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This website can be used to complement the standard course of study for the environmental sciences and social studies curricula in North Carolina. Materials from this website may be useful in a variety of classroom settings, from science courses to media literacy or theater classes. Your students can spend 3-5 days learning about environmental health by using this website in class or for homework.

Day 1

Choose an environmental issue. Guide your students to various links we’ve assembled to provide background information on the issue. Help them discover the research findings and identify what is still unknown. Encourage them to discover the social and political issues surrounding management of the environmental issues in our state.

Day 2

Choose one or two of the narratives from Real People – Real Stories. By reading about communities in North Carolina, your students will understand how an environmental issue affects the lives of people in our state. Help them identify and discuss the health issues and the social implications of locating industrial facilities. Guide students in discussing the concept of “environmental justice.”

Day 3

Choose either a skit (reader’s theater) for your students to read aloud and “perform” in class or a short film clip to watch. Then use our questions to guide a class discussion about the characters, the story, and what it means in your students’ own lives. Then again – you could use both the skit and the film clip to engage them in lively exploration of the reality of environmental health issues.

Follow-up materials

Use our short video documentaries to help your students get the “big picture” about environmental justice and the origins of the movement in North Carolina.


Environmental Health Science Education by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) provides educational materials, resources, and ideas for teachers, students, and scientists.

The UNC Superfund Research Program provides information that teachers and students can use to learn more about this hazardous waste issue that affects how land use and development occur throughout the country. The program also provides professional development opportunities for teachers.

The Hydroville Curriculum Project leads students to break up into groups to investigate an illness outbreak, taking on the role of physicians, epidemiologists, industrial hygienists, and toxicologists.  Sample curriculum materials are free upon registering with the website; the entire curriculum can be purchased on the same website.  Activities of particular relevance include the Water Quality series and the Pesticide Spill series.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences maintains a website with environmental health resources for teachers and students (K-12).  This includes classroom activities, fact sheets, interviews with scientists and researchers, curriculum materials, and links where students can explore environmental health topics.  Some relevant activities include “Toxic Tic-Tac-Toe” (Follow link to EHP Science Education Lessons at or “Tackling Toxic Waste” from the 1999 NIEHS Summer Institute binder.

The Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health provides environmental health-related activities for science and non-science middle school classrooms.  Each lesson explores a historically-based mystery related to environmental health that students must solve in the course of the lesson.  Activities relevant to hazardous waste and environmental toxins include “Tut’s Revenge,” about groundwater contamination during the construction of King Tut’s tomb, and “Hard River Escape,” about industrial pollution in the Ukraine.

My Environment, My Health, My Choices provides lesson plan materials related to issues such as acid rain, environmental health policy, and water pollution. “Dangers Seen and Unseen: Water and Environmental Health” is particularly relevant to the issues addressed by the Exchange Project.

Breaking the Mold is a video and lesson plan that addresses the effects of indoor air pollution on health and leads students through the scientific process.  Follow-up lesson plans include activities such as conducting an asthma survey or examining sources of pollution in their own environment.

Additional links explore the websites of other groups working on environmental health issues, the practice of science and research, advocacy for healthier communities, and legal protection of the environment.