Air pollution #2 – What do we think about clean and polluted air? (upper primary students)


Èlia Tena, Caterina Solé and Digna Couso


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The aim of this activity is to develop students’ modelling competence, enabling them to identify their own initial ideas about both clean and polluted air. They are asked to create drawings and written descriptions of how they imagine clean and polluted air, both as seen with the naked eye and in smaller scales.


  • 10
  • 11
  • 12


  • Air pollution


  • More than 10 hours

Students’ resources

In this activity, students individually draw and describe in written form their initial ideas about clean and polluted air. To do so, an image of transparent bags is provided. One of them should contain clean air and the other polluted air. For each bag, students need to draw and describe: first, what would we see with the naked eye (in a macroscale) and, second, how they imagine it to be in smaller scales (meso/submicroscale).

After the students’ individual expressions of their initial models, they share their ideas with their classmates and similarities and differences between the expressed ideas about both phenomena (clean and polluted air) are highlighted.

Teachers’ resources

To conduct the activity, it is interesting to take into consideration which are the most common representation and ideas of the students to describe the phenomena. Ideas underlined in both science education literature and recent research on this topic are included as part of the teachers’ materials.