Sharon Beard: Good afternoon, and welcome to The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health Webinar, entitled Reaching our STEM Potential, How Can We Improve Our Performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. My name is Sharon Beard, and I'm an Industrial Hygienist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences within the Worker Education and Training program, and I will be the moderator for today's session. I'm very pleased to introduce our speakers for the day. Dr. Kathy Vandiver, Massachusetts Institution of Technology, Dr. Dina Markowitz of the University of Rochester, and Dr. Mercy Arana of NIEHS. The first presentation will be given by Kathy. Kathy earned her Ph.D. in 1982 from the Tufts University School of Medicine, Anatomy and Cellular Biology Department, and joined the Research Team at OPTRA, Incorporated, an innovative optics instrument company in Massachusetts. In 1990 she shifted gears and obtained a Masters in Education from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, with a Massachusetts Teacher's Certificate at two levels, one in General Science, five through ninth grade, and Biology, ninth through twelfth.
Kathy taught science in Lexington, Massachusetts Public Schools for 16 years. There she began to develop her popular LEGO Life Science Technical Models, and she incorporated them into MIT's STEM Outreach Programs when she became the Outreach Director for MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences. Kathy is the 2009 recipient of the Educator of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers, and she also received a 2011 Public Service Award from the People Making a Difference for her curriculum development work with the Boston Public Schools. In November 2011 she was inducted into the Massachusetts Science Educators Hall of Fame. Kathy, the floor is yours. Kathleen Vandiver: Hello, this is Kathy Vandiver. I'm glad you were able to join us today, and I'm going to begin with a little bit of background about the two Centers I work for.
I work for the MIT Center for the Environmental Health Sciences and also the MIT Edgerton Center. Just as a quick note, MIT has about 20, no, actually 30 to 40 outreach programs. The MIT Edgerton Center hosts about 3,000 students per year on half-day field trips on the MIT Campus, and I'm supplying this website in case you'd like to look at some programs that we offer. The website will be updated at the end of August, so I've provided both views for you here. We have curriculum packages also posted online with teacher guides and student materials, and these are at a website called Mind and Hand, the motto of MIT, and also showing these two screen views. And this down here is the atoms and molecules set and is the one I will be talking further about today. Just as a point, at the Edgerton Center we focus on key concepts that teachers find difficult to teach. And one of them is the atomic nature of matter, which now actually has been suggested as one of the six cross-cutting concepts in the next generation standards. As a middle school teacher I know that you'll recognize these topics here.
We teach a lot of introductory work in chemistry about chemical reactions, also introduce them when we talk about photosynthesis, and then when we're talking about air and weather there are lots of things that have to do with molecules that need to be explained. So this is why we focus on the atomic nature of matter because we teach across all these subjects. I'd just like to point out that the Edgerton Center and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences has shared these packages of lessons at the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers Workshops, also at the Summer Institute in Texas, which we just came back from shortly, and also in Maine more recently, too. Okay, so how do most middle schoolers identify chemical reaction? Here's a picture from the Edgerton Center as the students are looking at a chemical reaction that's happening inside this bag, and it's extremely interesting, it's changing temperature, color, the bag is blowing up, and in a few moments they will be really more than fascinated. So students in the beginning first see that chemicals are reacting in a chemical reaction, and also they associate chemical reactions with explosions, fizzing, color changes, you know it.
So, actually, chemical reactions occur inside of you and all around you, not just with lab chemicals. And so many times students are unable to apply this chemistry concept into other context, such as biology and earth science, and a lot more study has been done on that, so I just provided a reference below. In chemical reactions the real point of the whole process is to teach that atoms get rearranged into different molecules with different properties, and that's their definition, but molecules and atoms are hard to visualize for students. One way in which we can talk about the new products is actually by showing them. This is what we do at the Edgerton Center, in this particular lesson. We have calcium chloride in the bag, as well as baking soda, and what's really interesting is we show the products, which include the gas that came off as CO2. This precipitant here as chalk.
And you can see that the students here have tested out the chalk, and here it is provided here, it was a new product. And we can also identify by its new properties, this NaCl, which now we can crystallize. So identifying the products is one of the things you can do. However, I think one of the really strong suits of the lesson now is that we visualize the atoms in the reaction by using these inviting LEGO bricks. Each brick represents an atom. And, as you can see, these colors down the side are the standard CPK chemistry colors, and down here we have shown how these atoms can be snapped together as bonded atoms would be in a molecule, so CO2, water and nitrogen, has particular shapes. So it's very nice, the students can actually build those reactive molecules in their standard shapes, and they place them on this mat, and when they're built right they fit just perfectly so the students get that feedback of building them correctly.
And then we can show with one slip of the mat, students get to take the same atom they had, the same bricks and rearrange them into being these new products and, therefore, they get the reinforcement from doing it, from seeing it and actually doing it that they make carbon dioxide chalk out of an extra molecule of water and sodium chloride. This is really fun. I want to let you know that I taught this lesson, first of all, by using bricks to teach about photosynthesis, and I typically have one or two kids in sixth grade that would literally pop out of their seats because they'd be so excited. They would yell, I get it, and it was just so much fun as a teacher. So I'd just like to point out what makes it a lot more fun, also, to teach about matter, atoms, elements, these definitions that one needs to be really clear about, you can do them by using these models. And this I'm showing on the screen is a graphic organizer that can be used for class notes. The red is actually teacher instructions, this is the key, and the blue is answers. I'd also like to mention that the kid management is really simple. Kids work in teams of two and they place their mats, these are the mats, they place their bricks on top of them and move stacks. They don't have to count them, and they really enjoy this very much.
So you can see that these bricks as atoms could be modeled, could be used as models for chemical reactions at many different times during middle school, and we have these lessons. So I've talked about the chemistry, chemical reactions one. We also use it in photosynthesis, where you can model the reaction of six water, six carbon dioxide making a big, wonderful glucose molecule, and having six oxygen left over, but it happens that students can also take away, you know, they have to learn about parts of the cell, well, at this point if they're taught to learn about the functions it's really nice to be able to have them understand what a chloroplast is doing because they understand now the process, but also you can demystify mitochondria because you can show cellular respiration, which is the reaction going the other direction and liberating energy.
But right now we're going to focus on the main point of this talk, which is really using these models to teach about air. And air is a mixture, which is really nice, it is a nice example of mixtures. Our first lesson, understanding air, we begin by raising curiosity about what is in air? And these are samples that I chose from my own students' misunderstandings and display them here. It's quite easy even for younger kids to look at the circle and see that this one is mostly nitrogen, this one down here, option, would be a lot of carbon dioxide and oxygen, and this one would be mostly oxygen. I used to survey my class by having them put their heads down on the desk and then I would say how many people like option A, and then they would raise their hand, and B and C. So the voting would be really very personal and you didn't have to worry about kids looking at what other kids were answering. So you would get a very good understanding of preconceptions before starting. So the answer was really a surprise to many kids, and this is a model that is a mat that we used for putting our LEGOs on, so you can see that eight out of the 10 molecules here would be nitrogen, 80%, 20% oxygen, but what's really interesting is noticing that less than 1% is CO2, which is really an important point for kids when they're hearing so much about CO2.
Also, at this point we could move to looking at the fact that we are looking carbon dioxide at such low levels we probably need to use a different measurement system. So we used parts per million, and I can show you how this can relate to a lot of math that might be done at this stage. So I really like to be able to use math in science class, and so down at the bottom of the screen you can see how you can work with equivalent fractions and your math teachers will be really delighted, but moving back now to looking at the numbers of parts per million. When this mat was produced this CO2 level was 390 parts per million, 390. Safe CO2 levels have been established internationally as being 350 parts per million. And if you go online right now, you're welcome to, it turns out that the current parts per million for CO2 — are you ready to guess — it's 399 parts per million. So I think it's really a good point to be able to acquaint kids with these numbers and get a chance to see what amounts of carbon dioxide are in the air and how we measure them.
So this understanding air lesson has class notes, this slide here shows them, and this slide shows the teacher's guide, which is put on the class notes. The red are hints and suggestions, and the blue are keys or answers. Oh, I just wanted to pause for a moment. I put this slide in because I didn't want to get too carried away with classroom work, and I wanted to point out that these LEGO activities are great standalone ones, and so we show you samples from Science Family Day at the Boston Conference, I think it was February. And you can see graduate students, undergraduates participating, and this is what the kit looks like. It's a small kit here, and the mats are here in front.
We also have used these in other events. For instance, at the Cambridge Science Festival, which we do every year, in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health, and this event for the last few years has been held in the Cambridge Public Library. And then, also, these events work very well with just community areas, so this one was done, that I have a picture of down here, is from a Clean Air Fair, also with our group of [inaudible]. So LEGOs are particularly inviting. You can just see how I just made a quick comparison here. They're familiar, exciting, and inspire confidence in students in approaching them. All right, so here is the lessons that we would be doing, particularly to introduce why carbon dioxide levels are increasing. So right here we have a knot, and we're going to start with hydrocarbon. We've shown propane as a simple one.
Most kids are familiar with it from barbecue days. And we have — we're going to burn it with oxygen here. And, actually, oh, I have learned recently that there are more vehicles on the road that are using propane. So what happens is we get this spark, which ends up creating the — starting off the chemical reactions. And when you flip the mat over and you use exactly this same atoms, you just rearrange them, start with water, and then kids start to see that they are producing a lot of CO2 molecules. And this brings up the opportunity to talk about CO2 as a greenhouse gas. This lesson, which includes the short media clips, as well, have been put together by WGBH and are now organized on PBS Learning Media, and so they're short videos that are three minutes long or so that explain more about greenhouse gases, if you'd like to have that done.
And, also, provides some documents, such as the CO2 recordings from the [Monoloa Observatory]. It's just a wonderful collection. I just put this in here because I realized that it's fun to use mats in science, particularly for the older kids to look at the grass and just see this is CO2 levels and how much they're mowing, how someone could make an argument only using these points on the curve over a five-year time to say, oh, look, the CO2 is not increasing. So these graphs and other information I think have a wealth of detail that you could use in many different ways. Now we're moving to the lesson two in understanding air. We're going to focus a bit more on air pollution, itself, and kids can see how this happens, if you start with propane again, build your propane molecule, lay it on the mat, put the four oxygen molecules on the mat, and then react them. If you take your molecules and try your atoms and put them together you'll first produce water, and then you have a choice here, you can choose this box, some teams in the room might do this one and other ones might do — other teams might do this one. You'll notice that this one not only is producing carbon dioxide, but also soot, carbon might get stuck together.
And down here you have in the lower box, you have the products, including carbon monoxide. So this is quite a good time to talk about things that are bad for your health, and most kids when they're faced with looking at soot and carbon monoxide, and a deep breath over here, I'm sure that they will provide you with lots of information about what's bad for your health. This mat is not a chemical reactions mat, it's actually just a straight layout mat, which introduces a lot of new molecules. And so I'm just going to flip to the next one, this is the answer key, or you could use this side of the mat for younger aged kids because it provides the colors and they don't have to look at the formulas to figure them out. So right now this is wonderful. You can really help a lot of people who still have problems in trying to understand about ozone, that ozone can be this ozone layer up high that's protective and good for us, and yet we do have ozone being produced, it's down here on the ground, and that is a really important opportunity, you can explain that. And, also, to introduce the molecules, sulfur dioxide, and you can see that they are spouting out here from this coal fired plant.
A lot of nice opportunity to talk about that after it's been built. And, also, introducing NO2, as well. This mat is made for more advanced children, as you can see, and advanced adults, of course. So here we are, we can actually take our atoms and molecules made from LEGO and demonstrate any of these reactions, and these are not step-by-step guided, they're just available for students to look at and to learn more from. These lesson plans, I'd like to point out, are very nicely with the air quality index, that's one of the reasons why I chose and got excited about making these lesson plans because I saw that the weather information was providing information on them, particularly about ozone levels, particle pollution, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. So this is really an interactive, it's very nice. I'm sorry I can't illustrate it better here, but you can roll over these and see side effects, you can choose the level and see what here, let's say a particle pollution, and see which people would be affected the most.
So it's really a very nice summary. Lesson plans also include media clips. This one I wanted to point out to you is an environmental justice topic. It's really wonderful, it's about this teen who lives in a little village and she mats the contaminants from a coal fired electrical plant, and to Google, and was able to make more people aware of what was going on. And I just checked it out recently and discovered that there is a story about these plants closing early, so I was really pleased to learn about that. We did some evaluations, and I'd like to provide you with these results. The evaluations were done on both classroom and informal settings on the air pollution and air climate change lessons, which together we call understanding air. So the method was by using an electric scale here and testing, asking for this scale was one to four, and we were looking at responses that had to do with enjoyment, reported self learning, and increased interest. So these younger kids, just happened to be a little bit younger age, as you can see, and they really were superbly delighted about working with LEGOs to understand these conflicts, and asked a lot of questions. It wasn't just LEGO building.
And they also wanted to learn more. I'll show you on the next couple of slides what they said they learned from the activity. We also did this lesson in Revere, Massachusetts with 137 students, eighth graders this time, and they also were very positive and also interested in learning more. So the open response questions, I would like to point out I was really pleased that health was mentioned as one of the things they learned and molecules and air and combustion was also very high in those responses. It was great to see them write about things that they had learned, so this was really a very rewarding evaluation to do. This is my summary of the concepts. I think we could call them learning goals, these lessons on understanding air, and I thought I'd just make sure to put them in this presentation so you could see them.
Lastly, here are my credits, and I've got plenty. This has been wonderful to be working at different parts of different teams, and the Atmospheric Science Advisors at MIT were extremely helpful to us. This is our Production Team for our two Centers. I also just put up the Mind and Hand website again, in case you wanted to write that down and have it. And then, lastly, I would like to provide special thanks to the Team at WGBH, who decided that this — to do something besides media clips, and include these LEGO plans, which really was fun to do. And, also, to NIEHS, who has provided this, the backing and the funding for this collection. So I'd like to mention this lesson on understanding air, it was just part of a very large collection of lessons, and you can find them now on Learning Media Environmental Public Health. Thank you very much. Sharon Beard: Thank you, Kathy.
If you have any questions for Kathy please use the GoToWebinar questions panel at this time. While we're waiting I have one here — Kathy, what motivated or inspired you to shift gears and go back to school to get your Masters of Education and teach? Kathleen Vandiver: It's always a small story, and so I'll tell this little story. I volunteered in my son's fourth grade class and I taught a lesson about cells and immune systems, and I had puppets and all sorts of things and I got such rave reviews from everybody, I suddenly turned my head and said this was really, really rewarding. So that made me decide that I would go back to school, so I found that there was a good program at the Harvard School of Education, Graduate School, and they had a group with other scientists there that were attending, too, so it made a very congenial group and I enjoyed that process very much, too. Sharon Beard: Could you share a little bit more about the PBS website? Kathleen Vandiver: Oh, I'd love to, yes. So NIEHS actually funded a project where WGBH in Boston, they produce Nova, they went and found a lot of pertinent clips that had to do with environmental health issues.
For instance, I can remember very vividly they have footage of kids eating sandwiches, being sprayed with DDT to show how safe it was. So there are all these things you can see about how our views have changed over time, but they're part of other — they're short clips, they're like three to five minutes long, and you can put them in in various places, and I think they add so much, and then they do have a complete lesson plan if you'd like them on various topics. And I personally learned a lot of my own — broadened my own view about environmental health by being a reviewer on these lessons, so I recommend them highly. Sharon Beard: Great. Thank you, Kathy, we really appreciate that, and we can hear your enthusiasm for outreach and education, and we appreciate the efforts and all of your success and the work that you've done over the years. Kathleen Vandiver: Thank you, too, for the recognition. Sharon Beard: Great.
Thanks. At this time, I would like to introduce the next speaker for the second presentation, Dr. Dina Markowitz. Dina is the Director of the University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center, and she is also a Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, with a secondary appointment in the Center for Community Health. She has a broad background in pre-college science education, with specific expertise in developing and evaluating science curriculum materials and directing teacher professional development initiatives. She has led numerous NIH funded science education programs, including outreach and enrichment programs for secondary students and curriculum development programs on a wide variety of biomedical related topics, such as environmental health, genetic testing, stem cells, [pro biology], kidney disease, drug abuse and addictions. Dina, I'll turn the floor over to you. Dina Markowitz: Okay, so I'm going to give everybody a brief overview of a huge project that we completed in 2007.
It was a seven-year project to develop curriculum on various topics in environmental health sciences. Our project was called My Environment, My Health, My Choices, and it was funded by NIEHS through a grant called Environmental Health Science, An Integrated Context for Learning. So we developed close to 20 different curriculum modules. Four of the modules were developed by local Rochester area teachers on topics that were very closely in tune to the Rochester communities that they live or work in. And then we expanded the project to New York State's biology and chemistry teachers that worked for an organization called the New York State Biology Chemistry Mentor Network. And these mentor teachers developed four team lessons, and they were charged to develop lessons that weren't so tied to their community, but lessons that could be used by teachers throughout the country. So the teachers who developed the lessons were in charge of developing and piloting the lessons in their own classrooms, and then the lessons were posted on our website. The New York State mentor teachers were also charged with disseminating the lessons through workshops that they led to other teacher colleagues.
And then our group, the University of Rochester, also led workshops on a national level to further disseminate these lessons. So the lessons are currently housed on our website at the University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center. If you go to our website, which you'll see the URL here, you'll see down the left-hand side a whole list of things that the Life Sciences Learning Center offers, but if you want to actually locate the lessons you'll go down to the resources section here. You click on that and you'll open up this page, which shows you all the lessons, and you'll notice over here it asks you to actually register for the lesson materials. So to register for the materials all you need to do is to provide your e-mail address, that's really all we ask for, and we use your e-mails so that we can track to see how many people have registered, and then once in awhile we may send you an e-mail asking you to let us know exactly what lessons you may have downloaded or used in your classrooms or in other outreach settings.
So here's where you click on register for lesson materials. Once you register it'll open up a different portion of the website, which you'll actually have access to all the lesson materials, all the handouts in Word, PDF and HTML format, any PowerPoints that might go along with it and any PowerPoints for students without answer keys that might go along with the lessons. Some of the lessons also have animations or graphics, there's a whole lot of stuff that's available on this website. So pretty much in the rest of my presentation here I'm just going to give you a very brief overview of a handful of lessons that you could access on this website, and there are lots more lessons that I won't have time to summarize, but if you go to the website just shop around on it and gather the materials and use whatever you want. So Tox in the City is the first lesson that I'm going to summarize.
This was created by two teachers, Colleen Hagadorn and Judy Moffitt, from South Glens Fall High School. This provides a very brief introduction to environmental health sciences. What is environmental health? Why is it important? And some of the basic concept of environmental health science — toxicity, exposure, dose response, risk benefits assessment. A lot of these topics come up again and again in the other lessons, so if your students are unfamiliar with some of the concepts in environmental health or toxicology this might be the first lesson you might want to start with in a series of our various lesson units. So the lesson includes a whole lot of different short activities, ranging from PowerPoint presentations, student note outlines, even what we call springboard cartoon bingo activity to start everything off. So the various activities in this, there are things, pair shares, they're reading articles on dihydrogen monoxide. There's extension activities, there's exercises on dose and concentration, and there's a brainstorm carousel activity on risks and benefits.
All these activities feature very active student involvement. This is not a lecture-based lesson, it is various activities to keep your students involved and active. The next lesson that I will summarize is called Home Sweet Home, the mysterious death of Janelle Williams. This was created by a chemistry teacher, named Tracy Suggs from Vestal High School, also in New York State. Home Sweet Home is an interactive case study concerning the base use of chemicals found in and around the home sites. So what students do is they are charged with investigating the toxicity of chemicals found in household cleaning products that may be found in your house or your student's house, many houses all over have these products.
Students are asked first to record information from household product labels. We actually give the teacher mock labels of various household products that are commonly found. Students learn how to read the ingredients from these household products. Then students need to evaluate information from various household products labels that we provide them. Oops, well, I guess that's the end of that lesson. Going on to the next lesson, it's called, Well, What Will We Drink, and this was created by biology teacher, Diana Larrabee from Corcoran High School in Syracuse, New York. This lesson is a case study. Students read a fictitious scenario about a home-building company called Apple Tree Homes, and they're creating a water district and connecting it to the town water supplies. And some of the town's homeowners' wells are actually getting very low, and the homeowners are getting concerned that this problem will get worse as the new section of the home development actually goes up.
So the task for the students in this case study is to use information that is provided in the public domain to find information on well water and the public water supply. They then need to prepare a presentation for Jim and Norma, the homeowners, to help them decide what they will drink. This lesson includes a hands-on lab activity on parts per million, parts per billion, and serial dilution. Students learn about the concentration of a part per million, and they learn how to make a solution with a part per million concentration, and then they learn what is parts per billion. Also, I need to add in the teacher information for all these activities it has set-up lists for all of the lab materials, where to purchase lab materials, many of the lab materials that teachers have chosen to use are commonly available in supermarkets or drugstores, such as Rite-Aid and CVS. So they tried to make these activities very, very simple on teacher preparation. So the next activity I'll summarize is called The Effects of Environmental Lead Poisoning on Human Health.
Jim Buckley from Edwards-Knox Central School District created this activity. It starts with a problem based learning scenario called Trouble in the Country, which introduces students to a family affected by lead hazards in their home. This is a three-part PBL scenario. Students go through all three parts, learning and exploring as they go along. They learn a little bit about testing blood for lead levels. There's been a PowerPoint presentation on lead hazards in and around the home, and here's a couple of pictures from the PowerPoint. Students then go on to do a home lead assessment, and it's designed to have students explore their own home environments for potential lead sources. Jim Buckley, the teacher who designed this activity, lives in a very, very rural area in the center of New York State with a lot of very old housing stock, some of which is in disrepair. So a lot of these students do live in or around homes with significant lead hazards. Students then do a lead web quest to explore the science of lead and lead poisoning.
This is a computer based activity. Of course, teachers who don't have computer access in their classrooms can certainly skip the web quest activity. The next lesson that we have on the series is called As The Scale Tips, Phthalates and Reproductive Health. This lesson was created by Sandra Latourelle. She teaches at our State University of New York in Plattsburgh. She's a former biology teacher at the high school level, but she currently teaches introductory college biology in Plattsburgh, New York. This lesson starts out with a little bit of a graphics flash, what do all of these things have in common? Well, all these have phthalates or used to have phthalates. Baby toys currently don't have phthalates, but when this lesson was created there were phthalates in some imported baby toys. Students then do word flash to introduce them to the topic of phthalates. Then this lesson also includes a problem based scenario, phthalates balancing risks and benefits.
The scenario introduces a politician faced with taking a position on the use of phthalates in his own community. This lesson includes a PowerPoint describing how to assess risks and benefits of phthalate use, so this is a nice lesson if teachers want to get into student understandings of analyzing risk benefits. Then there is a media blitz. Dewey, Sellum, Allign & Howe is a legal team. It's an advertising team that has been charged with preparing recommendations on what position the senators should take regarding phthalate use. So students actually design a media campaign that can be used to sell the senators' position to potential voters. The next lesson in the series is called I Can't Hear You. This lesson was created by Dave Kleehammer of Brockport High School, which is a suburb of Rochester, New York. The question posed in this lesson is does the iPod generation risk permanent hearing loss, which is something that students really should be concerned about because turning up their iPods or MP3 players, ear buds into their ears can really seriously affect their hearing loss as they get older.
So this lesson was written to increase students' awareness of hearing risks associated with noise pollutions in general and MP3 players in particular. So the activities for students included a brainstorming session on potential sources of noise pollution and what are the potential health effects of noise pollution. iPods are banned. Students are then introduced to a new Board of Education policy in a fictitious high school. Effective immediately all MP3 style devices are banned from these schools in our district. Students are then posed with the challenge to develop a brief presentation explaining this policy to the incoming freshman class at their local high school. What are the health risks associated with MP3 players? What are some reasons why this ban is reasonable? And what are the safe use of MP3 players? Now we're going to switch gears a little from biology, over to chemistry because we did have a handful of chemistry teacher mentors who created some of these lessons.
So the next lesson is called It's Organic, How Can That Be Bad, and this was created by Bob Dayton, who is a Coordinating Mentor with our New York State Biology-Chemistry Professional Development Network. So this lesson starts off with a scenario about a worker who has been injured in a workplace accident. Jack Castle, who is the owner and operator of New Castle Collision and Services, was rushed to the hospital. He was working with contractors who were expanding the service center at his automotive facility, and they saw him walking erratically, then he stumbled and fell. And Mr. Castle has elevated levels of organic solvents, and Daylight Environmental Services of Pottstown, New York has been hired to test the soil at the New Castle construction site. So that's how this lesson starts out.
This is a directed case study, students are charged with investigating how was Jack Castle exposed to organic solvents and can organic solvents affect the human body, how can they, and where might you be exposed to toxic solvents, what levels are these solvents harmful or lethal, and if there's a ground, solvent spiller leak on the ground, how can the soil and groundwater be cleaned up? Topics addressed in this lesson are organic chemistry, solvents, toxic exposure, site remediation, and molecular modeling. The next chemistry lesson that was created is called Oh, Say, Can You See CO or Carbon Monoxide? This was created by Paul Jebb, a Chemistry Teacher at Ticonderoga High School in New York. This is actually a really, really nice lesson because it brings English language arts into the chemistry curriculum, which is rarely done. So we particularly loved seeing this lesson as it was developed. Students start out looking at a portrait of Edgar Allan Poe, and if you look at the portrait very carefully the drooping right eyelid and mouth are symptomatic of carbon monoxide poisoning, which is one theory on how Edgar Allan Poe may have died.
Students read a portion of a Poe poem, The Raven, and in reading this you noticed this starts off, Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary — well, weakness is a symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning. So students go on to look at various other symptoms that may be in Poe's writings. Students are then charged with doing internet research on the physical properties of carbon monoxide, the symptoms and sources of carbon monoxide poisoning. They learn about carbon monoxide detectors and the uses of carbon monoxide. Students then create posters, which are student posters, and here's just an example of what a poster looks like. Students' names on top, the graphics that helps convey the topic, and a poem that helps convey information about the topic. So this is a poem by Lewis Carroll, that was designed by these two students, John and Ellen, in their poster. The next chemistry activity is an activity on radon.
Students learn about radon and the decay series of uranium, and Kevin Lavarnway, a Chemistry Teacher at Schroon Lake Central School, created this activity. Students learn about radon, where it comes from, that it comes from rock beneath the soil in homes and that it's a natural decayed product of uranium, and they also learn that radon increases the risk of lung cancer. Students learn about the problem with radon. It's all over the place. It may be located in their neighborhoods. And then students learn about radioactivity, they learn about alpha and beta particles, gamma radiation, and the danger to living tissues from high energy radiation and the decay of uranium to create radon-222. Our next chemistry activity is called The Chemistry of Alcohol. This was created by Tom Good, a Chemistry Teacher at Cooperstown High School.
This starts out with a scenario called Bizarre Fatality in the Suburbs, and students read a fictitious article about a teenager who dies from drinking Jungle Juice made with windshield washer fluid instead of vodka. Students then go on a web quest to discover why methanol is more toxic than ethanol. If methanol and ethanol are both metabolized into an aldehyde and then into organic acid, why then is methanol more toxic than ethanol? Students then do a molecular modeling activity, where they use molecular modeling kits that are available in chemistry labs to learn about the difference between ethanol and formic acid. They then create a fictitious school board presentation. They're given the charge about their chemistry class has been asked to prepare a presentation on the chemicals alcohol, breathalyzers, and full policy to deter drinking for the next Board of Ed meeting. So they learn about breathalyzers, and they also learn a little bit about alcohol poisoning.
Now we're going to jump back from chemistry, back to biology, and learn a little bit about bioassays. So Kathy Cahill from Wantagh High School created a lesson on Bioassay Investigations with Daphnia. So in this lesson students learn a little bit about dose response curves. They learn about what it means to the toxicants. Students learn about bioassay procedures, how you set-up, how you do bioassay observations, and how bioassay results are analyzed. They also learn about LD-50 dose response curves. And this is actually a two-part lab investigation. Part one is an introduction to bioassays, and part two is the actual lab part of it. In the Teacher Guide to this lesson there is a guided version of this lab activity, and then there's a more open-ended inquiry version of this lab activity, so both of these lab activities are in the teacher materials for this lesson. Now our next lesson here is called Cough, Cough, Wheeze, Wheeze. This was created by Barbara Hobart, who is one of our Coordinating Mentors in our Biology-Chemistry Professional Development Network.
This is a problem based learning activity, starting out with a scenario that introduces a family affected by asthma. This problem based learning activity develops student understanding about allergy asthma and the role of molds as an asthma trigger. And this ties into the respiratory and immune system units that most biology teachers are doing in their intra-biology courses. Now I know I've gone through these lessons very, very quickly. There are many more lessons on our website. Some of the other lessons that are available are these four lessons — Asthma in the City, Living Downstream, Killing Killer Rain, and Dangers Seen and Unseen. These four lessons were the ones created by our Rochester area teachers, so these are more extensive lesson modules and they're really meant for more local dissemination. So if you choose any of these lessons you may have to do some modification to these lessons to make them align more with your local environmental health issues and any problems that you may be having in your local areas.
Also, I want to draw your attention to another lesson module called Nano Technology, Benefits and Health Risks. This was created through a different grant mechanism from our Science Education Partnership Award, our SEPA grant. This lesson module actually has, I believe, nine different lesson activities, and this was created in-house by our faculty at the University of Rochester's Life Sciences Learning Center. So I think that's all I have to discuss now. If you have any questions about our activities I'd be glad to take questions now. Sharon Beard: Thank you, Dina. Dina Markowitz: You're welcome. Sharon Beard: Once again, if you have questions please let us know. You can use the GoToWebinar question panel at this time. Dina, I do have one question for you, why is it important to have hands-on STEM activities with kids and with teachers involved? Dina Markowitz: Oh, that's a very good question.
All our activities are hands-on or minds-on, so we find that students learn best by doing, so either doing in a hands-on laboratory setting or doing with manipulative models, so they don't really need a laboratory wet lab to do, to learn by doing. So all of these activities have some sort of active involvement. We find that this is engaging to students. It's also engaging to teachers to see their students active. Sharon Beard: Okay, well, I have one question, Mercy and I were wondering for the question on the iPods and hearing, MP3s, does it cause hearing loss? Dina Markowitz: To tell you the truth, I don't have the data at hand, but I believe that the teacher who created the lesson did some background investigations and found that there is a correlation between having loud sounds going into your ear through the ear buds and potential hearing loss. Sharon Beard: Very interesting. Last call for a question for Dr.
Dina Markowitz? Hearing none, we're going to move forward. Thank you, Dina. Dina Markowitz: You're welcome. Sharon Beard: At this time I would like to introduce the speaker for our third presentation, Dr. Mercy Arana. Mercy earned a Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Florida State University, and a Doctoral Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Miami. After Graduate School she joined the NIEHS DNA Replication Fidelity Group as a [ERDO] Post Doc Fellow. She has been involved with basic research here at NIEHS, and in her current position as a Biologist, her focus on DNA [inaudible] continues and expands towards studying genome, why gene expression changes as a response to altering RNA metabolizing enzymes. Recently Mercy has expanded her teaching and mentoring experience by giving several lectures to students participating in the summer internship program, undergraduate students from North Carolina Central University, and high school science teachers from the Environmental Health Perspective Workshops.
She enjoys volunteering, and has been involved in several outreach projects for Durham, Orange, and Miami Dade County schools, and she's definitely participated in several activities that I've been involved in, of course, the Citizen Schools, and some of the programs that we do here with Durham Public Schools and [Maxa Delta Sigma Theta]. We really appreciate all the work she's done. So I'm going to turn it over to Mercy. Mercedes Arana: Thank you. So, first of all, I'd like to say thank you for all of the registrants for joining us for today's webinar, and I'm a bit humbled to follow Kathy and Dina after those great presentations. So what I'd like to do today is to tell you about a collaboration between students at Lowe's Grove Middle School, here in Durham, North Carolina that were enrolled in a spring 2012, last year, Citizen School program under the umbrella of Citizen Schools and NIEHS.
So the name of our program was Healthy Lungs and Happy Living, and our Institute has recently unveiled a strategic plan for the years of 2012 through 2017 with a mission that aims to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives. Within the plan there are a number of things that are included, and that's on the top right side of your picture here, the slide, and so that includes basic, the research, and communications and engagement, health disparities, and in addition to translational science and both fundamental and exposure research. So within that, the number of things to achieve this mission, we also have training and education. And, important to that then, there are a number of goals that are included — promoting communication and collaboration. And so one important thing is to consider and to understand that. NIEHS is really behind scientists in the Institute that want to reach out to the community, and so I've been very lucky to be a part of this program through the support of NIEHS and my advisor and supervisor, [Dr.
Tom Kunkel]. And, in addition to Citizen Schools, as Sharon just mentioned, there are a number of initiatives that are specific to our Institute, dealing with environmental health sciences as an ability for us scientists to come out to the community and foster this engagement with our neighbors, if you will. Okay, so then here what I wanted to say is that this was possible really because of a number of individuals that helped us to really make this happen, so it was a volunteer effort that benefitted from financial support from Office of Science Education and Diversity, and this office is directed by Dr. Ericka Reid. Guidance was from Bono Sen, who was at the time the Director of the Environmental Health Perspectives and currently Project Coordinator of Global Environmental Health. So our volunteers and representative personnel from NIEHS, both from the Division of Intramural Research, as well as the Division of Extramural Research, and also we had a Professor from EPA and that was really exciting because it gave the students an opportunity to have hands-on activity in terms of measuring air quality with the super cool car that Gail brought from EPA.
In addition to our support from NIEHS, also, of course then the collaboration with Citizen Schools, as I mentioned. So what is Citizen Schools? Citizen Schools is a nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools in the U.S. to expand the learning day for low income students. So what they do is they try to connect low income students to organizations that are specializing in academic enrichment. So they have programs for what they call apprenticeships that are taught by community volunteers with focus on developing academic and social skills. So Citizen Schools has expanded now to 18 cities. They started out in Boston, and these cities are throughout the nation, and they serve 31 program sites. Citizen Schools has served over 4,500 or has founded on 4,500 volunteers, about 4,200 and 4,500 students, so it's really important what they've brought to the community.
And if you look at their website, and I have provided the URL link here on the lower right-hand side, according to Citizen Schools students who have participated in one of their programs are 20% more likely to finish high school, and that 80% of students are more likely to attend college. And there are a couple points that I wanted to bring about because I think when all of us at NIEHS were onboard and took on this challenge of putting together this first-time of its kind program, there were a few things to consider. One is that over the last 10 years there has been an increase in positions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, compared to non-STEM jobs. So STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% compared to 9.8% growth for other occupations. The problem is we don't have enough students that are enrolled in these degrees that would require and finish with a STEM education, so only 3.5% of college students enter and graduate from baccalaureate programs in STEM fields. About 50% or more of the engineering doctorate degrees that are awarded in the U.
S. by engineering colleges are to foreign nationals. So what happens is with a lot of the students that we're training in these areas, many of them do not stay in the U.S. Also, it was interesting to see the fact that teenagers are really more interested in STEM careers simply by having teachers who really enjoy the subject and are very enthusiastic about these areas — science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which a lot of students always shy away from because they find them very difficult, but if you are very enthusiastic about it they seem to kind of get onboard with that. And here is just to really — this was sort of astonishing to me when I saw this, this is data that really takes us through 2018. And so when you think about STEM careers, considering here in this pie chart here on the left, physical science, traditional engineering, math and life sciences, the greatest percent is basically computing, so 70% of all careers are expected to — jobs to be in the area of computing.
And so then they further break this down into software engineering, other computing areas, analyses, so this makes sense I guess now with the whole genome sequencing era and bioinformatics training, that this is a big deal. So a couple of friends of mine that are now looking for jobs after post doc were joking that they would go back to school and maybe consider computing. So this is really an eye opener. And so now I'll tell you a little bit about our program, and here what we wanted to do was to focus on lung health and the environment. And so the question that's posted here in this poster we have how does the environment affect our lungs, why do we need healthy lungs, and how do the lungs work? And so here we have this poster, which was sort of something that we used during the [HOC], which is an activity where all the students sort of rotate through the different programs and they select or vote on which program they would like to participate during the Citizen School.
And so here we have ozone versus oxygen, so the good and the bad in this pollster. And so really what our goal was during our program these 10 weeks was, one, to get students very excited about science at an early age, with the idea of sustaining a pipeline of future scientists involved in different STEM careers. With healthy lungs and happy living then, our goal was to provide an understanding of what the impact of our environment is on a very important organ, which is the lung. So the NIEHS contribution, as well as from EPA, consisted of a number of volunteers, and this is actually 20, we had about 20 volunteers, which is the biggest group that Citizen Schools has seen. Also, they said that it was one of the biggest, greatest receptions that they've seen for a program, and they've been doing this for quite awhile at Lowe's Grove Middle School.
So we reached out to 18 students and with a program that was designed to bring science to the classroom using creative and hands-on activities, again as I mentioned, to get students excited about math and science and with the idea that perhaps students would consider future careers in STEM areas. And one important thing about Citizen Schools was to really educate the students to understand better about health, environmental health sciences, their immediate environment, and that they would take this information back to their family and to their friends and, therefore, making them ambassadors. So what I'm showing you in this slide here then is really what we did during the first four or five weeks, and what was really interesting is we started out the first day, and Sharon was involved with this first lecture, is we asked them what a scientist looks like? And, of course, these are middle school students, so a lot of them were nerds and this kind of language and not very receptive, but really by the end when they got to wear a lab coat and the goggles, just to sort of give them an idea of what a scientist looks like in their mind and then what we look like outside of this idea they were more receptive to us coming into their school, if you will.
We also took advantage and brought lab notebooks, so this is where they recorded their data, and they had to keep their data for 10 weeks. We also talked about the respiratory system, and we had a very neat activity where we brought along erlenmeyer flasks with [phenol red] and had them do different activities, plus-minus exercise, and there they were detecting oxygen and CO2 gases. We also covered lung functions, the effects of air pollution on our lungs, and the second half they actually had a chance to build a mechanical lung model and to show the effects of smoke on lung health. We also talked about respiratory diseases, in particular, we covered asthma, and this was a very interesting situation, and I'll show you a picture of one of our students, [Blake Anderson], who was very shy and it took a lot to get him involved in every week, every lecture, about 20 minutes of speaking with him, and he was very nervous about the last thing that they are responsible for doing, which is the WOW! event.
And here they become the teachers and they teach us back the things that they learned during the apprenticeship, and they get to do this with great pride because they teach us, their parents and their family and friends, so it's a big night for them. But he seems to not do well under these conditions, and kept telling me he didn't want to do this, so the idea was how could I get this student involved in this activity without any stress? And it turns out that he's asthmatic, and so one day I just thought, well, what if I have him just talk about how it is living with asthma. And he actually took it upon himself to tell the story during that night, where we had politicians coming out, the community, family, friends, what it's like to live with asthma. And he did so well that he actually won an award for that, so that was a very proud moment for all the volunteers and for himself and his family.
So here at a glance is what our module looked like for the 10 weeks. As I mentioned, a couple of these already, the different topics, and this was an opportunity for us to actually develop the curriculum. We didn't have anything in place at NIEHS, so it was the teams coming together and then working together as a team to make sure that you have all the different lectures and that you have a nice transition from week one to week two, so on and so forth. So it was a lot of work on our part, but I think it was of great benefit to our students. So the first half I told you about what does a scientist look like. Another thing that they were very excited about is a few of us brought our notebooks, science notebooks and showed them what it looked like, so they were keeping their lab notebook and here we have Madison keeping her lab notebook, plotting her data, and then this data was used for an activity that I will tell you about shortly, and then you can see the iPhone and the calculator there, of course, to calculate their averages.
So this was kind of just very I think fun and exciting for them to see that they were doing something that we do pretty much every day. Here to talk about lung function and understanding the respiratory system, the office, or Ericka Reid's office purchased an anatomical lung model, that's shown here in the middle, and this was available to the students every week, and so before class, after class they would stay and kind of play around with the model and looking at the lungs and the heart. And what you see on the left and right of this model are the lung models that the students built, and this was interesting and a lot of fun for the students. We had different groups, and some groups did it in 10 minutes and other groups took a little bit longer, but once they had it completed it was exciting and they got then to put in like coffee grounds to see if you have some sort of pollutant and of course this is not really real, but to give them an idea of what happens when you have something in this balloon that represents each of the lobes of the lungs, what happens also with the effects of smoke.
So this was really a hands-on way to kind of see what happens with the lung function. Here, another activity that we included every week at the beginning of the class was to measure their lung capacity, and so we have here and basically the way we made this was a trash can, we fill it with water, we had another container, we invert it, and there they blow air into this, and the number of cups that are displaced are marked on the side of the inside container, and they then took note of this data, so they did this activity without exercise, with exercise, and they recorded this data and then we had to — they have to explain to us why they saw these differences and the number of cups that were displaced when they measured their lung capacity. So this was something they did every week. And, as I mentioned, this is the data that they recorded. And in this activity here, this was one of the activities already at week eight, and so what they had to do here was to look at their notebook, they used four to five data points from their table, and using Century 21st skills as a Citizen Schools requirement, we looked at different things, like analyzing the data, what is an average, calculate your average, and now we're going to draft this data, number of cups displaced for girls versus boys, and then if there were anything that they noticed in the observations that they made on their data, that the boys displaced a greater number of cups versus the girls, and if so why did they think that was happening? So do you observe any patterns? Why do you see these trends? Give them an example of a trend and really drawing conclusions.
And so this was sort of an eye opener for many of the volunteers because we're dealing with middle school students that are sixth, seventh and eighth graders, and for this activity on this day none of the sixth graders could graph the data, and so this was some activity that we gave an amount of time and really took us much longer with the sixth graders to complete it and we did, but it just shows us that a lot of the stuff that we read and that we come across is that we're not ranked very highly in math literacy or science literacy, and this was really for us one of the first things that came to us in week eight. And so we spent more time with those students that we saw were struggling, we stayed with them a little bit longer to help them out. So this was something very exciting with them, and one thing that I mentioned to them is that a lot of the students, oh, I don't like math, but I tell them that math is around them. Do you like to play video games? And so, of course, all of them raised their hand.
And so I said, well, what you're doing there with those games, it took this much of science and computing and computer science and writing programs to do this, and how many of you would like to do this? And we actually had a couple students that thought, oh, this is really cool. And so I think it's really bringing awareness to students that it's not just an equation on a piece of paper, but that in thinking in terms of how these activities are really around us every day. Here I'm just finishing up with pictures that were taken on May 2012, and this, as I mentioned, this is the WOW! Event. And now this is the opportunity for the young apprentices to become the teacher and teach us and teach their parents and their friends what they learned during these 10 weeks, and it inspires a confidence. You want to teach them not just the skills for STEM, but also social skills, that's part of the Citizen Schools program.
And it gives an opportunity for public speaking. So here we have on the left we have the model here with the model that they built for the lung. Here we have the lung capacity team. Here's the [phenol red], and here's [Blake], this is the student who I told you about, who was completely shy and then that night just was shining and did amazingly well. And here, what it meant for the students was the ability to interact with students who were literally around the corner from them. NIEHS is very nearby, so it gives us a great opportunity to come to Lowe's Grove Middle School to increase each of the students' understanding of what a scientist does, how the environment impacts their health, an opportunity for each student to teach their family and friends what they've learned, to work in a team setting, as well as develop effective oral presentation skills. For us it was, of course, important to reach and teach students, young minds.
It gave us an opportunity to do something that we love, to improve relations with our community, and to foster commitment with our community, as well as developing curriculum and improving planning skills. So here is the last slide, and all the people who made this possible, of course, all of our students at Lowe's Grove Middle School. Our amazing Citizen School's teacher, Sarah Rabiner, our Office of Science Education and Diversity, headed by Dr. Reid. Bono Sen, the Project Co-Leader, who without I could not have done all of this. Nisha Cavannaugh and all of our great volunteers here in the last bullet. And we're proud to say that this program happened again this spring in 2013, and Ericka's office continues to lead this and now are considering another program for the fall. And I'd like to thank you for your time, and I'd take any questions at this moment. Sharon Beard: Thank you, Mercy, for your presentation. Are there any questions for her? I do have one question, how difficult was it to organize all of these volunteers and develop this curriculum? Mercedes Arana: This was very difficult because everybody at NIEHS were very busy with your basic research and that's your first priority, but it was very difficult to get all of these 20 volunteers sort of on the same page and to get the curriculum to sort of flow.
Everybody, you know, groups were broken into smaller groups, and then those groups sort of came together. We had a leader in each group, and so it was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Sharon Beard: So we're opening up now for I think questions from everybody. If you have questions for any of our speakers — Kathy, Mercy or Dina — please let us know, and we will start the question and answer session. While we're waiting for questions to come in, maybe, Kathy, you can answer the question from earlier about the kits and how to get access to it, and what your program will provide? Kathleen Vandiver: Certainly. Okay, this is Kathy. I would just like to remark, first of all, that we put all the teaching materials, including the instructions and everything, online. And so you could put together a kit yourself, so if you got your LEGO bricks together. So I'd just like to point out that's a good alternative if that's the way you'd like to do it. And then we are trying to make available to schools these materials at our cost, and so we do have a spot on our website where people can inquire about it.
I was actually curious whether Mercy — can I ask a question, is that okay, of Mercy? Sharon Beard: Yes. Kathleen Vandiver: Okay, I'm just curious if their materials are to be available to other people, so I know it's a big step doing it yourself and getting practice with it and then going the other step to make it so that you can hand it off to other people, so I was just curious if they're interested in doing that in the long run? Mercedes Arana: So, actually, in one of the slides I included a link to the Citizen Schools, and on their website they've already put our curriculum. Kathleen Vandiver: How cool, okay. Mercedes Arana: Online, and so it's on one of the slides, so if you go to the Citizen Schools website and you punch or type in happy lungs, healthy living, you'll see a curriculum for each of our weeks. Kathleen Vandiver: Okay. Sharon Beard: There was a question for you, Mercy, on the Citizen Schools.
Is that available for high school students, do you know? Mercedes Arana: That I know, it's mostly for earlier students and the idea being that you want to reach to students at an earlier age, and there, I'm not sure about high school, that's something that I can actually check. I think the idea was that really reaching younger students and, second, that there weren't really a lot of volunteers or funding to start these in high schools. Sharon Beard: Okay, and there's one other question about Citizen Schools — people wanted to know how could they get involved in Citizen School? Mercedes Arana: So if you go to the Citizen Schools web page, they actually have different links, if you would like to volunteer and you can actually click and you can check whether there are schools in your region that you can volunteer and become a citizen teacher, and there are many opportunities.
I know here there are several schools, I know that in Charlotte there are several opportunities. So, yes, all that information is on their website. Sharon Beard: Is there a link there that talks about how to nominate a school for Citizen School participation, do you know? Mercedes Arana: I don't know. Sharon Beard: We'll check into that, and we'll put an answer out, so we'll let everybody know about that. Let's check and see if we have any other questions here. I think that's all the questions that we saw here for Citizen Schools. Did anybody have any other questions about STEM, from any of the programs, Dina from the University of Rochester or Kathy from MIT? If not, I'm going to ask any of our speakers if they have any parting words or anything they want to share? I think one of the most important things about the webinar series that we do here at NIEHS for The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health, is to show best practices, to show different ways of approaching different areas of research and science and education, and having the opportunity to really have some dynamic speakers, like Mercy and Dina and Kathy, share about what they've been doing in their individual programs and careers.
It's important, and it also helps us to really showcase some of this great work going on across the country. So, Kathy, any parting words? Kathleen Vandiver: No, just thank you very much, I really enjoyed learning a lot from other presenters, and I hope that our audience did, too. Sharon Beard: Okay, Dina? Dina Markowitz: Likewise, thank you very much for allowing me to present these materials, and I hope teachers will find them useful. Sharon Beard: Great. Mercy? Mercedes Arana: Likewise, I'm very humbled, as I mentioned, to have been included in this series with Kathy and Dina, and thank you for the opportunity, and if you have any questions please let us know. Sharon Beard: Okay, we have one more question that just popped up here — it says are there any grants to visit, is that the Edgerton Center to do any of these activities there? I think this might be for Kathy? Kathleen Vandiver: Oh, the Edgerton Center, I'm sorry. The Edgerton Center teaches groups practically every single day of the year, so you can — the website will let you know if you check it out, and the calendar is there, as well, and the lessons, and welcome, and so at no charge, as well.
So I guess I could mention that, too. Sharon Beard: Okay. Thank you. And there are other opportunities, especially here in Durham. We are actually partner with the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to actually do teacher education programs here at NIEHS. So twice a year we do teach at workshops dealing with different topics from the environment and your health, chemicals in the environment, other types of lessons that are done by scientists here at NIEHS and teachers from all over the State get a chance to come here and participate in those sessions, and then also be able to visit the lab and acclimate themselves to NIEHS and the work that we do here. So that's an opportunity, also, for teachers to participate, and this program is cosponsored, of course, by NIEHS and each year the teachers get a free ride to come and participate in the workshop. So thank you for participating in today's sessions. Before we close, I would like to make a few announcements. Your feedback is important. After today's webinar please take a moment to fill out the short evaluation form.
Your feedback is vital to helping us ensure that we're providing the highest quality speakers and information to meet your needs. And please keep in touch with PEPH and with our list serve and our PEPH newsletter. You can sign up by e-mailing email@example.com. That information is on this slide here, and we encourage you to sign up for that. You'll get information about all the activities that all of our grantees and other programs are involved with, dealing with our network of Partnerships for Environmental Public Health, and any workshop, announcements for grants or funding is also available there. We send that information to the list serve on a regular basis. We do also have upcoming webinars. Our next webinar will be Environmental Justice for Native-Americans on August the 21st. More information about those upcoming webinars, as well as registration links, will be on the PEPH events page as soon as they're available.
The link to the events page is shown here on this slide. Thanks, once again, to our presenters, Dr. Kathy Vandiver, Dr. Dina Markowitz, and Dr. Mercedes Arana. We really appreciate what you've done with these programs and thank you for sharing the highlights of these activities. That concludes today's webinar. Thank you for participating..