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Clean Air Projects

On The Air: More than Meets the Eye

Grade 6

Description:  Demonstrations include revealing by-products of combustion, creating smog, and observing fine, air-born particulates. Students will play a game with foam balls representing particulate matter.  Students representing cilia must block the foam balls from entering the lung. Students will observe the cilia’s ability to block different quantities and sizes of particles from reaching the lungs. Students work in teams to create PM monitoring devices to different sites around the school.  At the end of the week, students complete data sheets and a class comparison table and results from all the monitors are compared and discussed.

5 Star Rating:

Likes: I liked the demonstrations and the discussion points after. I especially liked the student handout fata sheets as they were easy to follow.

Dislikes: I would appreciate knowing what the “typical” results for the PM monitoring should look like to have an idea ahead of time.

Helpful Hints: Interesting way to show concepts though visuals and data collection.

Maybe the class Data Table could be a big chart on paper?

Glasses of water also work for PM

The petroleum jelly does work

Double sided tape on a piece of paper works as well

Missing Elements: It might be helpful to send out an all school e-mail so other students know not to touch the PM monitors or interfere with them.

Additional Comments: This lesson plan had much explanation on the preparation side was needed since I originally knew very little on the subject. Discussion points were helpful and the directions were clear.

5 Star Rating:

Likes: The activities seem fun for this age group. Love the use of a physical activity game:  This includes movement and action as learning, which goes against the traditional  values of lecture and listening skills!

  • I like that this lesson includes a week’s worth of data collection!
  • This is the only lesson plan of the four that places an emphasis on control groups vs. variables!!  

Dislikes: No real world/personal connection for students to walk away with.  How do they separate the concept of an activity/game from learned content.  For example, when asked what they did at school, will the student respond, “we played a game where I threw a ball at the girls and we won!!”?

Helpful Hints: Something that may help beef up this lesson, and also give students some exposure to tech/software programs, would be to assist them with inputting and analyzing their own data via Excel spreadsheet. This approach will not only garner some good face time with programs that are readily used in most industries, but also introduce the concept of lab reports, data analysis, and drawing/defending conclusions…all of which are required in late middle school and high school!

Missing Elements: I imagine the background info/academic context came during a prior unit/lesson.  i.e. “Why are we learning this?” 

Additional Comments: Overall I think I would use this lesson however I would modify it to give it more of a real world connection at the end.  How do students translate the activities into knowledge that makes sense to them?