Students will be introduced to the criteria pollutants and will work in groups to make cartoon booklets demonstrating the formation of ground-level ozone and the destruction of stratospheric ozone.
Students will use real maps, images, and data to develop an ozone forecast for a particular day in Charlotte, North Carolina. They will then check their forecast against the actual ozone forecast and measurements for that day. Students should already have experience reading weather maps and forecasting weather before doing this activity.
Students will learn the sources of some common air pollutants by making pie charts showing the main sources of PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide (or nitrogen oxides) and sulfur dioxide for the United States as a whole, their state, and their county. They will generate explanations for the similarities and differences among the sources for different geographic areas.
Sudents will use ozone and weather data* to explore the relationship between ground-level ozone pollution and (1) maximum daily temperature, (2) average daily solar radiation, (3) average daily wind speed, and (4) daily precipitation. Students will make a simple predictive model based on the data.
*The data files are located here: http://itsourair.org/2-2-model-predict-ground-level-ozone
Students check for the presence and relative amounts of ozone in the air using Schoenbein strips they make with filter paper, cornstarch, and potassium iodide.
Students will understand the concept of parts per million and billion by diluting a solution of food coloring and water. They will then correlate their findings with concentrations of various gasses in the atmosphere
Students will sample particulate matter around town or campus and compare the results. They will also gather particulate matter from tailpipe emissions and compare different types of vehicles.
In this lesson, students learn about air. Through a variety of hands-on experiences presented as stations in the classroom, students will discover properties of air, including that air has volume, mass, and pressure; that it is compressible; and that it expands when heated. They will also learn about the major molecular components of our atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, argon), the four layers of our atmosphere, and that air contains water vapor. Note: The videos referenced in the lesson narrative are no longer available online, but the station activities are not dependent on the content in the video.
Students will learn where they can find the daily Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast and how to interpret it. They will also identify seasonal patterns for ozone and particulate matter in their region, and learn some of the reasons behind those patterns.