New York Times offers teaching tools for noise lesson

Photo credit: Agung Pandit Wiguna

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The New York Times offers teachers free lesson planning information on its site, The Learning Network. The site offers resources, strategies and ideas for teaching. On Dec. 11, reporter Jeremy Engle wrote a lesson plan titled, “Noise Could Take Years Off Your Life. Here’s Why.” The featured article in the lesson is a related story published on June 9 of this year. Quiet Communities founder and president Jamie Banks and I were interviewed for this article, which can be accessed from the lesson plan.

I don’t know what grade level the lesson plan is aimed at, but it appears to be at least middle school and probably high school. I like the two options for student activities, either measuring sound levels in the student’s neighborhood or educating others about the dangers of noise via a meme, editorial cartoon or public service announcement. These are all great ideas.

I also think using the Times as a teaching tool is a great idea. Long before there were online resources, my sixth grade teacher at Bragaw Avenue School in Newark, New Jersey used the Times to teach us about history, current events, science, how to read a weather map, stock pages, tide tables, and in those days, even shipping reports.

I don’t know where our teacher got the idea for using the Times as a teaching tool, but I understand why we were able to buy the paper for a mere two and half cents per day: Allowing students to get the newspaper at a reduced price was a great marketing tool. I still read the Times every day, more than 60 years later.

I hope student awareness of the dangers of noise will help those of us already concerned about noise. Together, we can make the world a quieter, healthier and better place for all.

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