TitleZebrafish as a model system for environmental health studies in the grade 9-12 classroom.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsTomasiewicz, HG, Hesselbach, R, Carvan, MJohn, Goldberg, B, Berg, CA, Petering, DH
Date Published2014 Aug
KeywordsAnimal Husbandry, Animals, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Environmental Health, Environmental Pollutants, Female, Male, Models, Animal, Schools, Students, Zebrafish

Developing zebrafish embryos were used as a model system for high school students to conduct scientific investigations that reveal features of normal development and to test how different environmental toxicants impact the developmental process. The primary goal of the module was to engage students from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds, with particular focus on underserved inner-city high schools, in inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation. In addition, the module served as a platform for both teachers and students to design additional inquiry-based experiments. In this module, students spawned adult zebrafish to generate developing embryos, exposed the embryos to various toxicants, then gathered, and analyzed data obtained from control and experimental embryos. The module provided a flexible, experimental framework for students to test the effects of numerous environmental toxicants, such as ethanol, caffeine, and nicotine, on the development of a model vertebrate organism. Students also observed the effects of dose on experimental outcomes. From observations of the effects of the chemical agents on vertebrate embryos, students drew conclusions on how these chemicals could impact human development and health. Results of pre-tests and post-tests completed by participating students indicate statistically significant changes in awareness of the impact of environmental agents on fish and human beings In addition, the program's evaluator concluded that participation in the module resulted in significant changes in the attitude of students and teachers toward science in general and environmental health in particular.

Alternate JournalZebrafish
PubMed ID24941301
PubMed Central IDPMC4108934
Grant ListES0004184-24 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
R25RR026299 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States