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Elementary GLOBE Air Quality Module

Becca Hatheway, Kerry Zarlengo, Lisa Gardiner, The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Langley Research Center

This resource is designed as a module with a storybook or web story, and four activities. In the storybook, the GLOBE Kids investigate colors in the sky and learn how air pollution affects sky color and our health. Learning activities engage students in describing sky color and conditions in the atmosphere, creating a model to learn how sky color and visibility are affected by aerosols, using prisms to explore properties of light and colors, and collecting aerosol samples.

This series of three learning activities each take between 45-90 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • A Teacher Implementation Guide for Elementary GLOBE modules is available.
  • Lessons/activities could be used together, or separately (they can stand alone).
  • Data collections sheets are provided.
  • The book is available as a downloadable PDF, however, see note in Pedagogy about taking precautions if using with elementary students.
  • This book and lessons work much better in an informal setting. Students should discuss the book outside before they do any activity.

About the Content

  • This resource is a collection of lessons that explore light and color in our atmosphere, and how and why these colors change with different atmospheric conditions and time of day.
  • "See the Light" has students use a prism to explore how light is affected when it passes through a medium.
  • "Sky Observers" has students observe and compare data of sky color during the day and at sunset over a period of time.
  • "Why (Not) So Blue" has students running an experiment to study the affects of aerosols on sky color and visibility.
  • "Up in the Air" has students make an aerosol sampler to collect data on the amount of aerosols present in their air.
  • Lessons are provided context with the ebook "What's Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors of the Sky", which is about students that notice a relationship between colors of the sky and air quality.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The storybook and online Web Story are colorful and engaging, and each of the four activities use hands-on structured inquiry to guide students through observations of natural phenomena, experimentation with the properties of light and color, and real-world data collection of aerosols present in our air.
  • The storybook art works' relationship to the subject matter and audience is on target making for a cognitive experience for elementary readers.
  • There are two different literature options: "Become An Atmosphere Observer" (Web Story) is good for K-2 grades developmentally. "What’s Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors of the Sky" is appropriate for grades 3-5.
  • Lessons provide strong discussion and reflection questions to help students make meaning out of their observations.
  • Daily data collection can be addressed in routines throughout the day.
  • Lessons will work great for all learning styles.
  • There are lots of ideas for further investigation included, along with additional resources, and adaptations for younger and older students.
  • Because of the small occurrence of the topic of pollution from fossil fuels, teachers might also want to consider going to the CLEAN support guides for teachers to understand how to address controversial content.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The lesson is thorough, with "Teacher's Notes" (background information), clear format, worksheets for student use, and suggestions for extension activities.
  • Hyperlinks are obvious, easy to activate and suitable for young audience and unrefined motor skills.
  • Links are suitable for volume traffic.
  • Available in 5 different languages.
Entered the Collection: August 2020 Last Reviewed: June 2020

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