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3rd, 4th, 5th


Science, Health

Resource Types

  • Experiments
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Articles and Websites
  • Lesson Plans

Regional Focus




What's Up There Besides Air?

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  • This resource includes an observational activity and an experiment on air pollution. The experiment will allow the students to visualize the presence of air pollution in the air around them. 
  • After the experiment, students will formulate a hypothesis about where the air particulates they collected are coming from. 
Teaching Tips


  • The activity and experiment are easy to do and do not require expensive materials.
  • The experiment will help students to visualize the airborne particulates that pollute the atmosphere.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This lesson will take more than one class period.
  • Teachers will need to gather the materials for the experiment.
  • Students should have some knowledge about air pollution sources.


  • After the lesson, students could create artwork or posters that show two groups of people: one polluting the air and the other taking care of it.
  • As a group research project, students can create and administer a survey to get the opinions of their local community about the most significant contributors to air pollution. The results can be presented and discussed in class.
  • Other resources on this topic include this State of the Air report from the American Lung Association and this interactive map on air quality.

Scientist Notes
The resource presents, in detail, activities for students to understand air pollution and collect data on air pollution. This is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
      • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 3: Developing Claims and Using Evidence
      • D3.4.3-5 Use evidence to develop claims in response to compelling questions.
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