Environmental Birth Defects Lesson

Time Frame:  2 classes


  • Given class notes, the student will be able to identify birth defects that are preventable and the causes of babies born prematurely.


  • Journal Entry: “Help me I’m Pregnant”
  • Show students how tiny a preemie baby is by weighting common household one to two pound items on a scale.


  • Computers
  • Color Printer
  • Scale

Background for Teachers

  • Multicultural Connections – Every ethnicity has different statistics on prevalence of preventable birth defects. Students will target their pamphlets to certain people groups depending on the birth defect.
  • Character Education Principle Compassion


  • Review the difference between environmental and genetic birth defects.
  • Explain the pamphlet project. Assign Partners.


  • Working in pairs Students will prepare a pamphlet advocating actions that pregnant moms can take to prevent birth defects. Students will use the pamphlet direction sheet for requirements.
  • Students will present their pamphlets to the class. The class will take notes on each presentation by filling in the birth defects chart.


  • Have students write a research paper on a preventable birth defect
  • Have a guest speaker from the March of Dimes come and speak to the class


  • What should you avoid when you’re pregnant?
  • How does alcohol affect a developing baby?
  • How can STD’s affect newborns?
  • What is the difference between genetic and environmental birth defects?


  • Birth Defects Test



  • Center for Disease control & Prevention – search for specific defect in search bar
  • March of Dimes -on the left under “your healthy pregnancy” click birth defects

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1 comment for “Environmental Birth Defects Lesson

  1. March 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    What a great resource!

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