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Lesson #1 of Air Quality Unit

Database Provider




3rd, 4th, 5th


English Language Arts


45 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides, PDF, YouTube Video


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Introduction to Air Quality (Air Quality #1)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Apr 24, 2024
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This lesson introduces students to air quality. 

Step 1 - Inquire: Using a KWL chart, students brainstorm what they know about air quality and what they want to learn. 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students read Why Is Coco Orange?, a story about a chameleon and how his skin changes color depending on the air quality. 

Step 3 - Inspire: Students complete a journal entry based on the lesson.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Journaling is great for students to reflect and explore how they feel about air pollution.
  • Why Is Coco Orange? is a great book for students to build empathy for those with underlying health conditions.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It may be best to split students who read the book and students who watch the read aloud video. Perhaps these two groups can use two separate spaces if possible.
  • Students will use these journals throughout this entire unit. Students could create new journals or use journals that they use all year or for different subjects.
  • "Air pollution" is kind of a catchall term, referring to things like ozone, particulate matter, and even greenhouse gases. This can be tricky for elementary students to sort out. The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn that breathing in the pollutant ozone is harmful to their health.


  • You can have students complete the KWL chart in groups instead of a whole class. One student can act as the scribe while the group discusses.
  • You can assign students to read the book or watch the read aloud video, depending on their strengths and weaknesses.
  • You can provide sentence stems for weaker students when they are journaling. For example, if they select option #1 - written reflection - you can provide them with the following sentence stems:
    • Today I learned that...
    • I am thinking...
    • I am feeling...
Scientist Notes

The lesson introduces to students to basic knowledge on air quality and how it is interpreted using the AQI. This lesson is void of any scientific misconceptions. Thus, it is recommended for classroom use.


Primary Standards

  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3 Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3 Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.3 Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Supporting Standard

  • National Health Education Standards
    • Standard 1: Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
      • 1.5.3 Describe ways in which safe and healthy school and community environments can promote personal health.
Air Quality Unit Lesson Plans


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