Air Quality and Energy Choice STEM Activities for Educators
EPA researchers participate in educational outreach to schools, museums, and other locations to teach children about air quality and climate change research that EPA and partners conduct to protect the air we breathe and provide the knowledge and scientific tools to respond to a changing climate. As part of the outreach, researchers have developed several hands-on activities for teachers and others to use in the classroom and other educational settings.
EPA's Science Bite Podcast featured these outreach tools in "You be the Scientist! Hands-on Environmental Education".
Particulate Matter (PM) Air Sensor Kits
Particle pollution, known as particulate matter (PM), is one of the major air pollutants regulated by EPA to protect public health and the environment. A PM air sensor kit has been developed by EPA researchers as an educational tool to teach children about air quality and air science.
- Instructions for buying the parts and building your own particle sensor
- A 10-minute activity that includes information on air pollution and explanation of how the PM air sensor works
- Discussion questions to ask students after the lesson
- Classroom handout
- Build Your Own Particle Sensor
- Do-It-Yourself Air Monitoring – Explore the Atmosphere and Turn on Light Bulbs! Exit by Dr. Gayle Hagler, EPA environmental engineer
An interactive board game developed by EPA scientists called Generate! enables players to explore energy choices and the environment and gets students “energized” in some friendly competition. The game is a teaching tool that can be used to understand the costs and benefits of the energy choices we make; find out what happens if the mix of energy sources changes in the future and learn what energy choices mean for our climate, air, water, and overall environmental quality.
Make your own Generate! Game:
- Generate! Game Board and pieces (PDF)(13 pp, 1 MB, About PDF)
- Generate! Game Score Card (PDF)(2 pp, 73 K, About PDF)
- Generate! Energy Game (PDF)(11 pp, 1 MB, About PDF)
- EPA Generate! Game Middle School Instructional Support Document (PDF)(12 pp, 163 K, About PDF)
- Generate! Game High School Instructional Support Document (PDF)(8 pp, 135 K, About PDF)
- There is also a companion Excel file for quickly calculating team scores and showing team rankings for multiple rounds. For access to and instructions for using this file, email Rebecca Dodder (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- Get Energized: Interactive Generate! Game Explores Energy Choices and Environmental Quality Exit by Dr. Rebecca Dodder, EPA physical scientist.