IOA Activity Groupings

Teacher to Teacher 1-1

How long does It’s Our Air take? You decide!

It’s Our Air can be used in a variety of ways depending on how much time you have available and what topics you want to cover. We’ve come up with the following suggested groupings, but feel free to design your own as well.

  • Entire curriculum takes about four weeks.
  • Groupings take anywhere from three days to three weeks (based on block periods).
  • Time-based groupings cover basics of air quality and air pollution in North Carolina in one week, two weeks, or three weeks.
  • Time-based groupings for for both Earth Science and AP Environmental.
  • Topic-based groupings focus on specific themes: ozone, particulate matter, literacy, creativity, data analysis, meteorology, vehicles, choices at home, etc. Most take 3-4 days.
  • Many activities can be used to flip the classroom, having students watch the videos the night before.
  • All groupings allow you to cover topics efficiently, making the most of classroom time.

Time-Based Groupings

Time-Based Groupings for EARTH SCIENCE

One Week for Earth Science

Air pollution and air quality in North Carolina

In one week of block periods, you can introduce your students to the six criteria (or common) air pollutants, with a focus on ozone and particulate matter, which are air pollutants of particular concern in North Carolina. Students will create comic books, posters, ozone indicator strips, and particulate matter collectors in this set of hands-on activities.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-1 (Parts 1 & 2): What is Air?
Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 2 Video 1-2: Combustion
Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 4 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Start Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Start Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Start Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter
Day 5 Finish Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Finish Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Finish Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter

Two Weeks for Earth Science

Exploring air pollution, North Carolina air quality, and ways to improve air quality

This two-week grouping touches on all the major topics, with some opportunity for data analysis. This grouping incorporates the Community Air Quality Project (3-5), but turns it into an in-class writing assignment to save time.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Week 1

Day 1 Video 1-1 (Parts 1 & 2): What is Air?
Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 2 Video 1-2: Combustion
Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 4 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Start Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Start Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Start Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter
Day 5 Finish Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Finish Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Finish Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter

Week 2

Day 1 Do parts B and C of Activity 2-1 : What’s an Air Quality Index?
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Day 2 Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality
Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Day 3 Video 3-2: Introduction to Energy Solutions/Energy Choices
Do parts A and C of Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution
Day 4 Video 3-3: Driving Choices and Air Pollution
Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Day 5 Modify Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project as an in-class writing assignment (What is the biggest problem with NC air? What could we do individually or together to improve it?)

 

Three Weeks for Earth Science

Air pollution, North Carolina air quality, and ways to improve air quality

Three weeks of block periods allows you to cover most of the curriculum, giving your students an in-depth look at air quality and air pollution in North Carolina. Students will learn about ways human activities impact the atmosphere and how air pollution affects our health through a variety of hands-on and data-rich activities.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Week 1

Day 1 Video 1-1 (Parts 1 & 2): What is Air?
Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 2 Video 1-2: Combustion
Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 4 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Start Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Start Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Start Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter
Day 5 Finish Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Finish Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Finish Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter

Week 2

Day 1 Do parts B and C of Activity 2-1 : What’s an Air Quality Index?
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Day 2 Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality
Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Day 3 Video 3-2: Introduction to Energy Solutions/Energy Choices
Do parts A and C of Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution
Day 4 Video 3-2: Introduction to Energy Solutions/Energy Choices
Start Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Pollution
Day 5 Finish Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Pollution

Week 3

Day 1 Video 3-3: Driving Choices and Air Pollution
Start Activity 3-3 : Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Day 2 Finish Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Start Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project
Day 3 Work on Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project
Day 4 Work on Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project
Day 5 Finish Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project

 

 

Time-Based Groupings for AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

One Week for AP Environmental Science

Exploring air pollution, North Carolina air quality, and air quality regulation

This one-week grouping quickly covers information about ozone, particulate matter and the other criteria pollutants, allowing time for activity 3-4 on the Clean Air Act, which students will need to know for the AP exam. Note: this grouping includes homework assignments.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Before Day 1 Homework: Watch Video 1-1 (Parts 1&2): What is Air?
Do Layers of the Atmosphere worksheet from Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 1 Video 1-2 Combustion
Activity 1-2: Combustion Equations Start Activity 1-4: Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Homework: Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and work on comics
Day 2 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Homework: Read articles for Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Day 4 Finish Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Start Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Day 5 Finish Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Video 3-4: North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act

 

Two Weeks for AP Environmental Science

Exploring air pollution, North Carolina air quality, and ways to improve air quality

This two-week grouping covers major topics related to air pollution, with a North Carolina focus, and includes opportunities for data analysis. Compared to the two week grouping for Earth Science, it focuses on topics that students will need to know for the AP exam, including the Clean Air Act. Note: this grouping includes a homework assignment.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Week 1

Day 1 Video 1-1 (Parts 1 & 2): What is Air?
Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 2 Video 1-2: Combustion
Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 4 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Start Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Start Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Start Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter
Day 5 Finish Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Finish Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Finish Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter

Week 2

Day 1 Do parts B and C of Activity 2-1 : What’s an Air Quality Index?
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Day 2 Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality
Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Homework: Video 3-2: Introduction to Energy Solutions/Energy Choices
Day 3 Do parts A and C of Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution
Video 3-3: Driving Choices and Air Pollution
Start Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Day 4 Finish Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions(skipping part C if time is short)
Start Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Day 5 Finish Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Video 3-4: North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act

 

Three Weeks for AP Environmental Science

Air pollution, North Carolina air quality, and ways to improve air quality

This grouping covers almost the entire curriculum, including opportunities for data analysis, modeling, and forecasting. It covers topics students will need to know for the AP exam, including the Clean Air Act. Note: this grouping includes a homework assignment.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Week 1

Day 1 Video 1-1 (Parts 1 & 2): What is Air?
Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 2 Video 1-2: Combustion
Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 4 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Start Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Start Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Start Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter
Day 5 Finish Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Finish Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Finish Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter

Week 2

Day 1 Do parts B and C of Activity 2-1 : What’s an Air Quality Index?
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Day 2 Activity 2-2: Making a Simple Predictive Model for Ground-Level Ozone
Homework: Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality and assign article for Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Day 3 Activity 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Day 4 Video 3-2: Introduction to Energy Solutions/Energy Choices
Start Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Pollution
Day 5 Finish Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Pollution

Week 3

Day 1 Video 3-3: Driving Choices and Air Pollution
Activity 3-3 : Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Day 2 Start Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Day 3 Finish Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Video 3-4: North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act
Day 4 Start Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project
Day 5 Finish Activity 3-5: Research and Action: Community Air Quality Project
(Optional: If you want more time for the project, skip activity 2-2.)

 

 

Groupings by Topic

Air Quality Basics

In this grouping, students learn the basics about air pollution and air quality, including sources of air pollution in the United States and North Carolina, how to read an Air Quality Index, seasonal patterns of ozone pollution and particulate matter, and ways to save energy—and prevent air pollution—through the choices we make at home.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 2 Activity 2-1: What’s an Air Quality Index?
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Day 3 Video 3-2: Introduction to Solutions/Energy Choices
Start Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution
Day 4 Finish Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution

 

Ground-Level Ozone

Ground-level ozone is a significant air pollutant in North Carolina. Through a mix of hands-on, data-based, and creative activities, students will learn how ground-level ozone is formed and what kinds of health problems it can cause. They will make ozone indicators and hang them around campus. Along the way, they’ll learn about the six criteria (or common) air pollutants (Video 1-4), the layers of the atmosphere, and the difference between ground-level ozone pollution (bad) and stratospheric ozone (good). Note: this grouping includes a homework assignment.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Before Day 1 Homework: Layers of the Atmosphere worksheet from Activity 1-1: What is Air?
Day 1 Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 2 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone Start Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Day 3 Finish Activity 1-6: Making and Using Ozone Indicators
Activity 2-2: Making a Simple Predictive Model for Ground-Level Ozone
Day 4 Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality
Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollutionr

 

Particulate Matter

In addition to ground-level ozone pollution, particulate matter has been one of the two main pollutants of concern in North Carolina in recent years. This grouping introduces students to particulate matter, including its sources and health problems it can cause. Students will make particle collectors, set them out around campus, and examine them to see what they’ve found. They’ll also learn about how the Air Quality Index is used to communicate about air pollution.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 2 Do parts B and C of Activity 2-1: What’s an Air Quality Index?
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Day 3 Start Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter (set out collectors)
Start Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution (read articles related to particle pollution)
Day 4 Finish Activity 1-7: Sampling Particulate Matter
Finish Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality

 

North Carolina Air Quality Focus

Air pollution sources and air quality forecasting can vary from state to state. These activities and videos focus on air quality and air pollution in North Carolina, including sources of air pollution in the state and your local county, forecasting air quality in Charlotte, the different types of fuel used to generate electricity in the state, and North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks legislation. Students will use this knowledge as they explore choices they can make in their own lives to reduce air pollution (Activities 3-2 and 3-3).

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 2 Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Activity 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Start Parts A and B of Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution
Day 3 Finish parts A and B of Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution
Start Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Day 4 Finish Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions
Video 3-4: North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act

 

Vehicles: Problems and Solutions

This grouping builds on the passion many students have for cars. Students will learn why vehicle exhaust is a major source of air pollution in North Carolina and what choices they can make to help reduce air pollution. They’ll learn about federal car emission standards as well as how to calculate the air pollution emissions created at the electric power plant when charging an all-electric car.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-2: Combustion
Activity 1-2: Combustion Equations
Day 2 Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Activity 2-2: Making a Simple Predictive Mode for Ground-Level Ozone
Day 3 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 4 Video 3-3: Driving Choices and Air Pollution
Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions

 

Choices at Home

This grouping makes it personal. Students will learn how their activities at home rely on energy and how that energy use contributes to air pollution. They’ll calculate air pollution emissions for various energy uses and learn about some of the choices they can make to reduce that air pollution.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-2: Combustion
Activity 1-2: Combustion Equations
Start Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 2 Finish Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 3 Video 3-2: Introduction to Solutions/Energy Choices
Activity 3-2: Personal Choices at Home to Prevent Air Pollution

 

Meteorology

Meteorology forms the foundation for understanding many aspects of air pollution, air quality, and air quality forecasting. To deepen your students’ understanding of air quality, try having them keep a weather log for one week prior to teaching this grouping (See itsourair.org/weatherlog for information on how to do a weather log). Students can spend a few minutes of class each day recording data such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, precipitation, cloud cover, and the Air Quality Index (forecast and previous). Building on that knowledge, these activities will reinforce meteorology content while teaching about air quality. After reviewing the basic properties of air in Activity 1-1, students will analyze data and maps in Activities 2-1 and 2-3.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-1: (Parts 1 & 2): What Is Air?
Activity 1-1: What Is Air?
Day 2 Activity 2-1: What’s an Air Quality Index?
Day 3 Activity 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality

 

Intro to Chemistry

These three activities emphasize fundamental concepts in chemistry, including molecular formulas; simple chemical equations; and the interactions among pressure, temperature, and volume.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-1: (Parts 1 & 2): What Is Air?
Activity 1-1: What Is Air?
Day 2 Video 1-2: Combustion
Activity 1-2: Combustion Equations

 

Data Analysis and Modeling

In this grouping, students will get a chance to try their hand at data analysis and modeling. They’ll use data to identify seasonal patterns of air pollution, create a simple predictive model for ozone, and (utilizing given maps and data) make an air-quality forecast for Charlotte NC. Data analysis and modeling are how scientists understand the world, so these activities are a marvelous opportunity for students to understand the scientific process at a deeper level. These skills are required for many careers related to the environment, meteorology, and science in general.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Activity 2-1: What’s an Air Quality Index?
Day 2 Activity 2-2: Making a Simple Predictive Model for Ground-Level Ozone
Day 3 Activity 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality

 

Creativity and Design Focus

These activities may appeal to students who have an artistic inclination or are visual learners. In Activity 1-4, students will create comic books. In part C of Driving Choices (Activity 3-3), they will come up with a slogan or logo and create a bumper sticker. Some of these activities could be vertically aligned with career/tech courses, such as graphic design, drafting, or art.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Start Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act (have students make poster or design campaign instead of writing paper)
Day 2 Finish Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act (have students make poster or design campaign instead of writing paper)
Start Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 3 Work on Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Day 4 Finish Activity 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants and a Closer Look at Ozone
Video 3-3: Driving Choices and Air Pollution
Do part C of Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions

 

Policy

This grouping is geared toward AP Environmental Science students to help them prepare for the policy content they’ll need to know for AP exam. It focuses on the Clean Air Act, EPA criteria pollutants and their sources, and federal car emission standards.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-4: The Criteria Pollutants
Start Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Day 2 Finish Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Video 3-4: North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act
Day 3 Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality
Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Activity 1-5 Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 4 Do parts B and C of Activity 2-1: What’s an Air Quality Index?
Do parts A and B of Activity 3-3: Driving Choices: Calculating Car Emissions

 

Literacy Focus

This grouping may appeal to English teachers or science teachers who want to emphasize reading and writing while exposing students to scientific topics. These activities allow students to learn through writing about air pollution, health problems caused by air pollution, and air quality legislation. They’ll also have a chance to read and evaluate some articles about science and one or more scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Students can practice the scientific literacy skill of making and interpreting graphs with these activities as well. Knowing how to read and write about scientific topics is an important skill for many careers.

Note: 1 day = 1 block period = approx. 90 minutes;

Day 1 Video 1-5: Air Pollution in North Carolina
Activity 1-5: Local Sources of Air Pollution
Day 2 Video 3-1: Scientific Research and Air Quality
Activity 3-1: Scientific Literacy: Health Problems and Air Pollution
Day 3 Start Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Day 4 Finish Activity 3-4: The Clean Air Act
Video 3-4: North Carolina Clean Smokestacks Act