Air pollution #6 – How does air quality affect humans? (upper primary students)


Èlia Tena, Caterina Solé and Digna Couso


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The aim of this activity is to be aware of the consequences for human health of being exposed to the air pollution and to know some of the human body passive mechanisms that protects us against the penetration of pollutants suspended in the air. To do so, students need to analyse how different particles that are usually in their air (such as, particulate matter in suspension, dust, CO2…) may penetrate in their body and which passive mechanisms our body must prevent the intrusion of some of them.


  • 10
  • 11
  • 12


  • Air pollution


  • More than 10 hours

Students’ resources

After asking students how they imagine both gases and particulate matter pollutants path inside our body, an activity focused on the relation between particle size and their penetration in our body is proposed.

In this activity students have on the one hand, a sketch of human silhouette that include human body mechanisms to protect us against the penetration of external agents (e.g. noise hairs, mucus…); and, on the other hand, different kinds of particle including particulate matter particles and gases and their approximate size. Considering sizes of both human body mechanisms and particles, students need to identify how much each particle could penetrate in our body. Finally, some main effects associated to being exposed to high levels of pollution are underlined.

Effects of pollution on human health