Air pollution #7 – What do we think about it now? (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 final 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


  • Between 5-10 hours

Students’ resources

In this activity, students individually draw and describe in written form their final 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 that, students will compare their initial and final ideas identifying which aspects of their reasoning and which ideas change with the TLS.

Finally, they will share their ideas with their classmate and a consensus final model about clean air and about how to carry out experiments regarding air pollution will be created.

Teachers’ resources

Some of the key messages we want to build after this activity are the following ones:

We have learnt that the air…
Air is matter. At the macroscopic level, it has properties (it occupies a volume…) and at the meso/submicroscopic level, we can imagine it as made up of parts/particles.
We have learnt that pollution…
Particulate matter (PM) aret he main pollution in our cities. PM are sòlid substances in suspension (e.g., soot or dust) which cannot always be seen with the naked eye but can be observed using a binocular microscope. On the contrary particles and/or air molecules (e.g., O2) cannot be seen even with this instrument.
After having carried out the experiments what do you think are the main issues your school have regarding air quality and air pollution?
In this section, we will collect aspects related to the results and conclusions obtained from the research conducted in the school. Therefore, the statements will vary from one class/school to another. Some ideas might be: the time when the air is usually most polluted at the school is when students come to school by cars, the area of the school we have seen that is most polluted is the main entrance because there is a road with many cars nearby…