It's Our Air - 2-1 What's an Air Quality Index?

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:
What is an air quality index (AQI)?
Where can I find air quality forecasts and measured concentrations of pollutants?
What are some seasonal patterns for ozone and particulate matter in my community?

TIME NEEDED:
5-10 minutes a day for one week for Part A, prior to doing Parts B and C
One block period or two traditional periods for reviewing Part A and doing Parts B and C

MATERIALS:

MATERIALS LIST

MATERIALS LIST

AQI charts for projection (included)
Daily newspaper and/or internet connection
Archived records of ozone and pm
Worksheets (included)
Video 2-3: Forecasting Air Quality (optional)

TOPICS: air pollution (local), air pollution (North Carolina), ozone (ground-level), particle pollution (or particulate matter), parts per million, parts per billion, Air Quality Index

TYPES: critical thinking, data collection, data analysis

NC ESSENTIAL STANDARDS for Earth/Environmental Science:

EEn.2.5 Understand the structure of and processes within our atmosphere.
EEn.2.5.1 Summarize the structure and composition of our atmosphere.
EEn.2.5.5 Explain how human activities affect air quality.

If you are only doing this activity, and not the others in Module 2, you may want to show the 2-3 Forecasting Air Quality Video to your students after they do this activity.

WHAT'S AN AIR QUALITY INDEX? ACTIVITY

In this activity, 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.


WHAT IS AN AIR QUALITY INDEX? - TEACHER TO TEACHER TIPS

The quick video below has tips for doing this activity from Mark Townley, an award-winning, North Carolina high school teacher. Mark helped develop It’s Our Air and has used each of these activities with his students.


 

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OTHER MODULE 2 (PREDICTING AIR POLLUTION) ACTIVITIES AND VIDEO

2-1 What's an Air Quality Index (this activity)

2-2 Making a Simple Predictive Model for Ground-Level Ozone

2-3 Forecasting Air Quality