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Air Today, Air Tomorrow

Take A Deep Breath (Lesson I), Start Cleaning the Air (Lesson 2), It's Never Too Late (Lesson 3)

Secondary

Description

Air Today, Air Tomorrow  is a comprehensive unit of 3 lessons on air quality. Students can become enlightened about the many aspects and issues surrounding air quality as they complete the various exercises.

In Lesson 1, "Take a Deep Breath" students are sensitized to the importance of indoor air quality by examining many aspects of air pollution. Students are first asked to indicate how they feel about clean air rights and responsibilities in response to an air pollution demonstration. Students are then asked for definitions of smog, allergens and other phenomena. Then there is an activity on interpreting EPA air quality reports. Following that, students are asked to form 4 groups and develop presentations on either ozone, particle pollution, CO2 and SO2.

 In Lesson 2, "Start Cleaning the Air", students are sensitized to invisible and deadly air pollution through a brief case study and quick write. Then they are asked to embark on a community clean air action and information dissemination program . To fulfill their action project, students are asked to collect funds in their school to enable them to purchase radon testing equipment to distribute among the community. 

In Lesson 3, "It's Never Too Late", students are asked to devise ways that companies and government can act together to improve air quality. Students are asked to break into groups and answer the following questions: What are some of the things being done to control the amount of pollutants that enter the atmosphere? Are there career opportunities available to create better standards for air quality in the future?

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Taught are the skills and knowledge to analyze indoor air quality issues as well as the ability to organize a campaign to support the purchase of air quality monitoring equipment.

Strengths

  • This resource offers a locally focused action experience
  • It provides a strong interdisciplinary and experiential  learning opportunity for students to put air quality issues into past, present and future contexts
  • A well structured evaluation chart is provided for teachers; objectives are clearly stated
  • It builds knowledge through the three lessons and thoroughly covers air quality issues.

Weaknesses

  • The teacher may have difficulty implementing the multiple activities in Lesson I due to time constraints and lack of overview of the multiple activities
  • While there are many cues to assist the teacher, there is no outside support
  • A personal affinity with the Earth is not discussed.

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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (2)

    • Air Pollution
    • Ozone Depletion
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Very Good
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory

In the early activities of Lesson I using a demonstration, there is an attempt to have students to consider their positions vis a vis clean air.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

Lesson 2 within the unit attempts to sensitize students to the air quality needs of seniors and families.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

The role of the atmosphere as part of the earth's life support system is made clear.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

There is some appeal to affective domains through a demo. and various questions. Most activities address cognitive domains. There are no accommodations for students with learning difficulties. 

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

Although the unit uses mostly simulations, lesson 2 , "Start Cleaning the Air" provides an authentic experience for raising monies to help protect the indoor air quality.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

It is explicitly said to students that they will be graded for their cooperative role in the group in addition to their individual work.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

Opportunities are provided for groups to choose program content. There is not much opportunity to choose the medium to work or to go deeper into a chosen issue.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.