Teach the Earth > Public Policy > Classroom Activities > Environmental Health Risk Inventory

Environmental Health Risk Inventory

Laurie Cantwell
Geoscience Education Web Development Team at Montana State University
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Mar 28, 2006


In this activity, students perform an environmental health risk inventory of a selected locale. Students will address anthropogenic and natural health risks of an area using data collected from various online mapping tools and databases.

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This activity is designed for an undergraduate environmental geology course for non-majors, but it can be modified for a variety of levels.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have some understanding of the mapping tools and databases available on the web. In addition, students should understand the process of completing an environmental health inventory. These skills and concepts will be addressed within this activity.

How the activity is situated in the course

The activity can be used as a stand-alone exercise or a culminating project.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will learn about different types of environmental health risks and how they can assess the health risks in their own neighborhoods.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students will learn to critically evaluate the data they generate, identify the environmental health risks of an area and formulate a summary of their results.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students will learn to produce maps, graphs and data tables using online mapping tools and databases.

Description of the activity/assignment

To complete this activity, students can follow the instructions and the tutorial in the Environmental Health Risk Inventory website. In doing this, they will gain an understanding of how to use on-line tools and databases as well as the processes of compiling an environmental health risk inventory for a specific locale. In the activity, students will address the question: "how healthy is your neighborhood?" Students will address anthropogenic and naturally-occurring health risks in their hometown or neighborhood by using data collected from online mapping tools and databases. Students will also complete a reflective summary based on the data that they collect.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students should print out and hand in the maps and databases they produced using the online tools and databases. They should also complete a summary and assessment of the environmental health risks in their neighborhood.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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