The mathematics portion of the PULSE curriculum takes a different form than that of the other disciplines. As the mathematics lessons were developed, we realized that many of the lessons covered themes which are not specifically tied to an individual lesson at a particular grade level or a specific environmental health issue. Rather, with appropriate modifications, the lessons are applicable for use in multiple units across grades 9 -12. These mathematics lessons provide the students with tools or skills that will aide them in these environmental health based major projects.

The lessons address many of the NCTM standards and specifically emphasized the following areas:

• Measurement
• Number and Operations
• Geometry
• Algebra
• Data Analysis
• Representation
• Connections

Description of Mini-Unit/Lesson
National Standards
Bio-magnification Students develop formulas to explain how small levels of contaminants build up and become detrimental to species higher in the food chain. Algebra
Students will use unit analysis to calculate parts per million represented by given ratios, and in a given scenario, determine whether the concentration of contaminants is sufficient high to warrant health officials closing a lake. Measurement
Students will review the process of unit analysis to convert between units of radioactivity and will examine the radiation released during the 10 days the fire at the power plant raged. Measurement
Chernobyl 2 - Air Currents Students explore proportion and scale to model the extent of human health impact as a result of the Chernobyl Incident. Measurement

Problem Solving
Students analyze and make graphs to represent the different forms of land use in a specific country Measurement
Number & Operations
Students review the units of the metric system, and practice estimating measures before actually converting between the two systems of measurement. Measurement
How Many People Live There? Students calculate the population density of a country as a whole and then calculate the population densities of larger cities within that country to demonstrate how population density figures can be misleading. Data Analysis & Probability
Activities to help students visualize how small a concentration of one part per million represents by creating physical representations of one ppm. Parts per million is an important concept in toxicology. Number & Operations
Just How Many is a “Million Dead?”
Activities to visualize how large a quantity one million represents and relate this to death tolls throughout the world. --
Lies, More Lies and Statistics Students see examples of distorted graphs, which allow for different interpretations of the same data, and learn ways to avoid being misled by graphs in the future. Data Analysis & Probability
Mapping Natural Disasters Latitude and longitude or Cartesian coordinates are used to locate natural disasters. --

How to use data to create a population pyramid for a given country and analyze population trends over time. Data Analysis & Probability
Say What? Students use their knowledge of the types of graphs covered in previous lessons to interpret data presented by the graphs. Data Analysis & Probability
Take Your Medicine I Students learn to change from the expanded form of a finite geometric series to the closed form of a finite geometric series and calculate the sum of the series. Numbers & Operations
Problem Solving
Take Your Medicine II Students will use the closed form for the sum of a finite geometric series to calculate how much of a specific antibiotic remains in the body over time. Numbers & Operations
Problem Solving
The Portion is the Poison Students will calculate the amount of everyday food products or liquids that would need to be consumed to become toxic. Measurement
What Do You Want to Know About This Country?
Activities to collect data and create graphs that best represent specific types of data about a given country --
What does Math have to do with getting sick? Activities that show how math to help predict how many people can get sick on a given day during an epidemic. Problem Solving
Bar and Histograms
What would You Use? (part 1)
Activities provide opportunities for students to better understand the types of data best represented by bar graphs or by histograms when deciding an appropriate form of display for a given set of data. Data Analysis & Probability
Line & Scatter
What would you Use? (part 2)
Activities provide opportunities for students to better understand the types of data best represented by scatter plots or by line graphs and how to use these graphs to interpret trends. Data Analysis & Probability
What Pie?
What would you Use? (part 3)
Constructing and interpreting pie charts allow students to better understand the type of data that is best represented by pie charts and help them determine if a pie chart is the appropriate form of display for a given set of data. Data Analysis & Probability
Pick the Right Graph
What would you Use? (part 4)
A summary of the graphs covered in class allows students to better choose the appropriate graph to present their data. Data Analysis & Probability
Where Are We? Students use latitude and longitude as well as Cartesian coordinates with Mercator and Robinson Projections of the world to find locations or distances traveled. Geometry
Number & Operations
Who Gave it to You? Activity that models the speed of an epidemic among students in a class. Probability
Problem Solving
Reasoning & Proof
Who makes an Epidemic? Students will be able to calculate the threshold value for the number of susceptible people needed for the epidemic to occur. Problem Solving


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: March 7, 2007
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