Mercury in the Environment Lessons

From 2009 Workshop

Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Designed by Casey McCollough at Bellarmine College Prep

Calculations about CFLs in terms of Mercury. Lesson and Solutions

Ecosystems: Human interactions with mercury
Designed by Joan Marshall at Timberline High, Washington State

A lesson on how our personal needs and wants influence our environment in the short and long term. Lesson Plan and Dental fillings information sheet.

Mercury at the Dinner Table
Designed by Debolina Dutta at Redwood High in Larkspur

Students use a KL chart while the teacher guides student through the four steps: introduction (menu with calculations), model (slide show), coach and fade (. Students make calculations, and play a bioaccumulation game. Lesson plan, KL chart, slide show, bioaccumulation activity and cards, eating calculations and menu and key, and a quiz.

Mercury in the Environment
Designed by Ashwini Avadhani at Woodside High

A general outline of a unit on natural mercury, mining of mercury and biological effects of mercury.

Mercury in the Ecosystem
Designed by Hilary Staples at - San Domenico School

A lesson which uses mercury as a case study to learn about issues of toxicity. Uses KQED video as information source. For AP environmental science course.

Chemistry Review with Mercury as a Case Study
Designed by Laralyn Bergstedt at Lick- Winldmerding High in San Francisco

This lesson is to review basic chemistry at the begining of an advanced chemistry class. It uses problems from the workshop and hte CFL activity above. Lesson plan and Problem set.


From 2006 and 2008 Workshop


New Almaden Quicksilver Mine Virtual Field Trip
Designed by Heather Johnson Edwards at Burlingame High School

Students take a virtual field trip to the local mercury mine and learn about the process of mining and the geology of the area. First students read the introductory material. Then they go on the trip, located at

Bioaccumulation of Mercury
Designed by Jennifer Hall, Monterey Trail High Scholl in Elk Grove

In this lesson, students play a bioaccumulation game after reading and answering questions about mercury. After the game, students answer questions about their experience and how it relates to mercury and food webs.

Earth Sciences: How did Mercury Get into the Biogeochemical Cycle?
Designed by Ken Chase and Todd Space, Santa Clara High School

This lesson begins with the issue of mercury in tuna, and develops into a class project to research different aspects of mercury in the biogeochemical cycle.

Five Chemical Reactions - Classifying Mercury Reactions
Developed by Joanna Shea, Independence High School, San Jose

Students are able to write, classify and balance chemical reactions which occur during mercury mining and identify mercury-based chemical pollutants and the harmful by-products. (Video of Joanna teaching this lesson)

Mercury in the Environment
Designed by David Geller

The lesson focuses on the problem of mercury in the environment and uses it as an example of how society creates and reacts to a serious health concern.   The story of mercury has many aspects that can be expanded upon to reinforce concepts previously covered.

Mercury in Biology
Designed by Deborah Kumar

For a biology class, students learn about human effects of mercury, sources of mercury pollution, and the connection of bacteria to the mercury in the environment.   Students use graph data, read many reports, and create Winogradski columns to grow bacterial communities. Presentation covers a broad range of bioloy issues with mercury. (Slide show presentation 14MB)

Should Restaurants Serve Swordfish?
Designed by Damon True, Mid-Peninsula High School

Using the problem of mercury in swordfish, students investigate local sources of mercury at New Almaden Mine and conclude by creating a report for local restaurant owners.

Directed Discourse Approach Lessons

Chemical Bonding
Developed by Heather Mellows, Gunn High School, Palo Alto

In high school chemistry, this interactive lesson introduces students to bonding types in Unit 3.   Video of Heather teaching this lesson

Double Replacement Reactions: Forming Mercury in the Environment
Developed by Carolina Sylvestri, Palo Alto High School

In the chemistry lab, students will perform experiments to see a double replacement reaction in an aqueous solution.   Chemical properties of mercury will be discussed. (experiment worksheet 1 worksheet 2)

Mercury in the Environment - Summary Mini Unit
Developed by Carolina Sylvestri, Palo Alto High School

Beginning with a mercury sulfide extension to the Ksp of lithium carbonate lab, this mini-lesson on mercury in the environment uses the directed discourse approach.   Students learn about the health effects and implications of mercury in the environment, with a culmination or scaffolding activity to develop a mercury awareness campaign in their community.   (presentation 16MB)