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Classroom Activities and Printable Activity Sheets

Fall 2011 Air Pollution

Supplemental Activities for the Classroom

Earth's Air Cycle
Go to DEC's "Teaching About Air Pollution" web page to find a variety of activities to help students better understand air pollution. Among them is a PDF of pages 4 and 5 of this issue of Conservationist for Kids, "Earth's Air Cycle," restyled as a small poster. In addition, a version of the poster is available with selected words replaced with fill-in-the-blank lines for in-class review.

Understanding the AQI
At the AIR NOW website, the U.S. EPA has lesson plans for teachers of grades K-8 to help their students better understand the AQI, ozone, and particle pollution.

Erosion of Statuary
Look on page 6 of this issue of C4K for the two photos of the same figure, taken in 1908 and 1968. After reading and talking about the caption, take a walk in a local cemetery to look for similar signs of deterioration among the statuary. Consider what factors might affect the amount of deterioration (e.g., age, type of stone, amount of acid rain, acidity).

Dust in the Rain?
Collect rainwater during a rainstorm by leaving a clean wide-mouthed jar out in an open area where rain can fall into it directly (i.e. don't put it under a downspout). Alternately, if there is a new blanket of snow, collect some fresh snow in a jar and allow the snow to melt indoors. In both cases, pour the water through a coffee filter. What remains on the filter? It's the dust (particulate matter) that was in the air and was carried to the Earth's surface by the rain and snow.

Share a Story

  • Dr. Seuss's classic The Lorax introduces the idea of stewardship and personal responsibility. The animated version, released in 1972 and narrated by Eddie Albert, is lively and engaging.
  • In The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up, Miss Frizzle's students travel though the diesel engine of a school bus and learn how particulate matter is filtered out. Along the way, they learn about air pollution and end by installing a filter on their bus.
  • EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI) is explained in Why is Coco Orange?, a story that discusses not only air monitoring, but also the effect of poor air quality on human health. The story will be especially relevant for classrooms with students affected by asthma.

This Issue's "Outside Page"

Both activities on the Outside Page (page 8) of this issue of Conservationist for Kids relate to monitoring outdoor air pollution, allowing us to make informed decisions when planning outdoor activities. Understanding that there are things in the air which can be harmful to us, including things we cannot see, opens the door to taking personal action and making changes in our behavior to limit our effects on the environment.

Teacher Supplement (pdf 76kb)