While receiving less media exposure than climate change or plastic waste, air pollution is a substantial environmental challenge of the 21st century. The World Health Organization estimates that about seven million premature deaths globally can be attributed to outdoor and household air pollution. Many education organizations and guidelines, including the NSTA and NGSS, emphasize understanding, monitoring, and mitigating human impacts on the environment as a key competency for middle school students. While science education research is still working to identify the association between environmental knowledge, attitudes, and environmentally responsible behaviors, scholarly literature suggests that increasing knowledge of environmental issues is a critical first step towards fostering environmental concern and changes to actions.
In this session, educators will learn how to implement a sequence of lessons and activities to explore air pollution sources, how polluted air impacts human health, and strategies to tackle this pressing challenge. The session will cover implementing a scientific inquiry lesson around investigating local sources of air pollution, identifying global trends using online databases, and applying concepts to a Mystery Town activity. These lessons are aligned with NGSS standards for Middle School Earth science and support a broad vision to prepare environmentally and scientifically literate citizens.
Educators who attend this presentation will explore a lesson and activity sequence, congruent with 5e and the NGSS, that introduces students to the science ideas encompassing air quality such as factors and sources of pollution, and associations with adverse human health effects.
Benjamin Janney (Texas A&M University: College Station, TX)