Monday: Introduction to Arsenic and Data

In Small Doses

Lecture: The Problem with Arsenic
Bruce Stanton, Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine

Study: Effectiveness of table top water pitcher filters to remove arsenic from drinking water

Lab/Field Activity

  • Collecting data in the field — water quality monitoring
  • Collecting data in the lab — lettuce seed bioassays
  • Organizing data — field vs. experimental data

Data Literacy Activity

Tuva is a data literacy solutions company that makes it easy to visualize, explore, filter, interpret, and make sense of data in different ways, and to calculate basic summary statistics, and annotate graphs with arrows, movable reference lines, notes, and other highlighting tools. 

Technology Tutorial

Project teachers will learn how to use Tuva in conjunction with arsenic data collected on Anecdata, a free online citizen science platform. Teachers will gain confidence and capability to teach their students to manage, interpret, and communicate environmental health data in the context of a citizen science project. 

As students and teachers collect well water data, it will be uploaded on the arsenic data portal on Tuva. Links to data literacy resources are available on the Tuva Arsenic Data landing page. Data from the 2015-2017 EPA All About Arsenic project is housed on Tuva as well.

The Sampling Process: 

  1. Everything you’ll need to collect a sample can be found under the tab “Project Management” including: 
    1. Materials list
    2. Parent letter and permission slip
    3. Sample registration explanation and data sheet
    4. Sample collection protocol
    5. Sample tracking
    6. Checking results protocol
  2. When you receive your results, direct families to the “Sampler Resources” tab, which includes: 
    1.  Frequently Asked Questions about arsenic in drinking water
    2. Sample collection information
    3. Financial assistance options for treatment

Tuesday: Arsenic and Toxicity

Lecture: Arsenic Toxicity 
Juyoung Shim, Ph.D., MDI Biological Laboratory

King of Poisons: The Social History of Arsenic

Lab/Field Activity:

Biological Science: Daphnia Bioassays

  • LD-50
  • Counting heartbeats
  • Serial dilutions

Physical Science: Groundwater Models

  • Pollution in groundwater model
  • Filtering contaminants out of your drinking water
  • Build your own filter with a variety of materials. How effective are they at removing large vs. small particles?

Data Literacy:

How data is organized in a spreadsheet makes a difference in how students will be able to visualize it in Tuva and what kinds of questions their graphs can help answer. 

Technology Tutorial:

Anecdata is an online community for citizen science that anyone can use to start a project and collect and share citizen science data. Data from projects on Anecdata are available for participants and everyone else to explore and download.


Wednesday: Communicating and Analyzing Data

Lecture: Communicating Data
Gabrielle Hillyer, University of Maine

Lab/Field Activity:

Duckweed bioassay (Assessing Toxic Risk). How can water contamination be remediated? How does heavy metal contamination affect plant growth?

Data Literacy: 

How do you think your way through data analysis? Now that you have a table of data, what do you do? Whether you have data you collected yourself, or accessed from an online archive, your first task is to turn an array of numbers into a visually meaningful form of evidence — usually a graph. A graph displays the data as evidence to support a claim or an answer to the question that you are investigating. 

Thursday: Arsenic and Public Health

Lecture: The Maine CDC and Arsenic
Andy Smith, Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Lab/Field Activity:

Arsenic and human health

  • The dose makes the poison: Fill three identical beakers with the same amount of water. Add different amounts of food coloring to visualize different doses. Talk about how arsenic is detected and treated. Discuss arsenic in food and arsenic in water, as well as chronic vs. acute arsenic poisoning. 
  • Size matters:  Using one large beaker and one small beaker, add the same amount of food coloring to each to visualize the effect of water contamination on adults vs. children. Introduce symptoms of arsenic poisoning and the different human systems involved. What’s the difference between arsenite and arsenate? 

Data Literacy:

Putting it all together. Analyzing the arsenic dataset. Common questions, analyses, and graphs. 

Lab/Field Activity:

After collecting well water data for arsenic analysis and learning how to analyze and communicate their findings, students will plan a community meeting to inform their communities about the importance of testing well water. They will present their data and analyses, provide information about local resources, and explain why arsenic in drinking water is such an important issue. The community meeting can take many forms. Check out the case studies page for some inspiration or use the resources available on the community meeting page to find out what kind of information to share, who to involve, and what resources are available. 

Friday: Putting It All Together

Friday: Putting it All Together

Lab/Field Activity:

How safe is your water? Analyzing water with arsenic in it using an arsenic test kit.