It also develops thoughtful policies to prepare the public to meet future threats. In concert with the special interest groups, involved in various areas of health, government leadership is responsible for providing high standards for clinical research, as well as motivating academia, industry, and the citizenry to work together. In this way, they can be prepared to meet new health challenges and to create innovative medicines and therapies for existing diseases.

Connections to Disciplines
This unit addresses national education standards in physical science, biology, language arts, and civics and government while connecting to environmental health and biomedical research.
Students will learn about skin physiology and examine the connection between UV exposure and the development of skin cancer. After exploring the current state of knowledge about skin cancer students will design a question to test how different substances can affect the transmission of UV rays from various sources. They will then combine both their results and knowledge of human clinical trials to propose their own hypothetical human trial.
In government students will look at the agencies that deal with health issues in America and learn about the role of government in creating legislation that regulates industry practices in order to protect the health of minors. The role of Senate hearings in creating government policy and how special interest groups participate in that process will be examined.
The language arts classes will support the unit’s theme of biomedical research by reading original documents that have provided the underpinnings for the current respect for and protection of the rights of human subjects in clinical trials. Students will create a consent document that could be used by either the physics or biology clinical trial that would be one component of the government class’s investigation of the threat to the health of minors from excessive UV radiation. A persuasive paper will also be written by the students to represent the viewpoint of the special interest group they will be representing in the Senate hearing.
Students will investigate the principles of physical science that make the diagnosis of disease through imaging techniques possible. They will explore these sophisticated techniques and how they can be used to detect cellular abnormalities in the skin.

PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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