The Washington State Department of Health has created the following educational resources to introduce students and teachers to public health and climate change data.
Free professional development course
In an effort to engage students with local health and climate data, the department is unveiling a free professional development course for teachers that uses Department of Heath tools and data to explore the connections between asthma and wildfires, which are one of the most obvious impacts of climate change on Washington state.
Teachers who complete the free on-demand course earn eight Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) continuing education hours (clock hours) toward their license renewal.
Classroom learning modules
Washington Tracking Network (WTN) is the nation’s first Environmental Public Health Tracking program to create high school level learning materials. The health department, in partnership with the Puget Sound Educational Service District, is offering free classroom learning materials that lead students through five different lesson plans to give them a unique look at the intersection of climate change and health.
Each module promotes critical thinking by highlighting climate change data, health data, the scientific process, community experience and insights from epidemiologists. The materials largely pull from WTN’s Information by Location tool, and also include other WTN data. The classroom learning materials are available to anyone for free online.
“Students can dig into areas of health, climate, and socioeconomic data that interest them,” said Lauren Jenks, environmental public health assistant secretary. “Using WTN tools and real data, they can see what is most impacting their region, differences between communities, and how factors are interconnected.”
DOH’s WTN also offers opportunities for students who want to explore environmental health outside the classroom. The second year of the WTN Youth Science Contest opens for high school students in March, and the Radon Poster Contest for students ages 9 through 14 starts in January.