Is U.S. Air Pollution Getting Better or Worse – How and Why?

In this project, students will be assigned one of 4 regions of the United States – Northeast, South, Midwest, or West. Within each regional group, every student will be assigned one of 5 criteria pollutants (lead is excluded, in part because airborne lead has been well controlled for several decades now, but also because the history of lead pollution is used as a project launch). The project begins with each student being tasked to become an “expert” in his/her pollutant (Task 1).

Once each group has an expert for each pollutant, the group moves to the second stage of the project – to create an “Air Quality Measure” that is based upon the five criteria pollutants (Task 2). No formula is offered – the groups are free to construct this formula in a way that seems right to them based on the expert knowledge of the pollutants in each group. This task culminates with the groups generating a data set for this new air quality measure, based on the actual pollutant data from EPA.

Author:  Bill Worley

View the lesson below. You can download supporting documents here.

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