National Teacher Enhancement Project

Project Homepage


Project Homepage

Teacher Homepage

Student Homepage


Targeted for upper elementary and midlevel grades, this project provides students with opportunities to explore risks involved in daily activities. Students learn how to engage in risk analysis on a personal level and make decisions accordingly. This project fosters the development of critical-thinking skills and provides students with an opportunity to look at issues from multiple and empathetic perspectives. Teachers can integrate the unit into lessons in history, health, math, social science and/or science.

Introduction to Research:

This project promotes an age-appropriate understanding of risk/benefit trade-offs, offers a methodology for students to perform a rational analysis of emotionally-charged issues, and provides a cyber-based forum to discuss risk factors with students from diverse (e.g., geographic, social, grade level) groups. Students explore quality of life issues as part of the analysis of risk data in the decision-making process (e.g., is riding in a car worth the risk of injury/death from an accident?).

Learner Outcomes:

Students will know and be able to:

Research Questions:

Students form teams by selecting an activity of interest, for example in-line skating, walking to school or riding a bike without a helmet. They ask the following questions:


Each research team prepares three products summarizing the results of their study. The products include a risk report posted in the classroom, publication of the study on a school Website and a class presentation.


Assessment is embedded throughout the project. All student products are reviewed by the student authors, students at other sites and teachers. Student teams teleshare information with one another and prepare an online collective "comparative risk table" which ranks the activities from least to most risky. Feedback/discussion occurs between participating classrooms electronically. Students compare an issue of real-world importance studied at Sandia Laboratoary - California (the transportation and disposition of nuclear material) against the risks identified in the student-generated comparative risk table.

Authors: Bill Britton, Mohr Elementary School, Pleasanton; Diana Fong-Wedgwood, Edison Elementary School; Tim Perrotta, Cesar Chavez Middle School, and Steven Smith, Edison Elementary School.
Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.
Web Maintainer:
Last Updated: October 9, 2000