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Toxins Project

Resources for teachers leading the Toxins Project

Case study


Flint, Michigan Water Crisis

Feature Interview

"Erin Brokovitch Explains the Flint Water Crisis." The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. January 29, 2016.

Inquiry Journal Prompt

  • Write something that surprised you or was new to you.
  • Write something that you knew about. Tell how you knew.
  • List ideas that you want to know more about.

News Article

Barry-Jester, Anna Maria. "What Went Wrong in Flint." Graphics by Richard King and Ella Koeze. FiveThirtyEight, Janurary 26, 2016.

Investigative Journalism

"Poisoned Water." NOVA. PBS. May 31, 2017.

Report from The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international nonprofit environmental organization

Olsen, Eric and K.P. Fedinick. "What's in Your Water? Flint and Beyond." Report, NRDC, June 2018.

EdPuzzle for NOVA Video

Class Activity - Levers of Power (Facing History handout)

1. What change did the individuals want to make?

2. What strategies were used to make this change happen?

3. Which powerful people or organizations ("levers of power") did individuals attempt to influence? How?

4. Which strategies led to the most success? Which failed?

5. Describe a strategy used by the following "levers of power":

  • Government (National, State, Local)
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Industry/Commercial Organizations
  • Journalists/Professional Media
  • Social Media
  • Schools & Education
  • Influential Individuals (authors, lecturers, celebrities, etc.)

Feature News Article - Dr. Mona, Local Hero

Caroll, Nicole. "Lead was poisoning the water in Flint, Mich. Dr. Mona Hannah-Attisha put her reputation on the line to prove it." Women of the Century. USA Today, August 27, 2020.

News Article - Flint Water Crisis Settlement 2020

Gray, Kathleen. "Most of $600 Million in Flint Water Crisis Will Go to Children." NYTimes, August 20, 2020.

Monitoring a topic over time

Inquiry Journal Prompt

  • Write something that surprised you or was new to you.
  • What ideas were interesting to you? 

Opinion Pieces on Flint, Michigan Water Crisis 

Questions to consider

  • What is the main idea?
  • What facts are presented to support this idea?
  • What’s the perspective of the journalist? Political leaning of the publication?
  • How does the journalist’s perspective influence the ideas expressed in the article?
  • How would this article help you understand the issue? What else would you like to know?