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This resource illustrates the relationship between air quality and human health. Students learn about air quality issues through discussions, research, and role play, connect this knowledge to their own personal health and explore solutions for improving air quality in the local and world community. Students will then develop and implement advocacy projects to reduce air pollution.
Lesson One: Clean Air- Our Health Matters
After brainstorming about the importance of clean air, students examine diagrams of parts of the respiratory system and use an interactive tool to see what happens when pollutants compromise their functions. In groups they complete an exercise dealing with common contaminants. Students then complete a learner/parent take-home activity in which they track the number of air pollution incidents, source of air, and observed health effects for family members over a 3 day period. This data is later shared with classmates. The role of government, corporations and individuals in addressing the health impacts of common air pollutants is discussed. Links to the EPA website are included in the resource.
Lesson Two: Airing Our Concerns- I Can See Clearly Now
After a teacher demo to promote discussion of possible sources of air pollution and to share prior knowledge, students respond to an air-quality research question by composing a written report. After sharing their research results with classmates the students participate in a role play to identify the rights and responsibilities of various stakeholders in an authentic air quality issue and to develop a strategy for addressing concerns. Roles include: concerned citizens, EPA rep, government official, member of the health community, factory owner and community planner.
Lesson Three: Concern and Action= Clean Air Solutions
After reading or viewing the Lorax, students are asked to make "text to world connections" concerning the environmental impacts of human activity. In groups they work through a variety of brainstorming and strategic planning activities to develop an action plan for improving air quality in their community. A final reflection is required upon the completion of the project.
This resource could be used to address outcomes dealing with environmental health in the middle level classroom and to illustrate the complex interactions between humans and their environment in science, social studies and geography courses. The resource would also be appropriate for an after school environmental or eco-club to motivate action in the local community.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
Students gather facts and information through research, identify the rights and responsibilities of various groups with regards to air quality, and discuss and brainstorm possible solutions. They then make their own conclusions about this issue.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Satisfactory|
Learners see the connection between environmental issues (poor air quality) caused by human activity and their own personal health.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The complexities of air quality issues are highlighted through the role play activity in lesson two. Students will see the difficulty in finding quick solutions as they address the concerns of the various stakeholders.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
The focus of the resource is to help students create action plans and develop service learning projects. These can include direct service, indirect service, or advocacy projects.
|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
Group discussions and personal reflections do provide opportunities for values clarification.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Empathy is fostered for those who experience breathing problems and health issues due to poor air quality.
|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||Good|
The message that the preservation and improvement of air quality helps all living things on the planet is made clear.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The home air quality survey and the final community action project bring local focus. Students are also encouraged to share their own stories involving poor air quality and resulting health issues.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The focus of the resource is to motivate students to take action to preserve air quality for present and future generations.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This is primarily a social studies/ geography resource, but it also addresses outcomes in health, science and language arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
A variety of instructional practices are used including working in groups to identify air pollutants, researching and composing a report, writing reflections, participating in role play, responding to literature, and developing plans of action. There are no specific accommodations suggested for students with learning difficulties.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The take-home exercise asking students to identify and record any signs of respiratory distress over a period of three days provides some experiential experience.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
There are some rubrics provided for evaluating the research report and answer keys are given for exercises involving identifying air pollutants.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Poor/Not considered|
The resource does not contain any specific case studies. Students are encouraged, however, to share their own personal stories involving air quality.
|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||Good|
The students can choose the research question of their choice and the development of the action plan is completely student-driven.
|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.|