A Fast Cleanup

6, 7, 8

The purpose of the lesson is to provide the learners with opportunities for further exploration into the causes and effects of pollutants on air quality.

PrintTwo 45 Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • explore the Air Quality Index.
  • recognize the Air Quality Index pollutants and their harm.
  • present the information on the Air Quality Index in a useable form.
  • projector or Smart Board
  • chart paper and markers
  • projected or individual copies of (Handout Four) Introducing the Facts - Group Presentations
  • student copies of (Handout One) Sources for the Pollutants
  • student copies of (Handout Three) It’s All Relevant for teacher to score learners
  • Access to Internet to view the EPA or Air Now Air Quality Index report (See Bibliographical References). If Internet is not available in class, print out student copies in advance.


  1. Anticipatory Set: As learners enter the classroom, distribute the Quick Write sheets entitled, Have Your Feelings About the Air Around You Changed – Why? (See Handout Two) As has been done previously, allow students to post their individual Quick Writes. Read a few to provide learners with an idea of what their classmates think.

  2. Ask learners to tell how the Public Service Announcements affected them. Ask: If you had the opportunity to re-do your PSA, would you change anything? If so, in what way?

  3. List the responses and display.

  4. Explain that they will have an opportunity to investigate air quality a little further.

  5. Arrange learners into groups of five or six members. Ask the learners to count off sequentially from one (1) to six (6) until everyone has a number. Once finished, ask all of the ones (1) to group together; continue to do so until all groups have been assembled.

  6. Explain the purpose of grouping is to work together to develop a presentation of information that can be used to heighten awareness about air quality.

  7. Display the Air Quality Index--either directly from the EPA website or print out the document and project it or give students copies. Preview the introduction to help students understand how to read the chart. https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi

  8. Assign groups to read one of four topics located on the web site https://www.epa.gov/air-trends – Ozone, Particle Pollution, Carbon Dioxide or Sulfur Dioxide. Additionally, explain that information from Sources for the Pollutants (See Handout One) should be incorporated into their presentation.

  9. Explain that each group will be responsible for presenting their findings to the entire class using the transparencies and markers. Explain to the learners that this will be a cooperative learning group activity and their contributions will be graded as a group and individually from your observations. It’s All Relevant (See Handout Three) will assist you in keeping track. In the presentation they are required to name the Air Quality Index (AQI) Pollutant, discuss the final format to be used to present viable, pertinent information. Groups should select a person to act as a recorder, a time keeper, a leader who asks the questions, a set-up person to insure that all parts are placed in an organized form, (if there are six individuals there should be a monitor to verify if all are contributing), and all group members will be spokespersons for the presentation.

  10. Tell learners that the actual presentations will be made the next time that they meet. This project should be completed in this class period. Monitor each group consistently to keep them on task. Collect the presentation materials and transparencies for group presentations on the next meeting date.

  11. Day Two

  12. As learners enter the classroom, direct them to designated areas for grouping. Tell them that they are to assemble within their groups to rehearse and ready themselves for presenting to the class. Allow about five minutes for preparation.

  13. Explain that notes should be taken to gain information about the contributors for Air Quality Index ratings during other group presentations.

  14. Time should be allocated for each group to deliver the information to the members of their class. No more than five minutes per group.

  15. At the close of the presentations, ask students if they can think of anything that should be done to help others understand Air Quality and its effect on everyday life. Ask, what are the implications for the world and how can we preserve the atmosphere and air quality for future generations? Record information on Chalkboard or chart paper.This could serve as an extension to the overall unit.


Using the rubric for group presentation assess learners on their group presentation on Air Quality Facts. (See Handout Four)

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Define <i>stewardship</i> as a trust of common resources held by a community for citizens.