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About Promoting Understanding and Learning for Society & Environmental Health (PULSE)

1st PULSE TeachersWelcome to PULSE, an interdisciplinary curriculum for high schools based on environmental health science and biomedical research topics.

The nine PULSE units identify connections between human health and the health of the environment. These topics are taught in: science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics.

Environmental health and biomedical issues hit the newsstands everyday. Through PULSE lessons students are motivated by to recognize that these subjects are relevant to them.

The goal of PULSE is to improve life science literacy by "creating and disseminating a project that gives K-12 students and teachers and the general public a better understanding of life sciences”.
  • They are incorporated into quarter long units that address the national education standards.
  • PULSE units are organized around a major project, which demonstrates student learning and promote students’ exploration of the relevance of the material in their communities.
  • PULSE emphasizes finding answers through scientific processes, library research, the Internet, and interviews with community leaders.
  • Secondary school teachers developed the lessons, working in interdisciplinary teams with University of Arizona scientists and SWEHSC Community Outreach and Education Program (COEP) staff. This process assures the lessons are driven by national education standards and meet the needs of today’s teachers.
  • PULSE draws upon the curriculum design methods of Understanding by Design (1998, Wiggins and McTighe). National standards in the four disciplines of science, social studies, language arts and math play a central role in the lessons.

We hope you will find a curriculum on these pages that you and your students will enjoy using. We welcome your feedback so that we may improve learning for all!

  • The PULSE curriculum was developed with support from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) through a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA). NCRR is one of the institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • SEPA grants bring together biomedical and behavioral researchers, educators, community groups, and other interested organizations in partnerships to create and disseminate programs that give K-12 students and teachers and the general public a better understanding of life sciences.
For more about how the curriculum is organized visit
"What is PULSE?"
  • Researchers of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center study how environmental factors affect human disease and illness, and make major contributions to science education by passing on their knowledge and demonstrating the excitement of carrying out health-related research. You and your students may learn more about these researchers in the Scientist Profiles section of the website.

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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
  Page Content: Rachel Hughes
Web Master: Travis Biazo