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HAZ-ED - Classroom Activities for Understanding Hazardous Waste

Hazed materials can be used as part of a larger curriculum, as special stand-alone activities, or on an occasional basis to teach students about hazardous waste issues. Hazed is a compilation of interdisciplinary activities that focus on the often complicated and sometimes controversial scientific, technical, and policy issues related to hazardous waste sites and Superfund. It is designed to help students develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. It also increases environmental awareness and encourages an environmental ethic in students.

The Table of Contents can be utilized in sequential order, or the Introduction further defines the components of the materials which will enable teachers to design their own organization for the Hazed activities. The materials focus on grades ranging 7th through 12th, the Warm-Ups and Activities specifically list the appropriate grade level. All materials listed are linked to a PDF format in addition to the web enabled format.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword-This includes an Introduction, Instructional Goals, and detailed instructions on how to use the Hazed material.[PDF format, 11 pages, 127KB]

  • Warm Up Exercises-The Warm-Ups focus on developing and understanding some basic concepts related to hazardous waste.

  • Activities-The Activities build on the Warm-ups, although they can stand alone. Students examine issues related to hazardous waste and site cleanup.

  • Fact Flashes-The Fact Flashes are a set of fact sheets that provide the foundation of information on which the Warm-ups and Activities are built.

  • Glossary-The Glossary defines many of the terms and concepts students will encounter in the exercises and activities. [PDF format, 10 pages, 27KB]

  • Suggested Reading-A list of abstracted Suggested Readings provides both educators and students with additional information. [PDF format, 8 pages, 146KB]

  • Contacts and Resources-This page provides a variety of information, including key phone numbers and Internet addresses. [PDF format, 4 pages, 209KB]

  • This Is Superfund Brochure - This is a stand-alone document that describes the Superfund Program. [PDF format, 4 pages, 1484KB]

  • Bibliography-This page lists resources used in preparing the Haz-Ed materials.
    [PDF format, 2 pages, 48KB]

Warm-Up Exercises

  1. Defining Hazardous Waste: Students define and explore the relationship between hazardous substances and hazardous waste. Grade level 7-10 [PDF format, 4 pages, 145KB]

  2. EPA's Superfund Program: Students learn about the goals of the Federal Superfund Program and how these goals are achieved. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 10 pages, 282KB]

  3. The Numbers Game: Students gain an appreciation for the part-per-million and part-per-billion units used to measure contaminant concentrations in the environment. Grade level 10-12 [PDF format, 10 pages, 266KB]

  4. Risk Concepts: Students explore the meaning of risk through a simple exercise in probability. Grade level 7-10 [PDF format, 6 pages, 421KB]

  5. Hazardous Waste Issues in the News: Students conduct research to collect news media reports on local and national hazardous waste issues. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 10 pages, 236KB]

  6. What is an Aquifer?: Students build a simple model of an aquifer to study the relationship of groundwater and surface water and explore the ways contaminants are spread through water. Grade level 7-9 [PDF format, 4 pages, 128KB]

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  1. Waste: Where Does It Come From? Where Does It Go?: Students identify and locate on a map the potential sources of hazardous waste in their neighborhood or community. Grade level 9-12 [PDF format, 4 pages, 152KB]

  2. Examining a Hazardous Waste Site: Students begin to understand how Superfund sites are created. Grade level 9-12 [PDF format, 8 pages, 196KB]

  3. Companion to Superfund-the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Program: Students explore the nation's program for properly managing and disposing of hazardous and nonhazardous waste in the United States. Grade level 9-12 [PDF format, 6 pages, 218KB]

  4. Dealing with Chemical Emergencies: Students discover how Federal, state, and local authorities respond to chemical emergencies under Superfund and other laws. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 6 pages, 207KB]

  5. How Hazardous Substances Affect People: Students gain an appreciation for how scientists determine the human health effects of hazardous substances. Grade level 7-10 [PDF format, 5 pages, 234KB]

  6. Examining the Effects of Pollution on Ecosystems: Students learn that hazardous waste may have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems that are not-always easy to identify. Grade level 10-12 [PDF format, 16 pages, 588KB]

  7. Identifying Risks at a Superfund Site: Students begin to understand the types of risks found at Superfund sites and how these risks are identified and assessed. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 8 pages, 313KB]

  8. Hazardous Waste Cleanup Methods: Students explore some of the reasoning involved in choosing technologies for cleaning up hazardous waste sites. Grade level 9-12 [PDF format, 4 pages, 122KB]

  9. Making Decisions About Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Students assume roles and act out a situation that illustrates the process of decision making during cleanup of a Superfund site. Grade level 9-12 [PDF format, 18 pages, 951KB]

  10. Pollution Prevention: Students discover what can be done to reduce the amount of solid and hazardous wastes that must be disposed of and managed safely. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 8 pages, 366KB]

  11. What the Community Can Do: Students learn how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency involves communities near Superfund sites in the cleanup process, and the types of activities communities can use to influence how hazardous waste sites are cleaned up. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 6 pages, 149KB]

  12. Federal and State Laws on Hazardous Waste: Students will become familiar with how laws affecting hazardous waste are developed, enacted, implemented, and enforced. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 8 pages, 258KB]

  13. Creating the Future: Students create and write scenarios for the future related to hazardous waste pollution. Grade level 7-12 [PDF format, 4 pages, 138KB]

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Fact Flashes

  1. Hazardous Substances and Hazardous Waste: Students learn how chemicals affect our everyday lives. [PDF format, 1 page, 345KB]

  2. The Superfund Cleanup Program: Students learns how EPA deals with abandoned, accidentally spilled, or illegally dumped hazardous substances from the past. [PDF format, 4 pages, 264KB]

  3. Flowing Railroad Hazardous Waste Sites: Students learn how a Railroad yard became a 25-acre waste site. [PDF format, 6 pages, 343KB]

  4. Flowing Railroad Site Investigation Results: Students learns how EPA investigated this site and what the results were. [PDF format, 2 pages, 235KB]

  5. Groundwater :Students learns what groundwater is, how it is contaminates, and how it is cleaned. [PDF(a) format, 3 pages, 344KB] [PDF(b) format, 3 pages, 271KB]]

  6. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): Students gain an understanding of RCRA and how it works.

  7. Pollution Prevention: Students learns numerous ways to prevent pollution. [PDF version, 4 pages, 238KB]

  8. Common Cleanup Methods: Students learn how effective various methods of cleanup are and why they are used. [PDF version, 6 pages, 326KB]

  9. Common Contaminants: Students learn about common contaminants, where they are found, and how they can affect human health. [PDF version, 18 pages, 246KB]

  10. Superfund Community Involvement Program: Students understand why community involvement is essential in all Superfund actions taken by EPA. [PDF version, 4 pages, 249KB]

  11. Other Major Environmental Laws: Students study a series of environmental laws and how they work together to protect our health, our environment, and our future. [PDF version, 4 pages, 254KB]

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