Resources for Focus on Risk Activity 4 – Risk Assessment: Tools of the Trade

When attempting to determine the degree of risk associated with an event, experts rely on a variety of tools of the trade to generate a risk estimate. In this activity, students will learn about the applications of some of these tools, interpret information generated from using different tools, and understand how the information obtained can be used to set priorities and make decisions.

This is one of 11 activities that can be found in PLT’s Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Risk. To get the activity, attend a training and receive PLT’s Focus on Risk secondary module. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 


Download the copyright-free student pages that are included with this activity:

Table of Tools (PDF)

Fault Tree for Car Failing to Start (PDF)

What's Going On??? (PDF)

A Second Look at Saccharin (PDF)

Examples of Risk Assessment Tools (PDF)


The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Teaching About Controversial Topics in Science

    This series in NSTA Reports is based on the NSTA Press book Thinking Scientifically About Controversial Issues: Clones, Cats, and Chemicals. The book examines 10 dilemmas from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, technology, and mathematics to help challenge students to confront scientific and social problems that offer few black-and-white solutions. It provides the facts and the framework to provoke classroom debates.

  • National Insect & Disease Risk and Hazard Map

    The Forest Health Monitoring Program and Forest Health Protection of the U.S. Forest Service has completed the 2013-2027 National Insect & Disease Risk and Hazard Map (2012 NIDRM). This interactive online mapping tool allows users to view hazards in specific areas, by specific pests. The NIDRM is a nationwide strategic assessment and database of the potential hazard for tree mortality due to major forest insects and diseases. The goal of the NIDRM is to summarize landscape-level patterns of potential insect and disease activity.

  • RadTown USA

    EPA’s Radiation Protection Program has launched the RadTown USA website, created to allow middle and high school students to explore radiation- where it is found and how it is used- in four different environments. The website also has Common Core supported content, including the history of radiation protection, ways to reduce exposure risk, careers in radiation protection, and the benefits of radiation.