Suggested Materials

Topic Search

Input

Found an error? Have a suggestion? Looking to connect?LinkedIn Profile

Email me or visit my LinkedIn profile.

Sponsor

 

Air Pollution

The passage and amendment of the Clean Air act had a tremendous impact on air quality in the United States. A set of criteria pollutants were identified, and legal limits were set. Although these pollutants continue to exist in our air, they generally present at lower levels. This unit explores each of the criteria pollutants, their physical properties, health effects, environmental effects, what their major producers are, and what can be done to reduce the levels of each.


Air Pollution Powerpoint

View Lecture
Air Pollution lecture Powerpoint.

Purpose: This lecture begins with two case studies: the Donora fluoride fog disaster, and the great London Smog of 1952. These incidents are used to illustrate the dire health and environmental effects of air pollution when it is unregulated. The rest of the lecture centers around the passage of the Clean Air Act and its subsequent amendments. The specific pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, that are controlled by this act are reviewed. Students will learn the primary sources of each pollutant and what steps have been taken to reduce the emissions of each. A student notes outline is also available for this lecture.

Essential Concepts: Air pollution, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates, ozone, lead, vocs, volatile organic compounds, criteria air pollutants, clean air act, emissions, point source, nonpoint source, primary pollutant, secondary pollutant, dispersion, air quality, acid precipitation, temperature inversion, ozone layer, CFCs, Montreal Protocol.


Air Pollution Notes Outline

View Worksheet
Air Pollution student notes outline.

Purpose: Taking efficient notes can be a big challenge for many students, especially when working from a Powerpoint lecture. This outline gives students a means to take notes that guides them toward important concepts and avoids the pitfalls of writing word-for-word or simply not taking notes at all. The outline is written as a series of questions, fill-in-the-blanks, or diagrams. This outline is based on the Powerpoint lecture written specifically for this unit.

Essential Concepts: Air pollution, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates, ozone, lead, vocs, volatile organic compounds, criteria air pollutants, clean air act, emissions, point source, nonpoint source, primary pollutant, secondary pollutant, dispersion, air quality, acid precipitation, temperature inversion, ozone layer, CFCs, Montreal Protocol.


Reading Assignment: The Donora Fluoride Fog

View Worksheet
Donora Fluoride Fog Reading Assignment and Worksheet

Purpose: In the days leading up to Halloween in 1948, a pocket of cold air settled into the city of Donora, Pennsylvania. This created a thermal inversion that trapped emissions from the steel and zinc plants over a period of four days. This disaster helped to trigger a public movement demanding air quality standards. This eventually lead to the Clean Air Act of 1970.

This assignment uses a chapter from the book When Smoke Ran Like Water by Devra Davis to take students back to Donora during 1948 to understand what happened, why it happened, and how they responded.

Essential Concepts: Air pollution, temperature inversion, coal, toxicity.


Acid Rain and pH Visualization Lab

View Worksheet
Acid Rain and pH lab.

Purpose: This lab seeks to give students a more concrete understanding of the pH scale and how it applied to acid precipitation. Most students are familiar with the concept of the pH scale, and understand how to read it. However, few appreciate the exponential nature of the scale. For example, an acid of pH 4.0 is ten times stronger than an acid of pH 5.0. Students will perform a titration of eight simulated rainwater samples with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to get a more concrete sense of how much stronger of an acid different pH levels are.

Essential Concepts: Acid rain, pH, acid precipitation, rainwater, air pollution, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, nitric oxide, nitric acid.


Webquest: State of the Air

View Worksheet
State of the Air webquest.

Purpose: State of the Air is a website published by the American Lung Association. Each county within a state is assigned a letter grade based on levels of ground ozone and particulate pollution. In this activity, students will create a color-coded map of their state based on the information given by this website.

Essential Concepts: Air quality, air pollution, ground-level ozone, particulates.


EPA AirData Activity - Finding the Biggest Polluters

View Worksheet
Air Pollution EPA database webquest.

Purpose: The EPA AirData website allows the public to access air quality measurements taken by the EPA in every county in the United States. This is a great resource to provide a local context for the unit. Students will access the data specific for their county and determine the biggest polluters for each of the criteria pollutants as defined by the Clean Air Act.

Essential Concepts: Clean Air Act, criteria pollutants, primary pollutants, secondary pollutants, ozone, ammonia, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulates, nitrogen oxides, lead, EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, environmental laws, air quality.


Air Pollution Study Guide

View Worksheet
Download Microsoft Word Document

Purpose: Once the instruction for the unit is completed, students can complete this study guide to aid in their preparation for a written test. The study guide is divided into two sections: vocabulary and short answer questions. The vocabulary is taken directly form the lecture, sequentially. The short answer questions are meant to model the type they may see on the exam. This study guide is sequentually based on the Powerpoint lecture from this unit

Essential Concepts: Air pollution, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates, ozone, lead, vocs, volatile organic compounds, criteria air pollutants, clean air act, emissions, point source, nonpoint source, primary pollutant, secondary pollutant, dispersion, air quality, acid precipitation, temperature inversion, ozone layer, CFCs, Montreal Protocol.


Download free Dreamweaver templates at JustDreamweaver.com