Author: Chris Sikich
Philadelphia High School for Girls
Seminar: Lead & Health
Grade Level: 9-12
School Subject(s): Science
Lead Bioaccumulation is a multifaceted curriculum unit that explores lead, its ability to bioaccumulate and its connection to health issues, other environmental toxins, Philadelphia and environmental justice. When done with the unit, students will be able to understand the chemistry and historical and present industrial value of lead, the human health impacts of exposure to lead, the environmental sustainability concerns regarding lead and the diverse community sources and commercial products that contain lead. The unit begins with an exploration of lead in the environment. This unit piece will provide lead chemistry, understanding of usage in and management in home and industry and abatement and overall solutions to the lead contamination problem. The second part of the unit delves into bioaccumulation revealing what it is and the biological implications for humans and pets that bioaccumulate lead. The third unit part looks at biomagnification, how it differs from bioaccumulation, how pollutants can biomagnify and why lead’s half-life prevents lead from biomagnifying. For the lead in Philadelphia part of the unit, students will understand how ubiquitous lead actually is by doing actual lead sampling. To conclude the unit, environmental justice will be investigated as an idea and students will work on a project to address lead justice in Philadelphia.
Download Unit: Sikich-C.-19.05.10.pdf