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Air Quality Lesson Plans

Today, Earth and its inhabitants are living with, and suffering from, the effects of decisions and choices that were made in past decades and as recently as yesterday. The results of bad choices that affect the environment are the same whether they were made out of greed and indifference or simply a lack of knowledge and understanding. Good air quality is necessary for the health and well-being of humans and Earth's ecosystems. It's important to understand how the toxic substances that are released into the air affect the entire environment. Air knows no boundaries, so poor air quality is a global issue. Pollutants in the air impact the health of people, as well as animals and nature. Acid rain, indoor air pollution, outdoor air pollution, including carbon emissions are serious forms of pollution that cannot be ignored.

Who is going to rescue Earth and its inhabitants? Earth's future is in the hands of today’s young people. They need to be equipped with the tools to undo some of the damage that has been inflicted on the environment by previous generations. For instance, it is vital that they go into their adult business and leadership roles with the knowledge and understanding of the effect that each of their individual or collective actions will have on the world around them. With this background, they can make decisions that are economically sound while protecting the environment for today’s populations and generations to come.

To help equip the leaders of tomorrow for their jobs, teachers can never have too many resources. Lessons plans for teaching environmental topics, including air quality, are available online from non-profit organizations as well as federal, state and local governments. Look to the following list for comprehensive lesson plans on air quality.

  • Atmospheric Science Explorers: Module covering atmosphere, climate, "greenhouse effect," global climate change and ozone.
  • Air Quality & Transportation Curriculum: Lots of lesson plans for K-12.
  • Project Air: Warm-up exercises, activities and reading materials—all part of Project Air. Can be downloaded individually or in one single PDF.
  • Air Quality Lesson Plans: K-12 lessons plans--downloadable air quality lessons.
  • Environmental Sciences: Include lots of K-12 air quality, like acid rain, air pollution, ozone and lots more.
  • Clean Air: Lessons for K-12 for teaching about topics like how plants clean air, engine pollution and six infamous pollutants.
  • Meteorology: Comprehensive look at meteorology from Project Air Canada.
  • Indoor Air Quality: A list of 21 lesson plans on indoor environment to choose from.
  • Indoor Air: Lesson plan called, "Indoor Air: What's the Matter?"
  • Acid Rain & Air: Lesson plan on acid rain from the National Park Service.
  • Acid Rain: Acid rain lesson plan incorporating the scientific method.
  • Global Air Quality: Lesson 1 of POV's Borders: Environment about air quality.
  • Air for Teachers: Including vehicle exhaust, "dusting the air" and "inversion in a cup."
  • Air Pressure: Lesson that is part of NOAA's online school for weather called "JetStream."
  • Trees & Oxygen: Lesson plan about trees and the oxygen cycle.
  • Tox Town: Resources for teaching about the environment, including air and on this page carbon dioxide with five cool interactive--city, farm, port, town and US-Mexico border.
  • Lichens & Air Quality: Lesson plan (grades 6-8) about how lichens work as air quality indicators.
  • Carbon Monoxide: Lesson for study of carbon monoxide and population density.
  • Ozone: The Ozone Hole Tour for teaching about the history, current state and science of the ozone problem.
  • Temperature Inversion: Lesson to teach about what happens when a temperature inversion traps pollutants in the air.
  • Taking Our Temperature: Mother Earth is the patient. How is she doing? Includes lessons about pollution, ozone and temperature.
  • Introduction to Air Quality: Air quality curriculum (grades 6-12) with lessons on topics like air pollution, transportation, indoor air pollutions open burning.
  • Indoor & Outdoor Air Pollution: About air pollution--indoor, outdoor, health effects and prevention.
  • Clean Air: Lesson about how air pollution affects health, includes lead in the air.
  • A "Cool" Place to Live: Lesson plan for teaching about the "greenhouse" effect.
  • No Impact: Lesson plan on environmentally friendly transportation for grades 6-12.

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