Conducting Action Research on the Impact of Environmental Issues on Community Health


Nicholas J. Caruso

Urban Action Academy

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2011



Subject:  Living Environment (Biology)

Grade Level: 9 & 10

Aim:  To help students to understand the impact that environmental issues have on community health profiles

Learning Targets:


Ø  Learn to conduct action research

Ø  Learn about how environmental factors impact community health profiles

Ø  Suggest ways in which they can make a difference in the health of our community


Assessment: Students will be given opportunities to self-assess using rubrics provided for poster and research paper.  Teacher will use rubrics to assess team and individual performance. 

Time Frame: 5 weeks


1.      Students will conduct Internet research to learn about health problems that affect their communities.

2.      Students will create surveys and they will use these instruments to collect data on health of their specific communities. In addition, students will also use date collected via the Internet to support their survey findings. 

3.      Students will analyze their data and write a report of their findings.

4.      Students will present their report for the class. 



Columbia University Population Research Center

County Health Rankings 

Community Health Profiles New York City

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: SMART: City and County Database (survey questions)

My Community’s Health: Health publications 

Community Health and Survey Reports

Summary Reports



Ø  Computers

Ø  Tuning Protocol (adapted)

Ø  Flash Drives



1.       Teacher will collect information on from students (zip codes).  This information will be used to help form research teams. 


2.      The project will be introduced via a PowerPoint presentation.  During this presentation, students will have an opportunity to look at all of the websites.  Students will make a copy of the slide show presentation and take notes.  Students will be given information about deadlines and will receive a calendar that will outline when each feedback session will take place (2 days)


3.      Students will begin to be trained to facilitate the Tuning Protocol.


4.      Teams will begin working to develop their research question that they would like to investigate. 


5.      Teams will meet at predetermined intervals to present their research to date and they will use the Tuning Protocol to determine if the research is on track. 


6.      Students will begin to organize their work into a scientific-style poster and rubrics will be provided for written and poster presentations.


7.      Student teams will present their posters to the school. 



New York State Learning Standards: 

Standard 1: Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seeks answers, and develop solutions.

Key Idea 1: The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing and creative process.

Key Idea 2: Beyond the use of reasoning and consensus, scientific inquiry involves the testing of proposed explanations involving the use of conventional techniques and procedures and usually requiring considerable ingenuity.

Key Idea 3: The observations made while testing proposed explanations, when analyzed using conventional and invented methods, provide new insights into natural phenomena.