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22.4: Lesson 22.3: Reducing Air Pollution

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

Key Concepts

  • Reducing air pollution from fossil fuels
  • Preventing ozone loss
  • Controlling global warming

Lesson Objectives

  • List ways to reduce air pollution from fossil fuels.
  • Describe worldwide efforts to protect the ozone layer and control global warming.

Lesson Vocabulary

  • cap-and-trade system: system of caps, or upper limits, on carbon dioxide emissions in which nations can trade allowances for emissions
  • carbon sequestration: any way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in another form

Teaching Strategies

Introducing the Lesson

Introduce the lesson by challenging students to brainstorm reasons why it is important to reduce air pollution. (Students are likely to identify human health and environmental problems that would be prevented if air pollution were controlled.) Tell students they will learn in this lesson ways that air pollution can be reduced, including actions they can take to reduce their own contribution to air pollution.


Students may not realize that their use of energy, especially electrical energy, contributes to air pollution. Discuss with the class the connection between energy use and the release of pollutants into the air. Make sure students appreciate that the major cause of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels, which provide energy for almost everything we do, from turning on a lamp to driving to the mall.

Differentiated Instruction

Recommend that students make a main ideas/details chart as they read the lesson. They should divide a sheet of paper down the middle and record the main ideas on the left side of the paper and the details on the right side of the paper. Share the tip that the main idea in a paragraph is often the first sentence of the paragraph.


Students who are interested in cars may want to learn more about catalytic converters and how they work. Tell them to watch videos about catalytic converters, such as those at the URLs below. After they watch the videos and are confident that they understand how catalytic converters work, ask them to share their “expert” knowledge with the rest of the class. Suggest that they draw one or more diagrams to help other students understand how catalytic converters work.



Science Inquiry

Students can learn more about controlling industrial air pollution by investigating specific methods of removing pollutants from exhaust. They can build a wet scrubber and/or an electrostatic precipitator. The URL below describes both activities and also places them in a lesson plan context.


Real-World Connection

Discuss the connection between carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and global warming. Tell students that many of their actions release carbon dioxide into the air and contribute to global warming. Have them use the carbon calculator at the following URL to measure their own carbon emissions and learn ways to reduce them.


Reinforce and Review

Lesson Worksheets

Copy and distribute the lesson worksheets in the CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School Workbook. Ask students to complete the worksheets alone or in pairs to reinforce lesson content.

Lesson Review Questions

Have students answer the Review Questions listed at the end of the lesson in the FlexBook® student edition.

Lesson Quiz

Check students’ mastery of the lesson with Lesson 22.3 Quiz in CK-12 Earth Science for Middle School Quizzes and Tests.

Points to Consider

This chapter focuses on the atmosphere. Beyond the atmosphere is space. The next chapter introduces the study of space. What do you already known about space? For example, what objects are found in space?

How do you think scientists learn about space?

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