Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"L'endosulfan" 985FM looks at News on Pesticides


Here's a link:

How can a student combine his or her knowledge of French with the study of science? A program such as the one above gives a good example. Students can use their languages to study various science topics. The above example speaks about a pesticide that affects the human nervous system. Students could read about that topic in their native languages or listen to radio or television programs. Then, students could return to class and share (in the common classroom language) what they have learned. Such discussions can improve science knowledge, build vocabulary and increase understanding of our global connectedness, the unity and diversity of life, and sustainability. Thus, a radio program on a current science topic can be a part of increasing science literacy.

Let's look at, " les polluants organiques persistants (POPs)," or, "Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)." (, Accessed 10-17-2010). What are persistent organic pollutants? Do your students know? Do they matter to them? Do they have anything to do with sustainability? How is the nervous system involved? Where can the students start?

One student has read the Canadian's post at and brings the topic to class. Other students wonder about the topic. Students in the class speak English, Haitian Creole, French, Korean, Arabic, Spanish and a few other languages, among them Farsi, and Urdu. Can they read about this topic in their own languages? Let's see what we can find. Remind them that journal articles in a new-to-them field will have a lot of words they do not yet understand and they shouldn't worry about all the, "new," words (Source: Reach Reading^TM, J S Shipman).

One student looks for information in Spanish: "pesticidas orgánicos persistentes." The Spanish version of Wiki says,"Un Contaminante orgánico persistente (COPs) conocidos internacionalmente por sus siglas en inglés, POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) son un conjunto de compuestos orgánicos fabricado artificialmente por el hombre muy toxicos, que tiene un tiempo de persistencia en el ambiente muy largo. Al ser un compuesto artificial, las bacterias y demás organismos no pueden descomponerlo y degradarlos fácilmente. Muchos tienen efectos acumulativos, ya que se almacenan en los tejidos grasos fijándose en la cadena alimenticia y pueden tener efecto hormonales.," (Source ; Accessed October 20,2010) The Wiki post refers to the food chain, a topic frequently in the learning standards required for the class. This point comes out in the classroom discussion. A result is that the students start to understand that there is relevance to the material studied at school and the, "real world."

Another student decides to look for Spanish journal articles, with real laboratory reports that are peer-refereed by scientists in the authors' field, and finds this web site along the way:, an ecology website. Let's see what is discovered in the journal search, however, and explore the ecology site another day. Here's the information the student found on the site and brought in.

Boletín de la Sociedad Chilena de Química

versión impresa ISSN 0366-1644

Bol. Soc. Chil. Quím. v.46 n.2 Concepción jun. 2001

doi: 10.4067/S0366-16442001000200008



1Unidad de Sistemas Acuáticos, Centro de Ciencias Ambientales EULA-CHILE,
Universidad de Concepción. Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile.
2Departamento de Biología Ambiental, Universidad de Siena, Via delle Cerchia 3,
Siena, 53100, Italia.
(Recibido: Septiembre 10, 1999 - Aceptado: Enero 19, 2001)
*A quien debe dirigirse la correspondencia e-mail:

If we want to have global sustainability, we have to ensure the students and their families understand the topics. An exercise such as this, listening and reading on the topic in native language, then sharing in the classroom language, can help bring the needed knowledge, such as the information on, "POPS," to them. Happy listening and happy reading! Remember to encourage students: Solutions, peaceful ones, do exist to global problems, like pesticide pollution with POPS. One or many of them, even all of them, may provide the answers.

(c) 2010 J S Shipman