Quicksilver Question Web Module

University Of Washington, 2004

Students and teachers alike enjoy investigating the fictional town of Quicksilver, Washington in this online learning adventure. This interdisciplinary web-based curriculum for middle school students uses problem-based learning methods and a virtual interface as students investigate sources of mercury contamination in a historic gold mining town. The web-based module is supported by extension lesson plans that further deepen students’ understanding of environmental health and mercury, going back in time to the days of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to exploring mercury contamination from contemporary sources. Dr. Bergsman wrote the text and managed the development of the module and also developed the accompanying lesson plans.

Lesson plans are provided for middle school Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Math, and also include resources on Health and Fitness. Social Studies lessons include Expedition Medicine (discovering the medications used by the Lewis & Clark expedition, including mercury-based medicines) and Gold Mining in South America (exploring artisanal gold mining as a source of mercury poisonings for young children).

Science lessons include Up the Food Chain (simulations of biomagnification and bioaccumulation of mercury in aquatic ecosystems) and Mercury Rising (exploring how mercury thermometers work and their dangers).

Language Arts lessons include The Mercury Message (writing a persuasive letter and exploring a case study of mercury poisoning) and Toxic Tales (designing a label to communicate to Iraqi people a warning about wheat seeds treated with mercury).

Math lessons include Mercury in Your Everyday Life (examining a data table about the major sources of mercury pollution in Washington State) and Cookie Mining (simulating basic mining economics and the costs of environmental damage using cookies).

Unfortunately, the Flash-based web module is no longer available to play due to the Flash plug-in being retired. However, you can access the accompanying lesson plans, by going to the University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health website here and scrolling down to Quicksilver Question Web Module Teacher’s Guide, or click this link to directly download the PDF: Quicksilver Question Lesson Plans.

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