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There's Something in the Air

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

What Is in the Air?

To focus students’ attention, ask the class, Have you ever smelled a funny or bad smell in the air? Prompt them to give examples of unusual smells they have encountered, and to mention where they noticed these odors. Help students understand that smells are caused by chemicals in air.

Follow by asking if students ever have noticed a cloud of smog on the horizon of a city. Ask, What is smog? Explain that smog is one kind of outdoor air pollution. Ask, What is pollution made of? Remind students of the dust particles they observed in the activity, "Dust Catchers." Mention that dust particles also are a form of pollution. Ask students, Is it bad for us to breathe polluted air? If so, why?


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education