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Archive for the ‘K-12’ Category

Project Spotlight: Environmental Health Student Portal

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Guest author: David Duggar, MLIS, Reference Librarian and Will Olmstadt, MSLS, MPH, Associate Director, LSU Health Shreveport, Health Sciences Library

David Duggar Presents at a ConferenceIn 2011 the National Library of Medicine debuted the  The Environmental Health Student Portal.

In May 2012 the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport Library (LSUHSC-S) received an Express Outreach Award to promote the Environmental Health Student Portal (EHSP) through the Caddo Parish public school science teachers and librarians. Caddo Parish had 23 public schools covering 7th grade life science, high school biology, or environmental science. Working with the District Science Supervisors and the Supervisor of Libraries for Caddo Parish Schools, 22 science teachers and librarians from 15 middle and high schools received in-service training during the June 18-19 Explore the Common Core Mini-Conference. The new portal’s purpose was displayed on the homepage, Connecting Middle School Students to Environmental Health Information, and the site defined environmental health as the interrelationship between human health and the environment, either natural or manmade. The online reliable environmental health information resources and career information would assist in meeting the new common core objectives coming to Louisiana.

Attendees were encouraged to work as a team (teacher and librarian together) to create a classroom program that would use the EHSP, and submit it for a one-hour share-a-thon presentation at the November 2012 Joint Louisiana Science Teachers Association – Louisiana Association of Teachers of Mathematics (LSTA-LATM) Conference. Registration for teachers was paid for the meeting and presenters would have a chance to receive an iPad for their classroom or library. One school participated in the team classroom project for the fall conference and another school requested to conduct the team classroom project in the spring semester.

David and Charles at an exhibit booth

The LSUHSC-S librarians exhibited the EHSP over 15.5 hours at the November 12-14 Joint LSTA-LATM Conference talking to educators from a minimum of 14 parishes in Louisiana. The one-hour presentation on the EHSP was given on the 14th.

A surprise outcome from exhibiting was the request from the members of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to come to the February 22-23, 2013 Louisiana Environmental Education Symposium in Baton Rouge to present and exhibit on the portal, specifically mentioning ToxTown.  The LSUHSC-S Librarians exhibited the EHSP over 8 hours during the two days and talked to environmental health and science educators from a minimum of 12 parishes. On the 23rd a one hour presentation was given incorporating all of the information and materials from the share-a-thon presentation.

The last planned method of promoting the Environmental Health Student Portal was the creation of metric rulers at the request of the District Science Supervisors inscribed with the name and URL of the portal. These were given to educators for use in their classrooms at all of these activities during the 2012-2013 year.

LSUHSC-S Librarians have been asked to continue to exhibit at future LSTA Conferences and Environmental Education Symposia.

Tox Town Adds a Funeral Home to the City

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

A blow-up of the section of Tox Town's City that has the Funeral HomeIn Tox Town’s City Scene you can now find a Funeral Home among the businesses.

Funeral home employees are exposed to a number of health and safety concerns. Go directly to the new location page to learn about possible employee exposure to various chemicals, including formaldehye, solvents and bloodborne pathogens:

En español: Funeraria

NLM Launches Environmental Health Student Portal

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Specialized Information Services Division announces the launch of the Environmental Health Student Portal ( This web site introduces middle school students to environmental health science within the context of current middle school science curriculum standards. This newest edition to the family of NLM resources for students is a free web site that contains links to government and other reviewed and selected sites and provides a safe and reliable environment for teachers and students to study the following topics and their impact on health:
•    water pollution
•    climate change
•    chemicals
•    air pollution (coming soon)

Image of Student Portal

Middle school teachers from school systems in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, and the District of Columbia participated in focus groups to determine the need for an environmental health site, the content, including topics and sub-topics covered, and ways in which they can incorporate the use of the web site into their classrooms. Topics and subtopics highlighted on the web site come directly from the data collected during this research. The Environmental Health Student Portal allows students to conduct research, play games related to environmental health, locate science fair projects, and view videos. Teachers can use the site to locate links to relevant content and lesson plans from resources like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.

New Bisphenol A Page on Tox Town

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Tox Town, the National Library of Medicine interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances, has released a Bisphenol A (BPA)  page: .
Information is provided on where and how one might be exposed to BPA in the environment and how exposure can affect one’s health.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make lightweight, hard plastics and epoxy resins, and can be found in food and drink packaging, water bottles, and baby bottles. BPA can leach into food and beverages that are stored in these consumer products. More research is needed to determine how these findings affect human health. The summary can also be found in Spanish at .

NLM Releases Nanoparticles Page on Tox Town

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Tox Town, the National Library of Medicine interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances, has released a Nanoparticles page.

This resource provides a brief summary of nanotechnology and has links to additional resources.

The summary can also be found in Spanish at Nanopartículas

Nanotechnology uses matter at sizes between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers. Nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and working with matter at this scale. Nanomaterials have unique optical, electrical, and magnetic properties. The small size of these materials makes them promising and challenging to work with. However, their characteristics may be different from those of larger particles with the same chemical composition.

There is concern about the interaction of nanoparticles with human health and their effects on the environment. The risk of pollution from nanoparticles and associated health problems to those involved in manufacturing these materials as well as to consumers using these products is unknown.

“Ready Classroom” Teaches Emergency Preparedness Nationwide

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Although first announced in April of this year, this resource bears mentioning again at the beginning of a new school year and the approach of National Preparedness Month.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Ad Council have joined with Discovery Education to announce Ready Classroom, an online educational program. Ready Classroom will provide elementary and middle school teachers with resources to integrate natural disaster preparedness information into their curriculum. The program is an extension of Ready Kids, a nationwide effort designed to encourage children and families to take action and prepare for emergencies.

This online resource,, targets grades K – 8 and provides teachers with activities, lesson plans and multimedia tools that teach students how natural disasters develop and inspires them to build their own emergency preparedness plans with their families. The complete news release can be found at .

The American Public Health Association urges all Americans to “Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed and Get Involved.” National Get Ready Day is September 15, 2009, to coincide with National Preparedness Month.

New NLM History of Medicine Banner Exhibition

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) History of Medicine Exhibition Program is accepting requests to host a new banner exhibition scheduled to be available October 4 2009.

The title is Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and The Yellow Wallpaper. In the late nineteenth century, at a time when women were challenging traditional ideas about gender that excluded them from political and intellectual life, medical and scientific experts drew on notions of female weakness to justify inequality between the sexes. Artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, rejected these ideas in a terrifying short story titled “The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The famous tale served as an indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.

As with other banner exhibitions, NLM is asking host libraries to cover incoming Federal Express expenses, which usually run a couple of hundred dollars. The booking period is 6 weeks. The online exhibition will feature K-12 lesson plans and a higher education module and will be available after Labor Day.

For more information see:

Questions may be directed to Jill Newmark, Exhibition Registrar in the NLM History of Medicine Division:

“Harry Potter’s World” Now Online

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The National Library of Medicine’s exhibition “Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine” is now available online! View “Harry Potter’s World” at The banner show, which will travel to libraries around the country through the American Library Association starting in fall 2009, explores the plants, animals, and magic featured in the Harry Potter book series and their roots in Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science.  It incorporates the works of several fifteenth- and sixteenth-century thinkers mentioned in the Harry Potter book series and looks at topics such as alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy, as well as the ethical issues faced by both the fictitious characters from the novels and the historical figures who influenced them. The website for “Harry Potter’s World” includes the full exhibition text, middle/high school lesson plans, and a higher education module for professors and students.
Visit the American Library Association’s request for proposals for libraries interested in hosting the traveling banner exhibition at

Please refer any questions about “Harry Potter’s World” to

New Teaching Tools Available for Science and Diabetes Education in Native American Schools

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Schools across the country now have free access to an innovative set of teaching tools designed to increase the understanding of science, health, and diabetes among American Indian and Alaska Native students from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The comprehensive new curriculum, called “Health is Life in Balance,” was launched on November 12, 2008 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The curriculum, a product of the Diabetes-based Science Education in Tribal Schools (DETS) program, integrates science and Native American traditions to educate students about science, diabetes and its risk factors, and the importance of nutrition and physical activity in maintaining health and balance in life. The project was developed in collaboration with eight tribal colleges and universities and several Native American organizations, with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Indian Health Service (IHS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The rate of diagnosed diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives is two to three times that of non-Hispanic whites. Nearly 17 percent of the total adult population served by the IHS has diagnosed diabetes. After adjusting for population age differences, diabetes rates vary from 6 percent among Alaska Native adults to 29 percent among American Indian adults in southern Arizona. Once seen only in adults, type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in youth, especially in American Indian and other minority populations.

The curriculum units provide accurate, culturally tailored materials and lesson plans for use in more than 1,000 tribal schools on reservations and in public schools that have a sizable number of Native American students. “This curriculum can change perceptions and attitudes about diabetes and empower young people to adopt healthier lifestyles,” said Kelly Acton, M.D., M.P.H, director of the Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention of the IHS, which will oversee distribution to schools.

To order printed copies or CDs of the curriculum free of charge, see the IHS website

Tox Town now in Spanish

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Tox Town: Nuevo recurso en español de la Biblioteca Nacional de Medicina

Tox Town is now available in both English, and en español, Visitors can learn in English or in Spanish about environmental health concerns and over 30 toxic chemicals in these imaginary neighborhoods: a City, Farm, Town, US-Mexico Border, and Port.

In either language, Tox Town uses neighborhood scenes along with color, graphics, sounds, and animation to add interest to learning about connections between chemicals, the environment, and the public’s health. Tox Town’s target audience is high school, college and graduate students, educators, and the interested public.

Tox Town en español identifies Spanish-language information in a subject area – environmental health and toxicology – that currently has few Web resources. To supplement the limited Web resources in Spanish, nearly 100 pages of background information describing environmental health concerns were translated and reviewed by a team of bilingual health information specialists.

Tox Town is ideal for supplementing classes in environmental science, earth science, forensics, and health. Also, students learning to read either English or Spanish may use Tox Town to improve language skills as they toggle back and forth between the Spanish and English text.

Tox Town joins three other Spanish-language Web resources from the National Library of Medicine. ToxMystery, for grades 2–6, features a bilingual talking cat that teaches about possible chemical hazards around the home, MedlinePlus (en español at directs users to hundreds of Spanish-language resources on health including drug information, news stories and interactive tutorials that read aloud in Spanish or in English. The AIDSinfo Web site, home for treatment guidelines, drug information and clinical trials related to HIV/AIDS, also has a Spanish version, infoSIDA, available at

Tox Town® is a project of the Specialized Information Services Division of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Promotional materials and Tox Town images for Web sites and publications are listed at Please send your comments or questions on Tox Town to