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Breathing clean air is a privilege Canadians often take for granted. Many areas of the world are plagued by chronic air pollution which has immediate impacts on human health and long term effects on the environment. It is imperative that all global citizens be concerned about this issue, as air pollution is a primary cause of climate change. This collection of lessons uses an interactive approach to advance the message that we can alter the future of our planet with positive changes in our daily habits. The hands-on activities provide a comprehensive learning experience in which students will:
Visualize air pollution with a science experiment
Conduct a local traffic survey
Promote air pollution awareness through games
Advocate for community change through letter writing
Identify and communicate action strategies to reduce carbon emissions at home and school
Does not include any assessment strategies
Instructions for the “Clean Air Top Trumps” activity are difficult to follow unless students are familiar with the game “Top Trumps”
This resource supports science and social studies curriculum outcomes related to human impacts on the environment, fossil fuel consumption and human health concerns associated with polluted air. There is also an emphasis on developing citizenship skills such as evidence gathering and the lessons encourage informed personal stewardship goals to reduce energy use at home and school.
The activities could extend into a school action project that promotes healthy living while reducing carbon emissions on a local level. A class could organize a campaign that encourages students, teachers and other school staff to walk or bike to school. Participants in this “green” initiative could be supported in the school community by recognizing their efforts at events such as school assemblies. Students might also develop a community awareness campaign to motivate commuters to use public transport or car pool to travel to work.
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||Good|
Students are able to investigate and explore to develop understanding about how air pollution affects the environment. This facilitates differentiation between facts and opinion and supports recognition of different viewpoints.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
Carbon emissions and particulate matter in the air are know to contribute to global warming. This resource also considers the long term contributions of air pollution to ecosystem changes and in causing human diseases like lung cancer. There is a connection between immediate short-term impacts and prolonged cumulative effects.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
This resource recognizes that the global issue of carbon emissions cannot be resolved entirely through regulation and policy. There must also be a citizen based approach to addressing this problem and the lessons encourage community stewardship.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
There are several opportunities for students to extend the lessons beyond the classroom to affect change at the community level. The traffic survey can be used to communicate improved travel strategies such as using alternative transportation. The letter writing activity can become concrete by actually sending letters to local municipal officials. There is also an emphasis on public awareness and communication within the school.
|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
Students are able to independently explore information and identify their personal carbon emission reduction goals.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Students will become more aware of the impacts of air pollution on respiratory illnesses in children on a global scale. They will recognize that many of these deaths are preventable and are often connected to poverty in developing countries.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
This resource investigates the global issue of air pollution by investigating data at a community level. A teacher could also include Canadian energy use information related to our lifestyle like the need for winter heating and our preference for vehicles such as SUV's that burn large amounts of fossil fuels.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The resource presents current information about air quality and climate change and supports a positive vision for the future through youth engagement and action.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
The teacher's role is to support rather than direct student discussions and reflection. This strategy ensures there are many opportunities for self discovery which facilitates active student involvement in the learning process.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This resource uses a multi-disciplinary learning approach. Science skills are used to conduct the “Pollution Solution” experiment and identify human impacts on climate change. Mathematics tasks include tallying traffic and preparing graphs and charts. English Language Arts content involves letter writing, oral and written communication and analyzing information. Visual Arts activities have students designing an air pollution mask and creating a sketch of a clean city of the future. There is also significant learning about public health and pollution impacts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
A guided questioning process is used to provide a framework for learning, but students are able to expand beyond the original questions to validate their opinions and increase awareness of the issues related to air pollution.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Although there are no specific strategies for differentiation the hands-on approach will appeal to a wide variety of learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Exploration with hands-on activities such as the school traffic survey supports evidence based learning and provide a meaningful experience that motivates action.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
No formal assessment strategies are included with the resource but worksheets are provided as formative assessment tools.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Students are able to evaluate traffic patterns at the school and use this information to define community strategies for reducing carbon emissions.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|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.|