Science Lessons

The science learning cycles of the PULSE curriculum form the basis for developing student understanding of environmental health and biomedical concepts. These lessons are supported by the social studies, math, and language arts lessons in several important ways. These lessons develop necessary understandings of biology, chemistry, earth science, and physical science to master the information nedded to complete the major projects. The national science education standards developed by the National Committee on Science Education Standards and Assessment, National Research Council were used to align the lessons.

The National Committee on Science Education Standards can be viewed at: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/

The lessons address many of the eight categories of content standards

• Unifying concepts and processes in science
• Science as inquiry
• Physical science
• Life science
• Earth and space science
• Science and technology
• Science in personal and social perspectives
• History and nature of science

Lessons in Alphabetical order: A-D, E-M, N-S, T-W.

Description of Mini-Unit/Lesson
A Cycle Built for Two Geochemical Cycles and the Rock Cycle
Students discover that some diseases are relatively new to humankind (emerging diseases), while others that had been nearly eliminated in developed countries are now beginning to increase in incidence (re-emerging diseases).
Historical documents allow for the student s to work with qualitative observations; these documents contain several hypotheses that remain the working basis of immunizations.
A Whole Lotta Shakin’ --
Students will read an article about America’s energy consumption for understanding and to find instances of bias.
Students will watch a film about the voyage of the Endurance and analyze the film’s representation of the expedition.
Acute Toxicity: LD50 by the Numbers Students observe brine shrimp as they are affected by household cleaners.
Where toxicants of environmental health importance are transported through the air, understanding the natural processes which contribute to air movement and weather patterns of a region is important.
Students gain an understanding between one bio-control agent, its biology and that of one main prey.
Are they really that different? This lesson serves as an introduction to both the next unit and the second half of the quarter.
Arsenic Flow --
Arsenic Unveiled --
Arsenic: Worldwide --
Atmospheric Cells In this lesson, students will explore the idea of the sun as a central force in the development of atmospheric convection cells.
Between and Rock and a Hard Place In this activity students will explore the relationship between the density of two plates and the possible boundary types.
Bioassay An inquiry lab using Daphnia as a bioassay organism. Students develop questions and hypothesis and design an investigation to test their hypothesis.
Biomedical imaging This is an engage lesson about Biomedical Imaging and should be considered in the context of the electromagnetic spectrum (the methods all use one or multiple parts of the spectrum for imaging) and the extension of the human senses through technology.
Black Worm Down --
Building the Perfect City --
Calculate --
Catch a Bug

Students consider the multiple meanings of the word “bug” and use it to describe both the diversity of organisms and the connection between organisms and diseases.

Change Conditions --
Chemical Reactions in the Human Body. --
Chemistry review, and the chemistry of coal. This lesson serves as a review of conservation of mass, simple reactions and equation balancing.
Chernobyl During this lesson, students will be exposed to information and images from the Chernobyl power plant accident.
Chocolate Flavored Cherries Students are introduced to the process of recombinant DNA through imaginary creation of chocolate flavored cherries.
Choosing a Pesticide or Fertilizer --
Circuit Lab

A circuit lab is an essential part of any unit on electricity. The laws governing the behavior of electricity in simple circuits are, well, simple.

Clean coal?

Using the knowledge gained from the previous day’s lesson, students will continue to explore coal and its environmental health impacts.

Climate Patterns

Why do climate patterns vary across the country? Students are challenged to identify patterns in climate data across the US that might give them insight as to the role of the impact of land and water masses on climate.

CO Buildup City

During this lesson students will use a computer simulation to explain the relationship between city size, temperature, and air quality.

Cold Fronts

Where toxicants of environmental health importance are transported through the air, understanding the natural processes contributing to air movement and weather patterns of a region is important.

Cold Fusion?

During this lesson, students will be introduced to fusion. Having studied fission and learned about mass defect, students are now prepared to learn about fusion.

Concept Mapping --
Cotton and Cabbage Students design an experiment that will establish which seeds are genetically modified.
Current Interactions

Students will design a simulation to explore how water, heat, and salinity affect the flow of the world’s ocean currents. They will present their results to the class.

Current Issues with Arsenic Contamination --

Students will conduct a variety of investigations to see how water, heat, and salinity affect the flow of the world’s ocean currents.

Describe the Perfect Pathogen Students are asked to consider the attributes of the four main types of pathogens and describe what these attributes mean for the invasion of the body.
Design a Pollinator

During this lesson students will apply their understanding of basic plant and animal biology to design a pollinator(s) that is(are) well adapted to a given plant.

Designer Genes During this lesson students apply biotechnology concepts to engineer a new organism.
Detection detective

This activity revisits the biomedical imaging techniques that students investigated in their explore activity and seeks to further explain these techniques using physical principles.

Developing a Public Health Service Message Using research as well as laboratory experiments, students will begin developing a public service message that addresses a public health issue faced by the local community
Different % --
Disease Hits Home In this lesson students are provided with the name of the disease and, using library and internet facilities, are asked to explore and explain the route of transmission of this disease in their specific case study.
Distillation and Titrations --
DNA Replication During this lesson students will model DNA replication using edible materials.
DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes During this lesson students will review the structure and function of DNA, genes, and chromosomes.
Does the Chicken have Anthrax?

The purpose of this activity is for the students to develop an understanding for the components of nonspecific immunity by utilizing a scientific approach.

Doppler --
Dose Response --
Drifting Continents, Dynamic Results Students will plot earthquake and volcano data in order to begin explaining the relationship between plate movement and connection.
Dust in the Wind; Chemicals in the Water Students explore mechanical and chemical weathering at stations. Using this information they then design and conduct an experiment to investigate the rate of erosion in different settings.


-- E-M, N-S, T-W --

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: March 7, 2007
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