The  Air Quality module, “Will the air be clean enough to breathe?” consists of six activities to be implemented over approximately six 45-minute class periods. The module uses real-world data and computer-based models to help students explore the factors that contribute to poor air quality events, such as smog. By the end of the module, students will be able to predict the effect of human development on a region’s air quality.

Below describes an overview of the sequence of activities:


Activity 1: Constructing an Argument: Air Quality

Students will learn how to create a good scientific argument in the context of air quality science. They will learn to develop scientific arguments through a series of questions that   ask them to make a claim, explain their answer, rate their certainty with their answer, and explain that rating.

Activity 2: Measuring Air Quality

Students explore the air quality index and factors that contribute to poor air quality events.

Activity 3: Movement of Pollutants

Students use interactive computational models to explore how pollutants move throughout the atmosphere.

Activity 4: Visible and Invisible Pollutants

Students explore data about the sources and consequences of different types of pollutant emissions.

Activity 5: Pollutants Making More Pollutants

Students use interactive computational models to explore how primary pollutant emissions interact with environmental components to form secondary pollutants. Students also examine how secondary pollutants impact the environment and human health.

Activity 6: Preventing Bad Air Days

Students use interactive computational models to explore how atmospheric structure and conditions affect the severity of a pollution event. Students examine some methods of reducing emissions from pollution sources.


Accessing the Module

1.  Go to for the interactive Teacher Edition of the Air Quality module and other teacher resources. You will need to have a teacher account to access the teacher materials. Registration is free.

2.  Set up a class on the Concord Consortium Learn portal ( Assign the Air Quality module.

3.  Have your students register for student accounts on the Learn portal. Students will join your class with the “class word” you selected. 

4.  Use the embedded teaching tips and discussion tips in the Teacher Edition to help facilitate your students’ investigations in the Air Quality module.


Informal Assessment

The Air Quality module includes pre- and post-assessments. Use these to assess your students’ understanding of air quality science. In addition, you can use the real-time Class Dashboard to track students’ progress through the module and give students feedback on their responses. 

Use the embedded argumentation items to assess your students’ understanding of topics in air quality science. Rubrics are available to registered teachers at


  Funded by the National Science Foundation

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-0929774 and DRL-1220756. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.