Introduction to Air Quality Research

This lesson conveys core information about why air quality is important and how engineers tackle complex environmental problems—providing a foundation for the subsequent five activities. Students learn the basics about the structure of the Earth’s atmosphere, the types of pollutants that are present in the atmosphere (primary, secondary, gas-phase compounds, particulate matter), and the importance of air quality research. They are also introduced to some engineering concepts such as how air quality measurements are made and how control technologies work. A PowerPoint® presentation, teacher slide notes, blank vocabulary list, post-lecture quiz, homework handout, and a pre-unit STEM survey are provided. This lesson and its five associated activities are intended to prepare and guide students to take on their own research projects.