Project Overview
Language Arts Unit 1
Language Arts Unit 2
Science Unit
Social Studies Unit 1
Social Studies Unit 2


Unit Introduction

1. Global Warming

2. Air Quality

3. Post Assessment

4. Additional Resources
Optional Extensions


Lesson #2: Air Quality

Air Quality is the unifying theme in this section.  When the students are finished they should be able to describe the sources, types, and effects of air pollution, and be able to explain how air pollution contributes to acid rain.

The main ideas need to know include:
Pollution accumulates in the air
Air pollution is changing the Earth’s biosphere.

Vocabulary should include but is not limited to:
Acid rain
Green house affect
Global warming

Fossil fuel emissions affect the biosphere.

These are the skills the students should be able to do:
use of graphic organizers, such as a fish bone and or cause and effect
science labs write up
metric measurements
create graphs

In any one of your District’s biology or environmental science textbooks find the unit/section on Ecology.  Look specifically for the chapters that deal with the human impact on ecosystem.

The books that I referenced for this unit were:
Glencoe’s Biology: The Dynamics of Life
AGS’s (American Guidance Service, Inc.) Biology Cycles of Life
McDougal Littell’s Biology  
Prentice Hall’s Environmental Science:  The Way the World Works
Addison-Wesley’s Environmental Science:  Ecology and Human Impact
AGS’s (American Guidance Service, Inc.) Environmental Science   

Consult these web sites for this lesson:

graphic organizers:

note taking:

writing up a science lab: up_science_lab_reports.htm

Pre-Assessment to determine prior knowledge:

Once again, preassess students’ knowledge via a class discussion and listen for responses that reflect advanced knowledge or thinking.  This will help you identify those students where by the advanced content differentiations may apply.

Engage students in a discussion of pollution problems that students have heard about.  What pollution problems have you heard about?  Can you identify the pollutant and its affect on people and other organisms?  Ask, in general, why is pollution a problem for Earth?  Discuss what steps are being taken to solve the problems students have discussed.  Continue asking probing and clarifying questions until student responses indicate little knowledge or previous experiences.

Instructional plan:

1. Discuss the following question:

As human population continues to increase and use more fossil fuels, why might acid rain become a bigger problem?

How might global warming affect seasonal temperature changes? 

2. Diagramming(all students)
Students will use a graphic organizer known as the fishbone to sort out all the pressures and effects that have an impact on air quality.  The head of the ‘fish’ would be air quality, with the ‘bones’ coming from the central backbone being smog/ozone, acid rain, and greenhouse effect.  Students may also want a separate ‘bone’ for global warming.  Attached to each of these contributing factors would be the attributes or effects of each.
Students will create cause and effect diagrams for acid rain, smog, and global warming.  Diagrams should include chemical reactions and the elements and energy sources that are involved.
Integrating Physics: 

(Integrating physics is a means to challenge the advanced learners; therefore the following activities would be completed by those students for whom advanced content is appropriate.)

The type of surface that sunlight first encounters is an important factor in the greenhouse effect.  Forests, ocean surfaces, grasslands, ice caps, cities, and deserts all reflect sunlight to different degrees.  For example, a white glacier strongly reflects sunlight, resulting in very little heating of the surface.  Dark desert soil and concrete strongly absorb sunlight, resulting in high surface temperatures, as anyone who has walked across a parking lot on a hot day knows.

Note to Teachers: Be sure to address the greenhouse and global warming misconception.  The common misconception is that the green house effect and global warming are the same.  The greenhouse effect is essential for keeping the atmosphere warm enough for living things to survive.  This is the natural greenhouse effect.  Human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels, can enhance the natural greenhouse effect by causing a general warming trend that is called global warming.

Hands on Activity (Lab): (appropriate for gifted students)

To demonstrate the greenhouse effect, have students work in pairs to make greenhouse models.  Provide each pair with a clear-plastic 2-liter bottle with its cape on and its bottom cut out, two thermometers, cellophane tape, and graph paper.  Tell students to punch a small hole near the top of the bottom and insert the thermometer into the hole, bulb end first.  Have them use tape to secure the thermometer in place so that it can be easily read.  Have students record the temperature on both thermometers before placing the bottle in a sunny area.  Tell students to place the second thermometer near the bottle, but not to allow its bulb to be hit by direct sunlight.  Have students record both thermometers temperature readings every five minutes for half an hour.  Then have students graph their data and write conclusions. 

Students should find that in the sunlight, the temperatures in the greenhouse bottle were higher than those of the other thermometer.

Rubric for Experiment Report:
Each applicable item is checked separately, with one point awarded for each correct time.  A sum from 0 to 5 may be calculated for each scale.

Quality of the Date


     - Consistent data


     - Accurate measurements/observations


     -Completed data table


     -Correct units


     -Qualitative description




     -Curve is appropriate to data trend


     -Points plotted accurately


     -Appropriate scale (units included)


     -Axes labeled with correct variables


     -Has an appropriate title




    - Calculated accurately


     -Substituted correctly into relationship


     -Relationship stated or implied


     -Units used correctly


     Used all data available


Forms a Conclusion from Experiment


     -Consistent with scientific principle


     -Sources of error


     -Consistent with date


     -Relationship among variable stated


     -Variable stated in conclusion


This rubric was found at this web site:


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