The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has released a new and free professional development course for teachers that uses DOH 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.
According to reports, eight (8) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) continuing education hours (clock hours) are awarded to teachers who complete the online on-demand course toward the renewal of their license. This is done in an effort to engage students with local health and climate data.
In order to give students a special perspective on the relationship between climate change and health, the DOH is collaborating with the Puget Sound Educational Service District to provide free classroom learning materials that guide students through five different lesson plans.
The first Environmental Public Health Tracking program in the US to produce materials for high school students is Washington Tracking Network (WTN).
According to reports, the contents incorporate additional WTN data as well as a substantial portion of the Information by Location tool from WTN and anyone can access the classroom learning resources for free online.
Each lesson encourages critical thinking by emphasizing information about the environment, health, the scientific method, community experience, and epidemiologists’ ideas.
Speaking of the course, Lauren Jenks, Environmental Public Health Assistant Secretary said that students can dig into areas of health, climate, and socioeconomic data that interest them, adding that using WTN tools and real data, they can see what is most impacting their region, differences between communities, and how factors are interconnected.
Additionally, DOH’s WTN offers opportunities for students who want to explore environmental health outside the classroom.
Story was adapted from DOH.