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K–12 Outreach

SOT encourages its members to engage in outreach to kids and pre-college students to help increase knowledge and awareness of the field of toxicology. From visiting schools and delivering presentations to working booths at science fairs and expositions around the country, engage in K–12 outreach activities individually or by connecting with your SOT Regional Chapter. You also can complete online Volunteer Form, and we'll connect you with opportunities.

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K-12 Toxicology Resource Collection

The SOT K-12 Subcommittee under the auspices of the Education Committee is collecting materials for toxicologists to use while engaging in outreach to students across grade levels and in various types of formal and informal science education settings. The goal is to collect materials that provide a menu of resource materials of different types (career presentations, experiments, classroom activities, case studies, demonstrations) that convey toxicology principles specific to the audience age but across the K-12 spectrum. Activities are reviewed before being accepted in the collection.

K-12 Toxicology Resource Collection

Please submit other appropriate items for the collection. These resources may be originated by the person making the submission or may be relevant work of others IF the submitter has permission to republish these (appropriate copyright releases) or can document that the materials can be freely used for noncommercial educational purposes. Reviewers check that the instructions are clear, the activities are related to toxicology and appropriate for the indicated audiences.

Review criteria

  1. Does the material contain the required information?
  2. Are there copyright issues related to the submitted material? Are the source materials appropriately cited?
  3. Does the material compliment the teaching of toxicology?
  4. Is the science presented accurately and are instructions clear?
  5. Is the activity appropriate for the age(s) indicated?
  6. For experiments using humans or animals, do the protocols meet SOT policy and IRB/IUCAC guidelines?

Resource Submission

Why Teach Toxicology?

Using examples from toxicology is a great way to enrich science learning at all grade levels. Toxicology-related subjects are frequently in the news and in our concerns. Thinking about questions such as “Is this product safe?” and “What evidence do we use to determine if an environmental hazard exists?” provides good experience in the application of the scientific process and weighing of evidence. Since toxicology is an interdisciplinary science drawing upon biochemistry, physiology, genetics, ecology, health science, mathematics, statistics and many other fields, topics in toxicology can be used in many areas of the curriculum, even in subjects such as ethics, political science and sociology. Teaching methods using toxicology can include laboratory activities, case studies, simulations, discussions, and other means of actively engaging students in learning. Even without a sophisticated toxicology vocabulary, elementary children can understand broad concepts such as the level of dose determining the effect.

Toxicology concepts and activities fit well with many of the science education standards outlined in the AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy, the National Science Education Standards, and state and local curriculum standards. Examples include science as inquiry, science as a human endeavor, the nature of scientific knowledge, life science content such as structure and function in living systems, regulation and behavior, organization in living systems, unifying concepts and processes such as change, equilibrium, models and explanations, understanding about science and technology in society, personal health, changes in environments, natural hazards, risks and benefits, natural and human-induced hazards.

How to Present Toxicology to a K–12 Audience

To assist you with translating your science to a K–12 level, SOT has produced some tips and resources:

For additional assistance, reference one of these sites:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: The Senior Scientists and Engineers is an organization of scientists, engineers, educators, physicians, and other professionals who volunteer their services to support the needs of government, education, and the community. The more than one million STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals over age 60 in the US are excellent sources of partnership and expertise for K–12 teachers and students.
  • Biological Sciences Curriculum Study: The Scientists in Science Education booklet is a comprehensive guide with background on the need for science education report, detailed descriptions of various roles scientists can play, a variety of way to impact education, and recommendations for assessment.
  • Connect a Million Minds: The Connectory lists science, technology, engineering, and math opportunities by area for volunteers and for kids, and events can be added to the list.
  • The National Academies: Resources for Involving Scientists in the Classroom has tips for deciding how to work in the schools-with students, teachers, supporting systemic reform, developing instructional materials as well as advice, and resource lists.
  • National Science Foundation: National Lab Day: Advice for Volunteers has tips for effective scientist interaction in school classrooms.