Air Quality Lesson for Teachers: 4 Principles of Good Air Quality
It can be challenging for science teachers to discuss the complex topic of air quality with kids. Yet, teaching about air quality is crucial—not only because it’s part of understanding the world around us, but also because it has immediate health implications for the students.
Research shows that 99% of the world’s population breathes air with high levels of pollutants that exceed the World Health Organization’s guidelines. With such unhealthy levels of air quality, scientists have found that it can stunt lung growth and function in children. Particulate Matters (PM) in the air can even harm fetuses while they’re developing in their mother’s womb.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, we’ve simplified the topic below with easy-to-understand, easy-to-explain air quality lessons for you to use in the classroom. The earlier children and teens learn about air quality, the more equipped they are with the knowledge to do their part to reduce air pollution.
How to Teach Air Quality: 4 Principles of Good Air Quality for Kids
While there are many ways to achieve good air quality, we’ve summarized them into 4 principles geared towards younger minds. We’ve also explained things in a way that a young children can understand, so you can use the information as is.
1. Keep Your Air Clean
What do your parents say when they want you to keep your bedroom clean? Often, they tell you to not make the room dirty in the first place. Well, it’s the same idea when we want to keep the air we breathe clean.
Here’s a list of things you can do to keep the air quality clean:
- Clean your home regularly by using a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters.
- Avoid using anything that makes smoke or fumes, like candles and gas stoves.
- Choose electric heaters instead of those that use wood or kerosene.
2. Keep Your Home Dry
There’s a reason your mom tells you to clean up your spills right away. Aside from causing more accidents, spills become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
When homes are damp because of water damage or mold, harmful chemicals can get into the air and cause asthma and coughing—which makes it difficult to breathe.
Here are a few things you can do:
- If you see mold, tell an adult so they can address it.
- If you spill water or any other liquid, make sure to clean it up quickly.
- If you see water dripping from a pipe or the roof, tell a grown-up so they can fix it.
- After showering, turn on the fan and open the window so steam and moisture can go out.
3. Keep Your Air Moving
Does your house sometimes have a funny smell? Well, it’s important to give your home a big breath of fresh air. You have to keep the air moving at all times, so bad air doesn’t stay inside for long. This called air exchange rate. Still, always check an air quality monitor first to see if the outdoor air is actually better before opening a window.
Here are easy ways to ventilate your home:
- Use electric fans to help the air move inside your home.
- Open doors and windows when outdoor air quality is good.
- Turn on exhaust fans when you’re cooking or taking a shower.
4. Keep Away from Bad Outdoor Air
Have you ever seen big fires, cars, and factories making clouds of smoke? Those emissions of gas affect our outdoor air quality. While we can’t always prevent these from happening, we can prevent our exposure. That way, we lower our chances of getting sick from illnesses related to air pollution.
Here are some things you can do:
- Use less electricity, so you’ll need fewer natural resources to power your home.
- Ask your parents to invest in an air quality monitor, so you can get real-time, hyper-local updates.
- Check an air quality map and listen to your local air quality reports.
- Plant more trees as they help remove pollutants from the air.
Even Kids Can Help to Reduce Air Pollution
It can be challenging to teach young children about abstract concepts, like air quality. But with the right tools and guidance, you can help them better understand the world around them. So, use this air quality lesson to help them understand how to protect themselves from poor air quality.
Worried about air quality?
Monitor the Particulate Matter levels around the world with our free, real-time PurpleAir Map, or join PurpleAir’s mission to make air quality data accessible to everyone by investing in an air quality monitor for your home. Together, we can be informed and make changes in our daily habits and the community to improve air quality.