Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#2823. Air Pollution

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Mar 4 20:01:00 PST 2003 by Laura Coxford (
University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, B.C., Canada
Materials Required: seeds (eg. sweet pea, sunflower, nasturtium), potting soil, paper/styrofoam cups, markers, blackboar
Activity Time: 40 mins.
Concepts Taught: causes and effects of air pollution, how to reduce air pollution

Lesson Plan

Subject: Science
Unit Title: Weather and Atmosphere
Lesson Title: Air Pollution
Grade Level: 5
Time req'd: 40 min
IRP: Life Science

Curric. Organizer: B.C's Living Resources

Specific Objective(s): It is expected that students will:
- identify the causes and effects of air pollution
- draw conclusions concerning personal methods of reducing air pollution
- demonstrate an understanding of planting seeds

- various seeds (eg. sunflowers, nasturtiums, sweet peas)
- potting soil
- paper/Styrofoam cups
- markers
- whiteboard pen
- whiteboard
- handouts

Air pollution is a growing problem today. This lesson is designed to teach student about this problem, its effects on our environment and solutions on how we can combat this problem together.

1.Explain to the students that today they will be learning about air pollution.
2.Ask students if they can tell you what they think air pollution is.Write this definition on the board (see last page for proper definition)3.With the class, identify the major causes and effects of air pollution and discuss personal methods of reducing air pollution.Write these on the board.
4.With this information, the class should hypothesize the effects air pollution has on plants, as well as animals.
5.Call students up by rows, give each student a cup and tell them to put a small hole in the bottom of the cup with a pen or pencil, to allow the soil to drain. Ask the students to write their names on the cups.
6.Ask the student to come to the table where the soil is and fill their cup up with soil.
7.Give each student some seeds and explain to them how to plant: with a finger, make a hole in the dirt about the depth of their fingernail. Place a seed or tow in the hole, add some water and cover the seeds gently with dirt.
8.Ask the class to place their cup on the windowsill with a paper towel underneath.
9.Ask the students to clean up.Hand out the Observation Table sheets.
10.Explain to the students that for the next two weeks they will be recording the growth of their plants on their observation sheet.
11.Ask the students to put their sheets in their science duo tangs.

Discussion Questions:
What is the importance of planting seeds?
What do plants give us?
How does pollution harm plants and animals?

Management Suggestions/Helpful Hints: Depending on the floor area of the classroom, it would be a good idea to have a broom or vacuum handy, as well as plenty of paper towels.

With this lesson, you could also tie in graphing of the growth of the plant.

Air Pollution Information for the Teacher

Air pollution is a toxic contaminant or Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) that is released in the air. All over the world oil and coal are burned to run factories and machinery. The burning of these fuels creates by-products, such as smoke and invisible irritants, which contaminate our atmosphere. The combined effect of air pollution seriously damages the environment and can cause health problems to humans.

Air Pollution Sources:
Vehicles, gas stations, forestry, chemical industry, mills, smoke etc.

Air Pollution Effects:
The effects of air pollution are a major threat to our health. Pollution can cause illnesses such as lung diseases, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

The air pollution has serious effects on our environment. Contaminant particles, which are released into the air through factories, power plants and cars, combine with water particles in the atmosphere and fall to the earth in the form of rain or snow (acid rain).
When acid rain falls into bodies of water that contain living organisms, those living organisms are threatened through contamination.

Why plant vegetation? Leaves give off oxygen during photosynthesis and absorb carbon dioxide.


Education Information. (1994). Air Pollution. In AskERIC lesson plan. [On-line].

Victor, E., & Kellough, R.D. (2000). Science of the elementary and middle school. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


My Plant's Name_______________________________________

I planted my seed on ________________________________. When my seed has developed into a plant, I am going to transplant it (location of where you will transplant it and why you chose this spot)________________________________________________



Record of My Plant's Growth
DAY Observation Measurement