Environmental Health Education

Resources available from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Curriculum, Lesson Plans and Activities

Here are some of the K-12 programs and educational activities and curricula that we have developed. Included are: individual lessons, curriculum units, PowerPoint presentations and resources for education around toxicology and environmental health.

  • Stimulating educational activities that enhance science, health, and environmental education lessons
  • Curricula that teach students Toxicology and Environmental Health through active lessons
  • Downloadable Powerpoint presentations on Toxicology and Environmental Health
  • Support materials for providing microscopy activities, toxicology lessons and links to the NIEHS Resource Center and the National Library of Medicine Toxicology materials
  • Integrated environmental health and biomedical college preparatory curriculum for public, charter, and other high schools


Making real-time air quality and interactive materials accessible to the public.

  • An interactive animation that lets you set certain parameters that change CO-City and its carbon monoxide levels. You can then find out how and why CO levels change in response to your actions. Parameters include time of day (and as a result temperature and weather) and city size. Temperature inversions form, trapping CO near the ground.
  • Expose a set of lungs to various air pollutants and learn the fundamentals of gas exchange.
  • Students collect current data about air pollution, weather, and health effects and then analyze the patterns. For example, what is the relationship between ozone levels and temperature? Pollutants investigated include ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter. Parameters include weather and climate (temperature, wind, rainfall), asthma attacks, visibility, time, and location.

TCE Contamination and Cleanup Curriculum

The chemical compound trichloroethylene is a chlorinated hydrocarbon commonly used as an industrial solvent. It is informally referred to as TCE, and sold under a variety of trade names. TCE is a clear non-flammable liquid with a sweet smell.

The TCE Contamination and Cleanup Curriculum (TCE CCC) were written from a constructivist perspective. Constructivist learning encourages students to develop their critical thinking skills by initiating their own inquiries of the topic to be learned based on their own prior knowledge. This is achieved through supportive guidance and hands-on problem solving that challenges them to construct their research and communication (oral and written) experiences in order to make logical and critical connections to the topic.

PULSE: Promoting Understanding and Learning for Society & Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Learning for High School

PULSE is a nine-unit curriculum that teaches environmental health and biomedical issues across the curriculum, in science, social studies, math, and language arts

Culture and Cycles: Arsenic and Human Health: Students learn how arsenic gets into the drinking water and about the dangers of exposure to people living in affected regions.

From Global to City Air: Air Quality, City Design and Disease: Students learn how city development, air movement & air quality all contribute to respiratory illnesses.

Diseases and Epidemics: Architects of History: Students explore disease & its relationship to literature & the movement of people, trade & epidemics during the medieval period.

Dawn of New Revolutions: Revolutionizing Biology to meet Needs: Students investigate how revolutions, conflict, change, and resource management have impacted human health.

Industrialization, Chemicals and Human Health: Students develop an understanding of basic environmental toxicology while addressing basic chemical and physical properties of substances.

Fertilizers, Pesticides and Human Health: Students read research of environmental health scientists & do speeches concerning community based health related issues.

Powerful Explorations of Health and Energy (partially developed): Students simulate an energy task force meeting, which includes environmental health factors as a primary consideration.

Health Friendly Energy Production: Students use understandings of impact of the environment on human health gained in the physical sciences and other science classes to present a moot court case.

Striding into the Scientific Future: Illuminating Clinical Trials: Using the issue of skin cancer, students learn about the role of government oversight in clinical studies.