Lesson Plans: Pollution

For details about lesson plans and classroom activities, contact our education specialist at 216.443.3731 or send an email.




Students will learn how water can be purified.
Newspaper, 2-liter soft drink bottles, scissors, tape, filtering materials: cotton, sand, gravel, paper towels, wire, screening, coffee filters; muddy water, plastic cups, rubber bands, crayons or markers and paper.
Water treatment plant, purification, pollution
  • Discuss how water becomes unsafe to drink and harmful to fish and other aquatic animals. 
    Explain the process of how water is cleaned for drinking water.
  • Cover table tops with newspaper.
  • Organize students into pairs. Each pair gets a 2-liter bottle cut in half.
  • Instruct the students to create a funnel by placing the top of the bottle upside down and rest it in the bottom half of the bottle. 
    Have the groups try two different filtering materials. Record the color of the water and have them rate which filter worked better.
  • Have students pour off the water in between each test or save first test in a clear plastic cup.
Students should answer questions and discuss their results: Does the water look clear after it was filtered? What was left on the filter? Which filter method worked better? How can you improve your filter? How can we have cleaner water besides removing what is polluting it.
One class period
Discuss the water cycles and how water becomes polluted.

Grades 4-6: Air Quality

Students will learn the areas in and around their school where air pollution is present.
Large index cards, scotch tape, markers, microscope or hand lens.
Air pollution, carbon dioxide
  • As a class, list actions that may create air pollution on the board.
  • Choose air quality test areas in and around the school such as near doors, heaters, parking lots etc...
  • Create air pollution test cards by folding a large index card in half, in a shape of an L. Apply tape sticky side out to each card and label the card with date and location. Tape or tack each card in its location, so the tape side is parallel with the ground. Leave for 48-72 hours.
  • Compare tape under magnifying glass or microscope.
Rank the locations of the cards based on how brown is the tape. The darker color or more covered in particles means more dust and other particulate matter present in the air. Discuss what contributed to the amount of dust, dirt or particles on the tape?
One week
Brainstorm how the students can prevent air pollution at school and home.

Grades 7-12: Hazards at Home

Students will learn which common household products are harmful to the environment and human health.
Library research materials, common household product labels.
  • Create of list of common products used at home for cleaning, home repairs, etc... 
    Note any obvious products that are harmful to human or animal health.
  • Share several common products’ warning labels with the students.
  • Have students survey their homes for hazardous products. Student will record information on a chart including 
    product name, ingredients, location found, storage requirements, warnings and disposal requirements.
Students will report findings to class.
Two class periods and overnight assignment.
Students can research products that are environmentally friendly, which can substitute for the hazardous products. 
Give students the Green Teen Survival Guide.

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