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The Minamata Trial 8th Grade Science GOAL: Todetermine responsibility for Minamata disease. So Minamata disease??? Minamata disease was named for the little fishing village where an incident of pollution occurred. A factory in Minamata Minamata dumped chemical wastes into the sea So what is Minamata disease??? The methyl mercury from this waste affected the fish in the bay. Fish pump polluted water through their gills and eat contaminated plankton. The mercury has little effect on the fish, but when humans eat the contaminated fish in large quantities, it becomes a poison. So what is Minamata disease??? Minamata Food Chain Bacteria converts Mercury to Methyl Mercury Human Hg Hg Fish Shrimp Bacteria Plankton More About Minamata Disease Methyl Mercury can cause deformities and can kill those who eat it This pollution-related illness is known as Minimata Disease. More About Minamata Disease The first symptom of Minamata Disease is usually a tingling of the limbs and lips, this is followed by narrow vision. Overnight or over years, the victim develops a lack of coordination, slow and difficult speech, and mental confusion. More About Minamata Disease People become crippled or their hands become deformed. Those with severe cases become unconscious or are unable to control their movements. The methyl mercury apparently eats away at the control centers of the brain. The damage is irreversible. More About Minamata Disease Protestors at the gates of the factory accused of polluting Minamata bay. More About Minamata Disease The number of people affected by Minamata disease is estimated around 10,000 The memorial shown here is at the Minamata Disease Municipal Museum in Japan. ROLE: One of the following: Attorney Research Associate Witness Juror You will be reenacting the Minamata trial to determine who is responsible for the disease. AUDIENCE: Your job is to convince the judge (me) and the jury that your point of view is correct in the Minamata case. SITUATION In 1973, the people of Minamata took the factory responsible for polluting their bay, the Chisso Corporation, to court. They charged the corporation with causing Minamata Disease Our class will hold a trial, similar to that held in Minamata, to determine exactly who is responsible for the disease. During the trial, each of you will have a role. PRODUCT: You will actively participate in the trial, enacting your role. If you are assigned to be an attorney or a research associate, preparing for the case will be your only assignment. If you are assigned to a role other than attorney or research associate, you will have another assignment to work on. TIME LINE (for Lawyers and Researchers): Day 1: Introduction and assignment of roles and begin research Day 2: Preparation Day – meet with witnesses Day 3: Begin Trial Day 4: Conclude Trial and discussion of actual trial outcome. TIME LINE (for jurors and witnesses): Day 1: Introduction and assignment of roles, begin H.I.P.P.O. brochure project. Day 2: Meet with lawyers to prepare testimony and continue work on poster. Brochure due by end of class period. Day 3: Begin Trial Day 4: Conclude Trial (juror deliberation) and discussion of actual trial outcome.
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