Community Environmental Health Fair

Overview Is there a relationship between a community's wealth and its level of pollution? Through a city-construction simulation, students hypothesize reasons for this relationship. Identifying health as a global concern, they read and write about environmental causes of six major health issues and host two community health fairs. Environmental justice becomes a local issue as they research pro-active solutions on the Internet and survey community residents. Interviews with individuals and visits to organizations broaden their knowledge of related careers. Digital imaging technology helps them prepare exhibits and brochures. Identifying legal and political avenues that address health hazards results in reports to community members and government officials.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Search Proquest web site for literature on disease, pollution & issues of environmental racism & activism.
Read & discuss literature & respond in reflection journals kept throughout project.
Simulate city construction.
Graph median price of Massachusetts homes vs. level of bronchus/ lung disease.
Assign groups to research environmentally-related diseases.
Describe selected health issues in action reports brochures & letters to elected officials.
Design & distribute invitations & flyers.
Prepare health fair exhibits.
Attend Environmental Justice in the 'Hood conference sponsored by local groups.
Visit community health center & distribute survey on environmental health concerns.
Plan fairs with area health clinics & environmental activist organizations.
Hold community environmental health fairs at high school & neighborhood center.
Distribute & reflect on evaluation forms to health fair attendees.
Interview environmental health professionals from local clinics.
Attend environmental storyteller performance.
Observe professionals at work in community health centers.
Observe & interact with elected officials & environmental lobbyists at State House.
Coordinate publicity for community health fair.
Assign roles to groups organizing fair, including securing space, arranging for security, tables, refreshments, & interacting with public.

Learning Standards Social Studies

Conduct social studies research.
Engage in historical and social issues analysis & decision making.
Obtain information from a variety of sources.
Understand the concepts & details of physical & political geography.
Explore the role economics plays in shaping a society.
multiple causes in analyses & explanations of contemporary questions.

Learning Standards Science

Use technologies to present information effectively.
Interview a practicing or applied scientist.
Understand human interaction with nature over time, technologies developed, benefits & consequences of our actions & the impact of science.
Research, analyze, & evaluate social, environmental challenges through observation, experimentation, research, & application of unifying concepts of science.

Learning Standards English Language Arts

Use various formats & technology to complete & enhance work.
Use telecommunications to share information & ideas.
Make effective presentations.
Understand & use the writing process effectively.
Collaborate on project that applies learning to educate others.

School-to-Career Competencies

Develop Communication & Literacy Skills.
Organize & Analyze Information.
Problem Solve.
Use technology.
Complete Entire Activities.
Act Professionally.
Interact with Others.

Assessment Students design their own quizzes for fair participants. They are also assessed on action reports and exhibits. Evaluation form for fair attendees assesses exhibits, students' helpfulness and expertise. Finally, students tabulate and discuss evaluation results in wrap up reflections.

Software or Materials Used Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Word, Olympus Digital Camera, and Camedia Software, Proquest online research software by Bell & Howell
For exhibits: display boards, construction paper, banner paper, inkjet, photo paper, markers, paints, glue, tape, scissors. for literature: Confronting Environmental Racism: Voices from the Grassroots by Robert Bullard, 1993: South End Press; From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement Critical America Series, 2000 by Luke Cole and Sheila Foster, 2000: New York University Press; Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection, The State of Our Environment. Pollution: Opposing Viewpoints edited by Tamara Roleff, 2000: Greenhaven Press; newspaper and articles (files found using Proquest)

Web Sites Student Generated List Environmental Health Web Sites

Keywords Service Learning, School-to-Career, Career Education, Interdisciplinary Education, Environment, Environmental Health, Environmental Justice, Environmental Racism, Environmental Activism, Community Health, Health Fair, Event Planning, Asthma, Lead Poisoning, Cancer, Auto-immune Disease, Lupus, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Toxic Dumping, Pollution, Air Pollution

Final Words Community health fairs let students develop activist skills leading to the realization that they can transform the world in which they live. By learning the scientific mechanisms of environmental effects on human health, they begin to understand how to influence local, national, and global environmental decision-making. These are discoveries, skills, and ethics that remain with students throughout their education and lives.

Teacher Tip This project requires contacts and collaborations beyond school. From my experience, people and organizations want to support you. Establish contact with them early on. Let them guide you in visualizing the fair, and they will help with information and experiences your students need. It is too much for one teacher to do alone-but that's the point: one person may not change things, but people working together can!

E-mail contact E-mail contact:

Teacher Bio Liana Tuller is a third-year history teacher at Charlestown High, a School-to-Career school. Committed to interdisciplinary studies in the social sciences, she works closely with her colleague Kira Jewett, former environmental sciences professional and now second-year science teacher. Liana's involvement with health issues began at Harvard University where she actively pursued problems relating to air and water pollution.

Subject Areas Studies, Social Studies, Science, History

Grade Levels 9-12

Students All

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