Air pollution #1 – What is Air Pollution? (upper primary students)


Èlia Tena, Caterina Solé and Digna Couso


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The aim of this activity is to present air pollution as an important socio scientific issue (SSI) both relevant in their everyday life but also, for science. This activity is facilitated by providing students with different tools including authentic news from local newspapers, and in-person or video presentations of different stakeholders such as researchers on air pollution or local policymakers.


  • 10
  • 11
  • 12


  • Air pollution


  • More than 10 hours

Students’ resources

Air pollution is presented to the students as a socio-scientific issue (SSI) using one of the proposed teachers’ resources.  Additionally, in this activity, it is communicated to students the challenge that guides all further activities of this toolkit: they will need to measure the air quality in/around their school and consider actions to improve it.

Teachers’ resources

The table below presents a set of videos, news, and visits to policymakers/scientific settings, etc, related to the problem of air pollution. Depending on the teacher’s interest, one or another can be selected to introduce the issue to their students. The following table includes a short summary of the content that was presented in Barcelona, where the activity was originally developed (in Catalan).

News from the media  News from the local newspaper “Sabadell” (published in September 2022) explaining the placement of new environmental sensors to measure air quality (NO2 and PM), and a Twitter thread where some people questioned the placement of the sensors. Link 
News from the local newspaper “Terrassa” (published in April 2022) explaining how the city will monitor air quality (NO2 and PM10 measurement) with sensors and publish real-time data on a map. Link 
Scientific media  Piece of news published by ISGlobal presenting the results of a study on the relation between pollution and overweight/obesity in the population.Link  
Infographic “7 ways in which air pollution harms your health”, with data on the results obtained in different ISGlobal research papers. Link  
Videos  In this video, two air pollution researchers introduce themselves and speak about their interests, careers, and the research they are doing. As part of the video, they provide data on the air quality in Barcelona. Finally, they challenge students to carry out their own research on air quality in their schools and consider possible solutions to improve it. Link  
Visits  Visits both from policymakers and researchers to the participating schools were organised. During these visits, the visitors explain why they are worried about air quality, presenting relevant data about air pollution.– 


Air pollution: a problem in our cities

Researchers discuss data on the air quality of Barcelona and challenge students to carry out their own research in their schools, reflecting on possible solutions to improve the issue.