It's Our Air - 3-2 Introduction to Solutions and Home Energy Choices

PERSONAL CHOICES AT HOME TO PREVENT AIR POLLUTION ACTIVITY

Students explore how personal choices related to energy usage can reduce air pollution and save money. They calculate the emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides due to the use of electricity and natural gas by a homeowner, then evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies to reduce those emissions, including changing behavior and increasing efficiency through home renovations and/or new energy-efficient appliances.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

What choices can I make that will prevent air pollution?
Are personal actions necessary and/or suf cient to help solve environmental problems related to air pollution?

TIME NEEDED: This activity will take about one block period (90 minutes) for AP and Honors earth science classes (assuming they do Part A as homework the night before). For academic earth science classes, doing Parts A-D in class will take about two block periods (180 minutes).

MATERIALS:

MATERIALS LIST

MATERIALS LIST

 Video: Energy Choices (included)
Calculators
Sample electric bill (included)
Sample natural gas bill (included)
Home energy use data (included)
Calculators
Worksheets (included)

TOPICS: combustion’s relationship to air pollution, air pollution regulations, air pollution reduction strategies, electricity generation, energy efficiency

TYPES: critical thinking, data analysis

NC ESSENTIAL STANDARDS for Earth/Environmental Science:

EEn.2.5.5 Explain how human activities affect air quality.
CE.PFL.1 Analyze the concepts and factors that enable individuals to make informed financial decisions for effective resource planning.

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

INTRODUCTION TO SOLUTIONS & HOME ENERGY CHOICES VIDEO

This video Introduces the three major strategies for finding solutions to air pollution: personal choices, regulation, and technology. It briefly reviews how electricity is generated and the history of how our energy is produced in North Carolina. Then it focuses on how our personal home energy choices and the impact they can have on air pollution, focusing on improving energy efficiency and using less energy.

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


HOME ENERGY CHOICES - 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.


 

BACK TO CURRICULUM PAGE

OTHER MODULE 3 (AIR POLLUTION PROBLEMS & SOLUTIONS) ACTIVITIES AND VIDEOS

3-1 Scientific Literacy and Air Quality

3-2 Introduction to Solutions & Home Energy Choices (this activity)

3-3 Driving Choices & Calculating Car Emissions

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

3-5 Research and Action