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Environmental Injustice Unit – Lesson 3


Language Arts, Science, Social Studies  


6, 7, 8  

Title – Environmental Injustice Unit – Reporting the Facts, Lesson 3 – WebQuest
By – Lisa Bachman
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subjects – Science, Social Studies
Grade Level – 6-8

Reporting Environmental Injustice Unit Contents:


Each group of students will walk through the Environmental Injustice WebQuest that will provide the directions needed to complete their unit project. The WebQuest can be found at

Here is the task from the WebQuest:

You are a reporter for a local television station KCKU located in Detroit, Michigan. The news station has been recently receiving several phone calls regarding a strong, chemical odor that seems to be coming from some drainage ditches alongside a plant located in a low-income area on the south side of Detroit. Many of the families that reside within this area are complaining of the smell and are concerned as to whether this can be harmful to them as well as their children. Several angry residents have called the plant to complain of the odors that are coming out of the facility however according to them, nothing has been done.

You, as well as four of your co-workers, have been given this assigment by your boss because he is sick and tired of people calling the station and complaining about this problem. Your job is to investigate the plant and its operations, what if any toxic chemicals are being released, how it’s affecting the people in the surrounding areas, what the local government is doing to protect these people, collect images for the TV broadcast, and report your findings.

This is the process from the WebQuest:

Place students into groups of no more than four. Each student will have a specific role that they will play in completing this broadcast.

  • One student will be the cameraperson. This student will record the broadcast that will be presented in class.
  • One student will act as the onscene reporter. This student will go on scene and report what their findings are from out in the field. (Encourage students to use their family members or other friends as actors in their broadcast complaining about the plant and the odors that seem to be coming from the drainage ditches).
  • One student will be the writer of the broadcast. This person will collect the information gathered from the investigation and research and place it on cue cards for the person doing the broadcast to read from.
  • One student will need to be the anchor persondoing the broadcast. This person will oversee the story and report the findings to the public.

Each group is responsible for the following:

  • Provide a definition of what environmental injustice (racism) is.
  • How does it affect the people who live within areas that have hazardous plants and landfills.
  • What types of people does it affect?
  • Who makes the decisions on where these hazardous materials are placed?
  • Is anything being done now to assist these people living in these areas?
  • What can residents do to protect themselves?
  • Each group will be required to create a video (using a camcorder or if that is not available students can also create a powerpoint) and present their findings to their peers in class.

Students should be encouraged to assist each other with the work that needs to be completed for their broadcast. The more creative their broadcast is, the more points they will earn.


Language Arts Benchmark W.PS.08.01: Exhibit personal style and voice to enhance the written message in both narrative (e.g. personification, humor, element of surprise) and informational writing (e.g. motivational appeal, strong opinion, credible support).

Technology Benchmark:

Create a project (e.g. presentation, web page, newsletter, information brochure) using a variety of media and formats (e.g. graphs, charts, audio, graphics, video) to present content information to the audience.

Learning Resources and Materials:

  • Computer accessibility for the groups of students.
  • Pencil and paper to take notes
  • Printers in order to provide hard copies (especially for special needs students)

Development of Lesson:

  • Introduction:
    The teacher will begin the lesson by informing the students that the class will continue learning about Environmental Injustice. Students will be taken to the computer lab where they will be able to view the above link to view the WebQuest lesson. Make sure to tell students to take good notes because the WebQuest lesson provides the details they will need to complete their final project.
  • Methods/Procedures:
    Students will view the WebQuest and take notes in order to be able to complete their final project.
  • Accommodations/Adaptations:
    Provide hard copies of instructions for any student that struggles with taking notes or following directions.

E-Mail Lisa Bachman!

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