Start Cleaning the Air

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson will provide a forum for the learners to actively participate in a project that will allow them to become stewards of and advocates for the environment.

PrintTwo Forty-Five Minute Class Period
The learner will:
  • participate in a campaign to inform and assist others about the importance of air quality and the effects on their health
  • collect funds needed to purchase air quality testing devices or secure an agency that provides and distributes air quality testing for seniors citizens or low-income families
  • Poster size or individual copies of the Assessment Rubric
  • Half sheets of paper for Quick Writes
  • Tape to post Quick Writes
  • Half sheets of paper for voting
  • Internet access
  • Telephone directories
  • Lists of agencies that assist individuals, both senior citizens and low-income families
  • Plan for collecting money to purchase radon or other air quality detection devices


  1. Anticipatory Set: Teacher Note:Tell the students the following story, or a similar example of your own. The story contained is true as I received the information from my father who retold it from his own experience. “It was in the early 1940s in Detroit. People were making their journey from the south and other locations in the United States to take part in the growing automobile industry. Many found residences in what were known as rooming houses. In one particular dwelling, five people rented a particular room at different times including one family with an infant daughter. All five that lived in the room met their demise. All of the other victims were older so their deaths did not prompt much public reaction or many questions. No one began to truly investigate the cause of death of the individuals until a young couple and their infant passed away. They were discovered the next morning by the landlady who couldn't believe that they too had succumbed overnight. Further probing led to discovery of the faint odor of gas in the room. Investigators did not understand why the smell of gas was so prevalent in the room and not anywhere else in the house. The investigation was taken outside to see how this could be. When they climbed the roof, investigators checked the area around the chimney. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. A closer look revealed that several bricks from the inside of the chimney had fallen in causing the flue to become shut.” Had there not been an infant, and the young couple taken as victims, who could say how many more individuals would have lost their lives before the cause was discovered.

    Day One:

  2. Ask the learners to do a Quick Write explaining how they think that this incident is related to air quality?
  3. Allow learners to post their Quick Writes.
  4. Select a few of the Quick Writes to read aloud.
  5. Ask learners if they are familiar with air quality gauges such as a radon or carbon monoxide detector.
  6. Explain that Radon is a naturally occurring gas that is an odorless, colorless and tasteless.It is produced when uranium found in sub surface rock, soil and water breaks down to form the radon.Carbon Monoxide is also an odorless and colorless gas produced when fuels like wood, gas, and charcoal are burned. Ask how it would benefit someone to have a detector in their home.
  7. Note their responses on chart paper.
  8. Explain that money resources are needed to provide these detection devices to others in the community.
  9. Ask learners to brainstorm ways to get donations or to earn money through service, and purchase detection devices.Post information on a sheet of chart paper entitled RESOURCES.
  10. Ask learners to reassemble in their groups from Lesson One, Take a Deep Breath.
  11. At the front of the room or in a central spot post three (3) sheets of chart paper with the following headings: GROUP; LOCATION; IMPORTANCE OF TESTING THE QUALITY
  12. Tell learners that they need to create a forum to enlighten individuals about air quality.They will use the information that has been collected to determine locally if the group selected should be senior citizens or families in needor both.
  13. Explain that a paper vote will be taken at the end of the class period to determine which group will benefit from the service-learning project.Additionally, they will be asked to explain the reason why they voted for a particular group.
  14. Allow a minimum of three minutes at the end of the class period to tally the votes.Post the group that was selected.
  15. Arrange for learners to set up in areas of the school on specific days to collect donations, or to provide a community service for pledges to support their project.They should display information about the project as well as the general information about the group that they have chosen to help.
  16. Teacher’s Note: Be sure to get permission from the proper school authorities to collect money on school grounds, or do a service project, using the criteria for such activities from guidelines set forth by your school or local district.

    Day Two:

  17. Using the donations collected; purchase the detection devices to distribute to the group chosen.
  18. Teacher’s Note:Obtain permission from your principal prior to leaving the building or interacting with any group as well as parents or guardians of the students involved, using the criteria for such activities from guidelines set forth by your school or local district.Caution learners that providing too much personal information about oneself is inappropriate.

  19. Arrange to have the devices distributed.These devices should be donated to an agency that will distribute the devices.
  20. Ask the learners to write a Self-Reflection entry in a journal or on a piece of paper noting the following items:
The teacher will subjectively assess the overall group interaction.
Cross Curriculum 
The Academic Service-Learning component used in this lesson will be that of informing seniors citizens and low-income families about the importance of monitoring the air supply in their homes on a regular basis.Learners will develop a plan to collect funds and purchase air quality detection devices to place in the homes of senior citizens families in need.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Set a fund-raising goal and identify sources of private funds.