Building Data Capacity and Health Equity in High School Classrooms

Jul. 15, 2022

Becky Ofrane

One of our goals at the City Health Dashboard is to help build data capacity so that Dashboard users can create healthier communities. While we’re usually referring to data capacity within health departments, local governments and community organizations, we’re taking this effort even further.  Based on site users and downloaders, we know there are a lot of university researchers and students making use of the Dashboard’s data and resources, which we love to see. But understanding data, health equity, and public health can (and should) start even earlier than that.

We’re excited to now provide a set of lesson plans made specifically for high school teachers to apply the Dashboard and its concepts of health equity and data in a variety of subjects spanning science, math, social studies, and even creative writing! These resources are free, and available on our site – – as well as on, a site where teachers can access all kinds of lesson plans and classroom tools.

Education - Block Quote 1

What’s included in these resources?

There’s a teacher’s guide, and two unique lesson plans that can be used individually or together, and building on each other. Both lessons have a slide deck with teacher notes, plus a teacher’s guide, student handouts, and homework.

  • Lesson 1 provides an introduction to the Dashboard through one measure of well-being that impacts daily life but is often taken for granted – broadband internet connection. Because the data on the Dashboard can be overwhelming to students at first, we wanted to start with a deep-dive into a familiar issue that they deal with every day. In this lesson, teachers will establish both the significance of broadband to health and well-being, along with the nuts and bolts of the basic format for how data is presented across the Dashboard. Once students have a strong grasp of the Dashboard’s graphics and maps related to broadband, they’ll be able to more easily interact with the other metrics on the Dashboard. This lesson takes about one 45-minute class period plus a short optional homework assignment.

Education - Map
  • In Lesson 2, students can build on what they learned in Lesson 1, working in teams to find data on specific cities in order to get a full picture of health in different cities across the U.S., research solutions, and even pitch their ideas to their classmates. This lesson is very interactive and student-led, and it’s almost like being mayor for a day. This lesson is set up as two 45-minute class periods plus a short optional homework assignment.

Education - Block Quote 2

Each lesson has been mapped to curriculum standards for both Common Core and AP Human Geography, and those details are in the Teacher’s Guide. These materials were developed, tested and reviewed by teachers in classrooms across the U.S., and can be easily modified, and leveled up or down as needed. We hope you enjoy using these lessons and the City Health Dashboard in your classroom. Feel free to reach out to us if you need help getting started, or with questions, suggestions for future lessons, or any feedback.

Start here to download the materials and watch an intro video. And register for our October 27th Virtual Office Hours where we'll help you get started. 

Lastly, a huge thank you to our curriculum developer and partner Jody Hoff, and our pilot classroom teachers:

Emily Berman – Alexandria, VA

Leslie Evans-Boxer – Boise, ID

Bethany Little – Jersey City, NJ

Taryn Martinez – Long Island City, NY

Aaron Moring-D’Angier – Chicago, IL

Erin Parke – St. Petersburg, FL

Alison Ward – Boise, ID

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