It's Our Air - 3-1 Scientific Literacy and Air Quality

SCIENTIFIC LITERACY: HEALTH PROBLEMS AND AIR POLLUTION

To learn about some of the health effects of ozone and particulate matter, students will read a variety of articles and scientific papers. While doing so, they will learn how to evaluate both general-interest articles and scientific papers. They will also learn how scientists discover, document, and communicate the health effects of air pollution. This activity is differentiated for classes of different abilities.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

What are some of the ways that ozone pollution and particle pollution affect human health?
How do scientists discover ways that ozone and particle pollution affect human health?
What are some strategies for reading, understanding, and analyzing an article about science in a newspaper, magazine or peer-reviewed science journal?
How does the author of a general-interest article or scientific paper influence the credibility of the article or paper?

TIME NEEDED: 90 minutes if articles are read in class. 45 minutes if articles are assigned as homework.

MATERIALS:

WORKSHEETS

WORKSHEETS

 (INCLUDED)

VIDEO: SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND AIR QUALITY

VIDEO: SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND AIR QUALITY

(INCLUDED)

4 ARTICLES ABOUT AIR QUALITY RESEARCH

4 ARTICLES ABOUT AIR QUALITY RESEARCH

3 articles (included)
1 article (available online)

4 PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ABOUT AIR QUALITY RESEARCH

4 PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ABOUT AIR QUALITY RESEARCH

2 articles (included)
2 articles (available online)

TOPICS: air pollution research, health effects of air pollution regulations, ground-level ozone, particle pollution (or particulate matter)

TYPES: critical thinking, peer teaching, scientific literacy

NC ESSENTIAL STANDARDS for Earth/Environmental Science:

EEn.2.5.5 Explain how human activities affect air quality.
EEn.2.7.3 Explain how human activities affect the biosphere.
HS.SI.1 Evaluate resources needed to solve a given problem.

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.

DOWNLOAD VIDEO FILE

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND AIR QUALITY VIDEO

This video introduces the importance of scientific research and reading scientific information critically in understanding the effect of air pollution on human health and in setting national air quality standards. It covers the concepts of correlation, cause-and-effect, and coincidence in scientific research. It highlights various types of air quality studies (laboratory, observational, epidemiological) through interviews and video footage.

Video downloads are able to display subtitles. We recommend using VLC media player for optimal playback of subtitles.


HEALTH PROBLEMS AND AIR POLUTION - 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 3 (AIR POLLUTION PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS) ACTIVITIES AND VIDEOS

3-1 Scientific Literacy and Air Quality (this activity)

3-2 Introduction to Solutions & Home Energy Choices

3-3 Driving Choices & Calculating Car Emissions

3-4 Regulations: Clean Air Act & NC Clean Smokestacks Act

3-5 Research and Action