Click to return to 12th grade

Health Friendly Energy Production

Environmental health scientists study those aspects of human health and disease that are determined by factors in the environment. They also develop the theory and practice of assessing and controlling factors in the environment that can potentially affect 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 draw upon understandings of the impact of the environment on human health gained in the physical sciences and other science classes to present a case in a moot court case. They will explore the judicial routes that have and can be taken to impact governmental policy regarding environmental health factors. Students will highlight very current issues in the biomedical arena which they gain through research into cases related to environmental health or biotechnology and drug issues.

This unit addresses the education standards for 12th grade.

Shifting the Balance Toward Health Diagram

Major Project-Moot Court
A moot court provides the venue for students to assimilate what they have learned from science, government, language arts and mathematics as they address environmental health and biomedical issues. In preparation for this moot court they must research cases related to environmental health or biotechnology and drug issues. They will prepare for the case and carry it out using the background they have developed over the past semester.

This major project draws not only upon the understanding that they might have gained in the physical science classes, but also their understanding from previous science classes. The moot court is a wonderful way to allow students to highlight their comprehension of very current issues in the biomedical arena, specifically environmental health topics.

Shifting Balance Icon

Scientist Profile Matthew Jefferson, EPA

Photo of Matthew Jefferson

For more information and background check out this great article
Removable Energy: Empowering the Developing World
from Environmental Health Perspectives

EHP Logo

Week - Connection Physics Government Language Arts Math
Week 1
Students begin to look at the impact of individual energy usage on the environment in science.  Government classes will learn about federalism in relation to the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Safe Drinking Water Acts.  In language arts students will explore two areas that will help them with the final project – legal briefs and the appeals process for court cases.
Environmentally Friendly Home Can we breathe easier? When court cases are appealed?  
To Renew or not to Renew What’s in the Water What are Legal Briefs?
  State Report Card Research Activity for a Legal Brief.
Week 2
In science students will review the pollution created by conventional forms of energy production.  Students will compare how class action lawsuits differ from civil ones and begin to explore how the legal system can be used to bring about change.  Language arts will support government by researching legal, scientific, and environmental information that will be used to write a legal brief about an environmental health issue.  Math will support science by teaching students how to calculate parts per million.
Review of Fossil Fuels: Pollution Created It’s all about Justice Research Activity for a Legal Brief. Cont… Calculating Parts per Million: Do We Have a Problem Here?
Doppler Inside the Courtroom Writing a Legal Brief
Week 3
Science classes will explore three forms of energy production that pollute less than burning coal.  In government the Supreme Court will be studied, with an eye on the impact its decisions have on the laws passed by Congress.  Language arts will give students the opportunity to see how scientific ideas are sometimes explored in literature before their technologies are developed.


The Supremes   Beyond the Realms of Conventional Fiction  
Hydroelectric Power Exploring Science Fiction
Wind Power Identifying Science Fiction
Week 4
In science students will study wave motion concepts and the energy sources that are connected to these.  Government classes will look at four environmental health issues and the role of government in protecting its citizens from pollution.  In language arts students will analyze a science fiction short story and come up with an idea for one that each one of them will write.
I won’t live in a Toxic World A Formal Analysis of Science Fiction  
Wave Basics Toxic Torts Imaging Your SciFi Short Story

Week 5
Students will study the electromagnetic waves and their potential environmental health dangers plus look at solar power as a source of energy production.  In government students will use the movie “A Civil Action” to examine class action lawsuits and as an introduction to why the Superfund exists.  Students will spend this week writing their science fiction short stories that envision a future powered by environmentally friendly energy sources.  Math will teach what type of data is best represented in bar graphs and histograms.

Electromagnetic Spectrum A Civil Action Putting it Down on Paper  Bar and Histograms
What would You Use? (part 1)

Line & Scatter
What would you Use? (part 2)
Solar Power    
Week 6
Science classes will explore energy production involving microwaves and tidal waves.  In government the students will learn about moot court simulations and research about actual appellate court cases. Students in language arts will edit each other’s short stories and then begin incorporating the feedback received.  Math will teach what type of data is best represented in line graphs and pie charts.
Microwaves Moot Court Prep Peer Editing  What Pie?
What would you Use? (part 3)
Tidal Power Moot Court The Final Copy
Week 7
Students in science will extensively compare and contrast renewable and non-renewable forms of energy studied in the last and present quarters, focusing on advantages and drawbacks.  In government students will intensively prepare for the final project by researching their court case and creating oral arguments and briefs.  Language arts classes will be used to finish writing the final copies of the science fiction short story and if time allows, some may be read aloud. 

Power, Pollution, Pros and Cons   The Final Copy cont…  
Week 8
This is the moot court simulation of a case about some type of energy production that is causing environmental health problems.  Throughout the quarter the students have been learning about how the court system works, how to research and write the attendant documents necessary to participate in this simulation, and about the scientific concepts necessary to explain the situation being litigated.


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

1996-2007, The University of Arizona
Last update: November 10, 2009
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo